Months after my divorce, when the dust had settled, the holidays rolled around. I didn’t realize at first what that would mean as a single parent. I had already been the one who shopped and paid for all of the presents. It was even rare for me to receive much of a gift from my former spouse. But I approached the holidays realizing that there was no chance of me receiving anything under the tree because my small children were too young to acknowledge it. Instead, I bought myself a ton of gifts and placed them under the tree as a treat for myself.
Then, Mother’s Day arrived.
Once again, I had children too young to really do anything for me and an ex-spouse who would never realize that it was his job to teach the children to honor their mother, even if he didn’t. It was discouraging to realize that on a day meant to celebrate mothers, I would go unremarked. It was more than discouraging- it was devastating. I didn’t even have the heart to come up with something special for myself, the way I’d done at Christmas.
When it comes to Mother’s Day, single mothers often get the short end of the stick. Not only are we the primary caregivers, if not the only ones, most of the year, but we’re the ones who are busy doing the gift buying and celebration of other people in our lives. When a holiday rolls around meant to celebrate us, we can practically hear the crickets, especially when we have young kids who don’t realize the significance of the day.
Here are 10 ways to support single moms on Mother's Day:
#1 Help their child make a card for them.
A quick drive to the local Walmart, Dollar Tree, or Dollar Store can yield plenty of options for art supplies. Helping their child make a card is an easy and affordable way to recognize the day. It also teaches the child that Mother's Day is meant for celebrating Mom.
#2 Treat them to chocolate.
Purchase local, handmade chocolate at Antique Sweets this year to support a single mom while showing support for a small, local business. Picking up a box of chocolate can be a sweet way to let a single mom know they are appreciated on Mother's Day.
#3 Buy them flowers.
If you want to treat a single mom to flowers this Mother's Day, the Madison area offers plenty of options. Gussie's House of Flowers, Zeb Grant Design, and Dee's Designs all have arrangements for the mom in your life. For the last-minute shoppers, check out Farmview Market and Ingles for pre-made bouquets.
#4 Take them out to lunch.
Single mothers, like mothers everywhere, get tired of cooking and may enjoy being treated to a lunch that they didn't have to make. Consider supporting a local business and treating a mother at the same time. Here are my top 10 choices for lunch in Madison.
#5 Offer to babysit, free of charge and without conditions.
If you're close to a single parent and a trusted person in their circle, consider offering to babysit so that they can do something they might enjoy. If you aren't someone they will allow to babysit their children, consider fronting the cost of a sitter so that they can get a break.
#6 Bring them a homemade meal.
Consider surprising a single parent with a homemade meal, so that they can have a night off from meal prep and cooking. For those who aren't cooks, consider ordering a ready-made meal from a local business. You can contact Nourish'd Kitchen to find out when the twice-monthly deliveries of meals will occur. You can also order up the weekly soup special from Gypsy Soups. Farmview Market, Yesterday Cafe, Crowe's BBQ, and other local businesses also offer ready-made family meals. Even a pizza delivery might be welcome after a long day.
#7 Gift them something fun and impractical.
Consider booking them a massage, pedicure, or facial at Pure Bliss Spa and Shop. This is the ultimate self-care experience, and a gift certificate can be a great way to show them that you care this Mother's Day season.
#8 Gift them something practical.
While impractical gifts can be fun, practical gifts are often appreciated. Consider washing their car, changing their oil, or mowing their lawn. Consider a gift certificate for a salon they like to cover family haircuts. The key here is to think about what might make life just a little easier for them.
#9 Give the gift of no judgment or advice.
Life is messy. Parenting is, too. This Mother's Day, gift the single parent in your life a pass from judgment and unsolicited advice. This will definitely be a gift that's well-received and appreciated.
#10 Support them--and the local economy, too.
When considering a Mother's Day gift, Downtown Dollars can cover many of the local shops and restaurants in Madison. This shows support for the moms in your life while supporting small businesses. Plus, this allows them to decide if they want to spend it on ice cream for the kids, time at the spa, a meal in a restaurant, or something for the home.
There are many options for beautiful, thoughtful gifts in the downtown area. Candles from Catherine Ann's are the perfect idea for Mother's Day. Naturally scented and eco-friendly, these candles smell great and are an easy, affordable gift for the mom in your life. Just a stroll downtown could inspire many ideas for gifting.
Celebrating single mothers on Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Just don’t let us go without any acknowledgment at all. It’s tough to bear the burden of parenting alone most of the time. We just want to feel like someone sees and appreciates our efforts- even if it’s only for this one day.