Mother’s Day will look very different this year. I, like many others around the world, can’t see my mom in person right now. A lot of people are in the same circumstance as I am: having to show care for our moms over 60 by staying away.
There’s also travel bans, moms in nursing homes, and so many other reasons a lot of us will be celebrating remotely this year. Some may be mourning the loss of their mom. Even people who currently live with their moms will likely be celebrating differently this year.
We typically associate mothering with nurturing. And when we think of that word, one thing that often comes up is providing or sharing meals. In my opinion, that’s why so many kids bring their moms well-meaning breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. It’s why—unlike a lot of other holidays—Mother’s Day isn’t a big day for drinking, but is a huge day for restaurants.
In 2018, The National Restaurant Association reported that 87 million Americans planned to dine out for Mother’s Day. But many restaurants are closed. And a lot of us are sheltering in place, in different homes than our moms. The National Retail Federation reports that two-thirds of people will be celebrating Mother’s Day remotely this year.
If sharing a meal is how you usually celebrate Mother’s Day, that can still happen. When I couldn’t be with my family for Passover, I video chatted with them through their whole dinner. Yeah, I couldn’t eat the Matzo Ball soup—one of my favorites—but I could sit down at the table “with” my family and feel like I was part of the holiday. You can use a computer or ipad, or prop a phone up against something.
In my case, my sister, brother-in-law and nieces are staying at my parents’ through shelter in place, so I could see them all with one call. That might not be the case for your family. But almost all of the video call services have an option to add as many people as you’d like. Carrying out family rituals through video can be a fun (and resourceful) way to stay connected.
For some people, though, this holiday isn’t fun. Your relationship with your mom may be traumatic. You might no longer have a relationship with her at all. Perhaps substances were involved—either on your end or hers or both. In that case, this day could be triggering for your recovery.
Your social media is bound to fill up this Sunday with grateful posts from people who seem to have less complicated relationships with their mothers. It is okay to feel whatever you feel: sad, angry, jealous. It is also okay if you thought you were “past” it. Emotions become unmanageable when you push them away.
If you think you might struggle this Sunday, reach out to your support system in advance. Even if your friends are celebrating, they’re probably home anyway and can be around to support you.
With all of us facing so many challenges, I think it’s a great time to celebrate the idea of mothering, no matter your circumstances. The way we tend to think of mothering is supporting, teaching, caring for, nurturing—and hopefully loving unconditionally. It requires a lot of patience. Even if you don’t have a relationship with your mom, you can take the day to honor these qualities. We need them now more than ever—to give to both ourselves and each other.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder during this crisis, there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers is open and here for you throughout the pandemic, with hospital-grade sanitization so that you can feel safe in treatment. At our facilities across the country, we will provide with support and care, and give you the tools you need to thrive in long-term recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.