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Happy Mother’s Day to Single Moms

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momI was a single mom for most of my son’s childhood, and I have to confess to you as hokey and shameful as this is — every Mother’s Day I coveted one of those orchid wrist corsages like you get at prom. I wanted to be Matriarch for a day, surrounded by my well-dressed family at an ostentatious, over-priced Sunday brunch. But what I really wanted most of all was what most mothers want on Mother’s Day — recognition for a job well done.

Single mothers don’t get much of that. Putting aside how vilified single mothers can be in the culture, when your kids are young, they tend to be short on perspective. You’re only as good as your last mac n’ cheese dinner. If it weren’t for the prompting of teachers crafting Mother’s Day cards, the day would go by unnoticed for many of us.

My son would make me a card at school each year and I treasured and kept every single one. Every gift — the button and pipecleaner bracelet, the photograph of a horse (I like horses, he always remembers), the mosaic trivet he made in art class. He’s a super kid. But for most of his life there was no man around honoring his mom on Mother’s Day. I divorced his dad when he was four (and we never celebrated the holiday much when we were together; my ex neither honored his mother or myself).

But kind of like Valentine’s Day can remind single people how single they are, Mother’s Day has a way of making single moms feel quite alone. It’s often seen as a celebration of the traditional nuclear family. Of the legacy that comes from being partnered, of having a spouse say, “Wow, I’m so happy we made these kids together.”

When I was a child, Mother’s Day was always spent with four generations of women — my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and aunt, at an after-church luncheon at the Village Women’s Club outside Detroit. The men would be in suits, my grandfather would hold court (he loved nothing more than to be surrounded by his family suffering the discomforts of formal dress attire). From my child’s perspective it was interminable. Adults having cocktails. Children staving off their hunger with dry breadsticks. Fidgeting. Reprimands. At last dining. And then, if you were lucky, breaking free to run across the daffodil gardens outside, where May is still early spring in Michigan.

It was conveyed to me was that this was a day of importance. It was an occasion to honor your mother, that had the gravitas of formality, of obligation and ritual.

Fast forward 25 years to being a single mother in my mid-30s. I would’ve settled for a flipped pancake and a hug.

Single mothers work so damn hard, they deserve all the honor we can give them. I know single dads work hard too — but today I’m talking to the single moms out there — you rock. I admire you immensely.

I blog about infidelity, and every day, women write to me who were cheated on while pregnant, whose husbands walked out on them with infants, small children, walked out on their teenage kids and never called again, stay-at-home moms who find themselves trying to find work again with less than baseline child support and big gap in their resumes — heart breaking stories. And yet, they get up every day and do the hard work of raising kids on their own. Either entirely by themselves, or carrying the majority of the parenting weight. (And before the father’s rights people comment — they don’t do this by choice — but because men still exist who abandon their families.)

Single moms are mighty — and they deserve more than a bouquet of flowers and a nice breakfast — they deserve our respect. If you know a single mom, take a moment to tell her how much you admire the hard work she’s doing. Babysit her kids for an hour or two. Cook a dinner. Fete her with brunch. Sit with her children help them make her card. Do not let this day go unnoticed. This is a day of importance. It is an occasion.

It’s over a decade since I was that single mom with a preschooler. I’m remarried now. I don’t have children with my husband — we have a blended family of three young men. The first Mother’s Day we were together, my husband got me flowers. He wrapped lovely, thoughtful presents. He brought me coffee in bed.

Later that day, he put on a pressed shirt (he hates all things dry-clean), he made my son put on a pressed shirt, and my step-son put on a pressed shirt — and then three handsome men took me out to brunch.

This column ran over at Huffington Post in 2012. I’m still in awe of single moms. Let me tell you how I’m spending the day Sunday — with my son who is home from college. And with my other mother, who I’ve mentioned here before. She’s 80 and once financed the liberation campaign of my escape from my cheating ex. She’s also sat with me through every custody trial through the years. When I first divorced my son’s dad, she took me out to dinner with another Ivy League faculty wife she knew (she had been one once, they were both abandoned for younger models), and who reinvented their lives for the better. She gave me a very 70s book called “Creative Divorce.” She also found love again later in life — in her 70s — and was widowed. On the table are some tulips that arrived yesterday from a dear friend who took me out to brunch on Mother’s Day when my son was 4. It was my first Mother’s Day single. She still remembers! I was so knocked out to get flowers from her. I know this is a very hard day for many of you, those who are missing their moms, those who have barbed-wire monkey moms, those who go unrecognized like wallflowers, those who are slogging through their first divorce. It gets better. Meanwhile, if you must, flip your own pancake, hug those kids, and remain the sane parent. Sending you big (((HUGS))) of support. 

