Mother's Day is when most families look forward to celebrating their mothers, but for divorced mums, commemorating motherhood in the void of a family nucleus may not be a jubilant Sunday.
As a family lawyer, I've had clients tell me that their first few Mothers' Days post-divorce were the most difficult.
"A sad and lonely time", as one client described it. On a day where social media feeds boast pictures of intact-family celebrations, typically orchestrated by dads taking charge of helping to pick out presents, flowers or surprising mum with breakfast in bed, divorced mums can feel as though they are missing out.
Being a mother takes an inexplicable amount of sacrifice, courage and strength - regardless of marital status. That deserves to be celebrated, affirmed and appreciated. As a mother who adores her daughter and as a daughter who admires her mum, I understand that motherhood is more than just a Sunday in May.
Here are five tips to celebrating you:
1. Remember that you have a cause to celebrate
Take charge to make this day special by planning the day to make it meaningful. Consider roping in your own mum, sisters, aunts and have a multigenerational celebration. Celebrate the day Singapore-style with food, food, food! Prepare ahead by pre-arranging with your ex for your children to spend Mothers' Day with you if arrangements dictate otherwise.
2. Set aside time for your children
Remember that you can make this day about celebrating your children in as much as it is about celebrating you. Step out of the day-to-day routine and do something different with your children. Take your younger kids to the beach or even to a trampoline park. If your children are older, share life experiences over a drawn out meal.
3. Relinquish old expectations and create new family traditions
It may be challenging to celebrate Mothers' Day without a spouse's help, but things can get easier. Establish new traditions with your children so that they will look back with fondness when they are older. Over and above all else, do not feel guilty about the divorce.
4. Connect socially through a support group
Mothers' Day may be a good time to look out for other divorced mums who may be spending the day alone. Make plans with them, be it over coffee, sharing stories, or exchanging tips on juggling home and work lives. Encourage one another!
5. Love yourself
Reflect on and recognise your achievements, notwithstanding the inevitable struggles in raising your children. Avoid comparing yourself with other mums. Be optimistic and keep your chin up! Know that you are unique; yesterday, today, tomorrow and always!
And to all mothers out there, a very happy Mothers' Day!
Michelle Woodworth is a Partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, Court-appointed Child Representative, Senior Mediator under the Law Society Mediation Scheme, and an IMI and SIMI certified Mediator.