Handling Mother’s Day as a Divorced Mom

May 10, 2024

Q: Dear Divorce Coach, Mother’s Day is approaching, and as a divorced mom, I find it incredibly challenging to navigate this day. How can I avoid conflict with my co-parent about transition times and activities while still prioritizing self-care and maintaining boundaries? I want the day with my kids to be good but they don’t come back to me until that day and I’m feeling stressed about that.

A: Mother’s Day can indeed be a complex and emotionally charged day for divorced moms, as it often brings up a mix of feelings ranging from sadness and disappointment to gratitude and celebration. It’s essential to approach this day with a clear plan and open communication to minimize conflict and prioritize your well-being and that of your children.


First and foremost, I encourage you to engage in proactive self-care leading up to Mother’s Day. This could involve activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether it’s spending time with loved ones, indulging in a favorite hobby, or simply taking a day to rest and recharge. Taking care of yourself is not only crucial for your own mental and emotional health but also sets a positive example for your children on the importance of self-care. Use the time before you see your children to do just that!

When it comes to co-parenting arrangements on Mother’s Day, communication is key. Ideally, you and your co-parent have already established a parenting plan that outlines how holidays, including Mother’s Day, will be shared. However, if there’s room for negotiation or clarification, now is the time to address any potential conflicts or concerns.

One strategy to minimize conflict is to approach these discussions with empathy and understanding, recognizing that both you and your co-parent may have strong emotions tied to this day. Listen to each other’s perspectives and be willing to compromise if necessary, keeping the best interests of your children at the forefront of your decision-making.

Setting clear boundaries with regard to transition times and activities can also help alleviate tension. If possible, establish a schedule well in advance that allows for each parent to spend quality time with the children on Mother’s Day while also respecting the other parent’s rights and desires. Be flexible and willing to accommodate each other’s preferences within reason, remembering that co-parenting is a partnership that requires cooperation and compromise.

In some cases, it may be necessary to involve a mediator or seek professional guidance to facilitate productive discussions and reach mutually agreeable solutions. A neutral third party can help navigate difficult conversations and ensure that both parents feel heard and understood.

Above all, strive to avoid escalating conflicts that could potentially harm your children. While it’s natural to experience heightened emotions during divorce and co-parenting, it’s essential to prioritize your children’s well-being and shield them from unnecessary stress or tension. Remember that children thrive in environments where they feel loved, supported, and secure, so do your best to create a positive and nurturing atmosphere, especially on special occasions like Mother’s Day.

In conclusion, navigating Mother’s Day as a divorced mom requires careful planning, open communication, and a commitment to self-care and boundaries. By approaching this day with empathy, understanding, and a willingness to cooperate with your co-parent, you can minimize conflict and create a positive and memorable experience for yourself and your children. Remember to prioritize your well-being, engage in self-care, and prioritize your children’s happiness above all else.

Cherie Morris, J.D., CDC