As a single mom, I’ve weathered many a birthday, holiday and Mother’s Day in “forced” enjoyment because that is what the parenting agreement states. “The days of special meaning and enjoyment for mother shall be…” as the decree reads.
While the idea is spot-on, as a single mom, there’s a bit more to consider. As mom’s it is in our DNA to be emotionally wired. This is science, not a Daphne-ism. As the emotional creatures that we are, it is no wonder that these “days of special meaning” can leave a single mom tired, sad, and sometimes, hurt.
As a single mom, most days are spent ensuring the balls of life are all in the air as we do the daily juggle. When a “day of special meaning” comes along, kids—usually kids 10 and under don’t really understand that a “special” day for mom would be something like a well-behaved, no-tantrum kind of day, all 24 hours…or maybe 12…ok, realistically, two would be nice. But, that’s easier said, and thought, than done. So, what can you, the caring, loving friend or family member do to help give mom a day of special meaning? Here are some ideas:
Sure, the kids may “help” mom around the house, whip up some burned toast and runny eggs, help unwrap a handmade gift or try really, really, really hard to be obedient. But, many mom’s (yep, this one too) just want a Calgon moment. Actually, a Calgon day. I know I’d have been perfectly happy with a Mother’s Day dinner after a day of being off the mom clock and just doing whatever. Send the kids to grandma’s the night before and meet at a great restaurant for a 7pm dinner. Those 24 hours will be cherished, valued and remembered.
Give mom a GNO. Girls Night Out. Yep, give her the luxury of two close friends, three bottles of wine and four hours on a Saturday night and suddenly, there’s a spring in her step. Mom is tired of dancing to Elmo, Dora and other furry daytime creatures. Simply, she wants to groove to old school NKOTB and BSB in her LBD.
Sounds so simple. And the one task we take for granted BK—before kids. When you are a single mom, there is no “quick trip to the store for just one thing.” It can be the battleground over gummy snacks, cart-escaping tricks or simply, a fussy kid. Give her the gift of 6 one-hour grocery store trips and take the kiddo’s for ice cream, the playground, a walk in the park or a matinee.
Holiday or birthday gifts.
It’s not that Mom doesn’t want the colored picture of a smiling face or a big red heart made from raw noodles and Tempura paint, it’s when the kids are beyond the daycare gifts but too young to shop alone thoughts. Many kids just want to do ‘something’ nice for Mom. When you “surprise” Mom by taking the kids for an hour or two a day or so before her birthday or holiday to make a gift, it’s really the child who is rewarded. I’ve spoken with many now-grown kids of single moms who say they felt horrible when it was a “day of special meaning” and they had nothing to ‘give,’ Because we associate these days with gifts, although Mom may say “oh, it’s ok Timmy, I just need your love,” while true, Timmy wants –and needs, to do more. Allowing and helping a child express love for Mom in his own way provides a nugget of what it feels like to “do good and be bigger than ourselves” for a child.
This will sound sexist. But, a single mom does need a hand on some things around the house. I like to call these “man jobs” despite their now known as gender neutral household tasks. Can she evenly hang pictures by herself? Can she move all the patio furniture and grill onto the deck alone? Can she ….? Fill-n-the-blank. The point is, be a helping hand. I am confident she will have a fair-size ‘honey do’ list minus the honey… be the friend who lends a hand for a day. Priceless.
Do you have a great idea to help a single mom? Drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you and possibly feature your story on our blog.
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