If you have a friend or family member that's personally impacted by spousal loss, holiday's can be tough.
Mother's Day as a widow can be especially difficult for a number of reasons.
Moms with younger children often don't get the recognition, relaxation or appreciation that they deserve on Mother's Day. Without a partner to cook breakfast, do the dishes, pick the toys up off the ground & play with the kids, all of these daily responsibilities are taken care of by mom.
Also, younger children don't always fully understand Mother's Day & may not know that they should shower their moms with praise & gifts. Toddlers will treat the day like any other, waking mommy up early, running rampant around the house and having a meltdown because you didn't cut the crust off of their PB&J.
Moms with older kids who've moved away from the home might not get anything more than a card or a phone call. They don't have their spouse around to take them to dinner or show them encouragement for all of the sacrifices that they've made over the years.
Generally, widowed moms don't get the same level of appreciation or help because they don't have their partner to brunt some of the workload, or celebrate the day.
As a friend, relative or neighbor, you can help the moms in your life to celebrate motherhood. Check out these 4 ideas to celebrate Mother's Day with a widowed loved one.
1. Offer to Take Care of the Kids for a Few Hours
The average parent only has 32 minutes to themselves everyday-- and that time reduces when you're parenting a child by yourself. Offering to babysit the younger kids can take a huge workload off of their shoulders, and give them some time for the 3 R's of Self-Care: Rest, Relaxation & Rejuvenation.
Whether they use that time to take care of chores, read, go on a hike or enjoy a spa day, they're free to do whatever they desire, which can be rare for a mom with young kids. While she's gone, you could do some arts & crafts with the kids so they can make their mom a nice drawing or card.
This is a great suggestion for nearly everyone: Whether you're their neighbor, relative or even their son/daughter (who's old enough to take care of the younger siblings), this is a great gesture that doesn't cost anything, but means so much.
2. Invite them to Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
During a normal weekday or weekend, parents are responsible for feeding the kids. Some mom's will cook at home, but many don't have the time to make a homemade dinner, especially when they're responsible for taking care of everything in the household. In fact, 88% of parents admit to being too busy to cook.
Help make this day special by offering to cook up some delicious homemade food for the moms in your life-- Ask them in advance for their favorite recipe or dish & surprise them with a homemade version.
If you're an older child that lives at home, you might let mom sleep in and surprise her with breakfast in bed. If you're a neighbor or friend, you might let her know in advance that you're coming over with a dinner casserole. You might even consider taking her and the family out to dinner as a special treat.
It's important to realize that Mother's Day is about them, so you'll want to celebrate the day in a way that they'd enjoy, not necessarily in the way that you'd enjoy.
3. Make them a Mother's Day Card
Card's aren't just for children to give their parents-- neighbors, friends, coworkers & others in the community can also show their gratitude and appreciation during Mother's Day. Younger children don't fully understand or realize the sacrifice that comes along with parenting, but as an adult, you can express your recognition.
You can write a card to express how proud you are that she overcame such difficult obstacles, yet she remained an amazing mother to her children. You can commend her strength & let her know that she is loved. Let her know that you care, and that she's deserving of all of the appreciation and support in the world.
You might also mention your favorite memories of her & her late spouse. Really, just show appreciation for who she is as a person, because she deserves it.
4. Host a Family Fun Day for Both Families
Rather than taking care of the kids while she spends time alone, you can plan a family day to entertain the whole family. After all, it's great for other adults to show appreciation, but the day really is about having the kids show their appreciation for their mom, too.
Do something that the parents and kids will both enjoy. If you have your own children, let them spend some time playing amongst themselves so that the adults can finally have some of that "peace and quiet" that we've all been hearing about.
You could have a picnic at the local park, go bowling, go to the beach.. the possibilities are endless. This is a way for them to celebrate the day with their kids, while you can help the young ones prepare their cards & shower their moms with love!
Really, there are so many different ways to help the widowed moms in your life to celebrate Mother's Day. Everyone will want to celebrate differently, so tailor your actions towards the individual.
Celebrate however they desire (or don't celebrate, if they don't want to-- some people really want to pretend that the holiday's don't exist, and that's okay. Everyone grieves differently.).
Really, the most important thing that you can do is reach out and ask how they're doing. Any gesture will be appreciated, and it's less about the actual action & more about the thought behind it.