With every passing Mother’s Day, I’ve gotten better and better about looking at my social media news feeds and not wanting to scream. It’s not that I’m not happy for all my mommy friends and all the cute things they get from their family for Mother’s Day. I’m not upset that you post your photos and descriptions of your blueberry pancakes your family made you, or the spa day that you were sent to, or the pretty heart necklace from that jewelry store with Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman on the commercials. No, that’s all very awesome. For you.

Mother’s Day is kind of a punch in the gut for a lot of single moms. Yes, we’re moms, and the day is technically dedicated to moms of all types, but let’s not forget who actually heads the day’s celebrations: Dads. Or Stepdads. Or Mom’s partner. Or whoever is playing that role in the child’s life. For the single mom, especially of young children, it’s hard to look at these “complete” families and not feel a tinge of jealousy. Even just a little bit.

My first Mother’s Day, I had a fatherless 5-month-old, and I was living at my parents’ house. My parents had left town for the weekend, so I was all alone with this baby who didn’t even have the common courtesy to refrain from pooping on me on my holiday. Rude. My second Mother’s Day, I was still living with my folks, but we were all together and enjoyed an awkward home-visit from the guardian ad litem assigned to my son’s case. You know, the case where his biological dad was terminating his parental rights. It was my job to make sure the court knew I was totally cool with that. There’s no worse feeling than trying to convince a stranger that you’re totally cool with being an only parent while deep down you’re about one Facebook picture of your mom friends wearing tiaras away from having a psychotic break. Happy Mother’s Day! No.

Without a partner, Mother’s Day is just exactly like any other day, except you’re constantly reminded that you don’t have anyone to congratulate you on keeping your spawn alive. There is no surprise breakfast in bed. If there is, guess who gets to clean up the mess in the kitchen after the fire department leaves? There is no fancy dinner. Well, unless you’re bringing your own candles and pretty dishes to Luby’s. There is no book of construction paper hearts bound with yarn and a crayon drawing of your face on the cover. I guess there could be, but what kind of gift is that if you’re the one who had to supervise the creation of the book in the first place? If your little one is school-aged, then yes, surely there was some project done at school that will be presented to you, and you’ll without a doubt treasure it. Of course if your child is old enough to understand the concept of the day, they will probably wish you a happy Mother’s Day, too. More than likely, there will be no spa day. There will be no quiet time or a toast in your honor. Odds are, it will be just like every other Sunday. Without a partner to initiate celebrations, Mother’s Day is just an ugly reminder that it’s just you. And it sucks.

So, no. There won’t be any congratulations, at least not from the person they would normally come from. You know what there will be, though? There will be hugs. There will be cuddles. There will be kisses and high fives, and probably at least a dozen smiles that you make happen. There will be love, and there will be appreciation, even if it isn’t spoken. Why? Because you are Mom. You’re not just any mom, but you’re the best mom. You are one person doing a two-person job, and you’re rocking it. You know how all your married friends look at you, wide-eyed, and tell you they don’t know how you do it? That’s because you’re doing something amazing. Yeah, there isn’t another parent there to congratulate you and pat you on the back for making it another year. So what? You’re getting double the love, because you’re pulling double duty.

Still a little upset that there isn’t another parent there to make a toast in your honor? Well, I’m a parent, and I’ll make a toast in your honor. Raise your glass of wine, or whiskey, or beer, or Sprite {whatever your poison}, and read these words knowing that they are true: Congratulations! You’re doing it, and you’re making it look easy. You’re doing it, and you’re doing it in style! You make sacrifices most people will never understand. You have double the stress, double the worry, and half the time. Some days it might feel easier to just throw your hands up in the air and give up, but you don’t. You are a person to be admired, and you are loved. You are the definition of selflessness. You are your child’s mom. There are many like you, but you belong to them, and you are fabulous. You may not be the perfect mom, but you are perfect for your child. Here’s to you, and here’s to another day celebrating everything that makes you wonderful!




  1. My thoughts exactly yesterday Lindsay, and every previous year. It’s just another day for me….
    I’ll never forget my first Mother’s Day; holding my first and only precious baby, she was 4 months old and my husband then threatened to “punch my face in” with her in my arms. I will never forget it and I have yet after 13 years of being a single mom to have a special day. Bless all of the single moms out there, love and appreciate ALL of you!!!! Be strong!

  2. Happy Belated Mother’s Day Lindsay,
    This is a great blog about something people don’t really talk about. When I was a single mom mothers day was worse than Valentines Day, salt in all the raw wounds of my divorce. I am now remarried to a man who definitely makes an effort now on Mothers day for me, but the holiday still is salty. As I’ve voiced this feeling to other moms who never had to get divorced or be single, they will tell you too, its bittersweet. The kids act up, the husband is clueless and generally the expectations are too high. Nothing can be done to fully acknowledge the deep joy and agony that being a mother can bring. Its really in the sweetest small gifts from the kids I treasure. I carried around a fruit loop necklace a sunday school teacher helped my daughter make for me for years until it disintegrated into dust. It is in motherhood we learn our worth cannot be connected to the accolades. I’d say lets skip Mothers Day altogether but I do like the occasional gift certificate!

    • It’s tough. I know plenty of moms that do have husbands/boyfriends (Baby-daddies? Is that the more acceptable title? So confusing…) who either don’t get it or don’t recognize how big of a deal it is for women to be celebrated on Mother’s Day. And maybe that’s on us. Maybe we expect too much, and we’re just needy. Either way, it’s tough. But you put on your big girl panties, and you move on 🙂 And like you pointed out, it’s the little moments and the little things that mean the most. We don’t do this job for the recognition, we do it because we love it.

  3. I shared this a year ago, but it is no less true today a year later. At least now my daughter is old enough to make me a card at church!


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