Mother’s Day can suck for single mums. It’s the day we’re reminded most that we’re on our own. I tend to stay away from social media on Mother’s Day. As much as I am happy for my friends to have breakfast in bed, presents, lunch and be sent away for spa treats, it makes my heart hurt.
My kids are amazing. I adore them. They are at the age now where they’ll make me a cup of tea (and a banging one to boot!) but breakfast will still be made by me, the presents will have been organised and paid for by me, lunch will have been organised and paid for by me, and then after lunch it’s back to laundry and housekeeping.
It shouldn’t hurt. It’s just stuff after all. But it does. It’s the reminder that nothing happens unless you do it yourself. It’s the reminder that the load is still all on you. It’s the reminder that it’s just you.
The burden seems heavier that day.
But God placed us within a heavenly family and so here’s some ideas to help single mums (and maybe others who find Mother’s Day difficult for different reasons):
1. Plan something different at church. Perhaps organise Mother’s Day to be your Compassion Sunday so the focus is on how we can be parents to children in vulnerable positions. Through that focus, there can be an emphasis on the significant role of the mother, in a way that is accessible to everyone, and in a way that doesn’t shine a light on the fragility that some women might be feeling.
2. Take her kids shopping. I have a wonderful friend who takes my kids shopping for presents because for birthdays and Christmas and so on, that’s the task normally facilitated by the husband. I give them pocket money and then they go and choose things they want to give them. It gives the kids agency and delight in looking for and giving gifts. It fills me with joy to get something that is a genuine surprise (ie something not picked by me for them to give me) and to see what their little minds have chosen. And it fills me with such gratitude and love for my Christian sister ministering to me and the kids in this way.
3. Make her breakfast. I am extraordinarily blessed with another Christian sister who makes me breakfast on Father’s Day. The first year, she made double the cooked breakfast so when I arrived both I and her husband got bacon and eggs and all the fixins’. The second year, one of her kids was sick and so she delivered it to my door in a little package. It was amazing. So one idea might be for some of the men of the church to make up a breakfast package for either the kids to set out, or that mum can just lay into. It can just be a a toastie and a coffee from Macca’s but I guarantee that the mum will feel the kindness deeply.
4. Organise a joint lunch. If you are doing a family thing at home, invite a single mum and her kids in. It will make her feel “seen” and will remind her of the heavenly family where God has planted her. Even if she doesn’t come, being invited will be a big deal for her.
5. Thank God for her. Whether at morning tea after church, or over a coffee that you bring for her, or a note that you drop in her letterbox, pray with and for her. Thank God for the strength that he has given her and the amazing job she is doing. Mums rarely hear that anyway, so a single mum will be deeply moved to have someone approach God on her behalf and praise God for her.
There’s lot of little ways you can make sure that a single mum feels remembered. You could make sure the kids are making her that macaroni card. Or you could message her on the day with a silly gif. Or you could pick some flowers and drop them round. Or have pizza delivered so she doesn’t have to think about food preparation.
As a community of God, we are in the business of supporting each other on our Christian walk, especially at times of stress, fragility and loneliness. It’s during those times that we need God the most and can feel at our most distant. We can help to keep people close to God by keeping close and showing kindness through meaningful action.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10)
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13)