6 Tips When Mother’s Day Hurts

For Moms Whose Children are Breaking Their Hearts

If your son or daughter struggles with addiction, mental illness, self-injury, an eating disorder, suicidal thoughts, is incarcerated or has other issues, then Mother’s Day is going to be difficult for you. It will hurt. A lot. If so, then this is for you.

Moms like you don’t look forward to Mother’s Day. I know. I’ve been in that place. It only brings more pain. Increased sadness. Heavier heartache. When your relationship with them is strained or non-existent you’d rather skip it. You know you probably won’t hear from them, much less get a card.

You won’t see their smiling face greet you with affection, hand-made cards or thoughtful gifts like when they were young. They’re too self-focused and oblivious today for such loving gestures. They may not even know it’s Mother’s Day. They’re clueless.

Where does that leave you? Set up for a lot of hurt and pain, anger and resentment.

For me, those were the times I would long for the past. I’d linger over the positive memories from when my daughter was little and wanted to cuddle in my lap. I remember when I was her hero. Can you remember?

But those days are over. That’s in the past and you can’t get them back. You’re in a new place on your parenting journey – a place of grief and loss; of shattered dreams; of letting go; a place of change. Wounds have been inflicted. Repeatedly. Deep pain and disappointment have become the norm.

How did we get here – to this place of not wanting to face Mother’s Day, a day that once was special, full of love and fun and laughter?

Can’t we pray it all away? I tried to, but it didn’t work. The hurt hung on like an old band-aid that refused to come off, stubbornly clinging to my skin.

Is there anyone who can make it better? Lessen the pain or alleviate it altogether? My heart hoped so, but I wasn’t so sure.

Yes, there is Someone, but it’s not time yet. And so, you wait – with a big unknown looming before you. When will reconciliation come? Until that day, be comforted by this: Your heavenly Father knows. He sees. He understands. He cares. He feels your pain and He is close.

What about today? What can you do right now?

Here are 6 tips that helped my aching heart when Mother’s Day hurt:

1) Lower expectations – this prepares you for less hurt and disappointment if things don’t turn out as you hoped.

2) Change traditions. Do things differently. Start something new.

3) Make plans to do what you enjoy even if you have to do it by yourself or with a friend.

4) Give yourself permission to feel your feelings. If you need to express sadness, create the space to shed tears. Let them out. Holding them in only hurts you more in the long run.

5) If you’re angry, write your child a letter expressing everything you want to say. Let it rip – then destroy the letter. Tear it up in a million little pieces. This helps release anger and might prevent you from saying something you’d regret. Repressing anger can cause depression.

6) Shift your focus. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, focus on what you can be thankful for. And maybe you could you do something for someone else? It’s a natural mood-lifter.

Above all, remember how special and loved you are by God, your heavenly Father. He thinks you’re absolutely amazing. So amazing that He died for you.

For. You.

If He had a refrigerator your picture would be on it – wrinkles, crooked teeth, gray hair and all! In His eyes you’re perfect in every way. One of a kind. His unique creation. You are the beloved of Christ. How wonderful.

This Scripture always comforts me:

“Praise the Lord. . . for great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” (Psalm 117:2 NIV)

An uplifting book you might like is: My Cup Overflows…with the Comfort of God’s Love by Emilie Barnes.


TWLOHA movie16Dear brokenhearted mom, I want to encourage you by telling you that God has restored the relationship with my daughter, Renee. There’s hope for you, too. Hold on. Never, ever give up. You don’t know what tomorrow holds.

This photo is from the To Write Love on Her Arms movie premiere in March of 2015. It’s about part of our journey and how God used it in a remarkable way to touch the lives of thousands. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it through Netflix, or any digital movie source.


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2 thoughts on “6 Tips When Mother’s Day Hurts

  1. It is also a day I do not look forward to and would rather skip it all together. My story is a little of the same and different. My relationship with my daughter was up and down. The difference was I knew when she was “down” on me, that I was just the one person she could take her pain out on and that she knew I would still love her. We could be angry at each other for a day or two and then she would call me as if nothing ever happened. That part I enjoyed how we didn’t really hold our words or actions against each other. She always tried to make Mother’s Day nice for me though. I also enjoyed that. The reason I no longer look forward to it is that she is no longer with us, at all. She passed away a year ago. She was our second daughter, our first daughter also passed away 31 years ago. I can say we have 3 wonderful grand children by our daughter. Our daughter had her own emotional problems that we tried to help, but there were times we had to back off and let her stand on her own two feet. Releasing the pain gives you a new beginning. Giving yourself permission to let go of that one emotion you have left will open the door to the love that is waiting for you. We tend to hold on to the pain of loss because it seems it is the last item we possess. But it isn’t. We cannot own their lives, or their pain or the challenges that they faced. You can own what you felt. We all have our own lives to live. Be their for yourself. I find to get through days like this, I do for others. So this weekend I will be fixing a wonderful dinner for my mother in law, and speaking with my own mother. Much love.

    • Jan,
      Thank you for your comment. How my heart aches for you. You’ve suffered much and come through with amazing strength and wisdom. It flows out of your words. Your insights are powerful. Father, please bless Jan this weekend with more joy and peace than she ever expected possible as she takes care of herself and focuses on showing kindness to her mother-in-law and speaks to her own mother. Thank you that she still has them in her life. Lift her up on eagle’s wings with your unfailing, compassionate love. Amen.