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Dealing With Mother’s & Father’s Day

Why these days are challenging and how to cope with hard feelings

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For many people, Mother’s Day and/or Father’s Day are some of the most challenging days of the year. If you struggle to cope when these days come around each year, you are not alone.

What is the origin of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day?

Did you know that Anna Jarvis, the woman credited with founding Mother’s Day, regretted doing so and even campaigned to have the designation rescinded? She had envisioned the day as being one to honor one’s mother and the care they gave their children.That is, a quiet honoring at home. She was appalled by the commercialization of the holiday that ensued including flowers, candy, cards, jewelry, etc. Father’s Day was designated afterwards to complement Mother’s Day. Today, Mother’s and Father’s Day are often accompanied by a barrage of advertisements and social media posts by companies, celebrities, and our own family and friends.

Why are these days challenging?

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be very challenging days because for many they represent loss. For others, they may feel they are bombarded with images of families who do not look like their families.

  • Those who are grieving the loss of their mother or father
  • Mothers and fathers who are grieving the loss of a child
  • Those who are struggling with infant loss, miscarriage, or infertility and long to be a parent
  • Those who have a strained relationship with their parent or with their child
  • Those who have chosen not to be a parent
  • Those many diverse families who are not made up of one mother and/or father

Whatever the reason or reasons, if these days are challenging for you, be sure to make a coping plan.

  • Disconnect from social media. These days (and even the days surrounding them) are often full of emotional triggers.
  • Decide how you want to spend the day. Engage in coping and self-care strategies such as getting outside, exercising, or engaging in a hobby.
  • Practice self-validation. Remind yourself that whatever you are feeling is valid and true. Your feelings make sense based on your experiences, even if others don’t understand.
  • Consider whether you’d like to share your feelings with others. You may want to talk with trusted others about how these holidays are not joyful for everyone so that they can better understand what you’re going through.
  • Reflect on whether there are any sentiments you would like to celebrate. Remember, these holidays are fabricated days. You can celebrate whatever sentiments you want on whatever day you choose.

Remember, if Mother’s Day and/or Father’s Day are difficult days for you, you are not alone in feeling this way. There are many reasons why people find these holidays challenging, and the founder of mother’s day herself regretted what the day has become.

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