During the last weeks of April, ads started to pop up all over the Internet, TV and magazines encouraging daughters to take their mothers out and shower them with jewelry, purses, appliances and other gifts for Mother’s Day on May 12.
But what if your mother has passed away, or what if you’re not even on speaking terms with her? Mother’s Day is not a celebration for all daughters, and experts have some suggestions for emotionally coping with some painful memories.
Ramani Durvasula, a licensed clinical psychologist, said in an email that Mother’s Day is all about the positivity surrounding motherhood, which can make it a more challenging time for women at the other end of the spectrum who have tension with their mothers.
“It can lead women with such struggles to feel somehow ‘less,’ and since the relationship with a mother is so primitive, can even bring up older feelings around attachment, and how they view their current relationships,” Durvasula said.
“If a woman is a mother herself and has [a] strained relationship with her mother, it can also put things into stark focus.”
Here are a few coping tips from Durvasula for daughters who have strained relationships with their mothers:
1) “[Talk] about it with trusted friends or with a therapist.”
2) Write in a journal.
3) “[Allow] yourself to mourn a loss or revisit it.”
4) “Don't feel that mother's day has to force your hand to reconciliation. It can be a time of reflection (or perhaps distraction).”
5) Celebrate someone who may have stepped into the role of your mom. Don’t feel like you have to stay boxed inside a Hallmark holiday.
6) If you have children, you can focus Mother’s Day more on your experience as a mother with them.
Here are a few suggestions from Durvasula that may help you cope with the death of your mother :
1) “This can be a time to celebrate good memories, perhaps with siblings or your own children, [by] looking at photos, eating some of her favorite foods, [and] visiting places that were special to her. It can be a real time of tribute.”