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  • Awww….this makes me cry…I take my kids to the same crystal store every year to assist them to buy me mother’s day gifts, birthday gifts, and Christmas gifts. I feel so blessed this year bc they are SUPER excited to have me open the gifts and cards they bought and made for me.
    It DOES get better!

    • This will be my first Mother’s Day as a single Mom. Thank you for sharing your story. My STBX moved out last November and recently filed for divorce. We have three amazing daughters, have been married nearly 18 years, and have been together since we were 15. He showed all the signs of cheating; secrecy, anger, wasn’t happy all of a sudden, lost his faith, was gone all the time, increased his business travel, stopped the cell phone bills from coming to the house, was married to his cell phone, and started treating me as though my faults and insecurities were deal breakers in our marriage. He was asked in eggshells waiting for his next verbal assult while doing the pick me dance. I danced beautifully by the way.
      While all of this was going on, he continually told me we were not in a crisis and how dare I question his commitment to me…again. He had an online “friendship” with a woman 10 years ago and came clean to me out of guilt. Also, he came clean about some pornography struggles and other lies he had been telling me for years.
      He told me, “I can’t fix you, do you know what it’s like to live under a cloud of doubt?” “You don’t support me and have sucked the joy out of everything I’ve ever loved. I don’t even know if I wanted to marry you, I felt pressured. I can’t be the man or the husband that I was, and I don’t know what kind of man I want to be. You will never change.”
      I actually feel for this crap. He still will not admit to cheating, tries to be the “good guy” in front of family and people in the community. He blames everything on me, his lack of relationship with our teenage daughters as well as the crumbling of our happy marriage. I am guessing he will bring a gift in Mother’s Day, for show of course, and walk away thinking he is the greatest guy in town. I feel like the veil has been lifted and I am finally seeing him, unmasked, maybe for the first time ever. I am trying to get good and angry as it’s not in my nature. Any advice on how to navigate copartening and the divorce process would be appreciated. Some days I feel like I’m drowning. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Mom’s out there!

      • I’m not sure if you have had a chance to check out the forums but you can get some great specific advice there. Take care and happy Mother’s Day to you too!

      • (((Hugs))). Only advice I have is know your worth, don’t engage, and when engagement is absolutely required due to co-parenting, be as detatched as possible. Consider him a potted plant, or a distant acquaintance

      • Your husband sounds a lot like my ex. He had an affair with a family friend (her family spent time with mine nearly every week) for two years before I forced him to admit it one day. Up until then he rarely complained about my faults, sent me love letters and cards, and generally displayed satisfaction with our life. Through the years I’d been fed the line that he ‘works so hard for our family’ because he owned a business, so I pretty much gave him free reign to go on motorbike trips with his friends, as well as fishing and hunting trips when he felt like it. Meanwhile, I held down the fort as I also worked full time as a professor and was primary care giver for our three busy kids. Can you say chump???

        After he finally admitted to his affair, his entire story about our marriage changed. He said he hadn’t been happy in years. He didn’t find me attractive (despite a robust sex life). And suddenly my list of faults was never ending. I danced real pretty for a couple of months to try to save our family life, but the goalposts for a ‘good wife’ kept moving. Meanwhile, he made no changes. The one job he had been given was to NOT see her. And he couldn’t even keep that promise. So I told him I was done. Turns out it was all one big giant mindfuck to keep him in Cake so he could keep his good guy community image.

        Fast forward a few years. We are divorced, and my two daughters refuse to live with him at all. My son will likely follow suit in a while. Our small community has shunned both he and his Schmoopie. She broke up her marriage and now lives in my old house with ex and her two children. Ex’s company is in huge financial trouble, and her career is in jeopardy due to cutbacks. They are planning to build an acreage (a unicorn ranch lol) and have committed a huge sum of money to that project. And to those watching the shit show it appears they are unhappy, but totally determined to stay together to prove their love and prove everyone wrong. Karma has not been kind to them. So that provides me with some consolation and detached entertainment.

        No contact works, so keep up with that! We only text and email. And it is all business about the kids. I’m still hurt that he made the affair my fault, but reading CL every day reminds me that he employed every Cheater tactic to fuck with my head and lower my self esteem. I now recognize that I am likely dealing with a covert narcissistic sociopath (not that it matters what flavour of asshole he is). It takes a long time to get to meh. I’m not there yet. But I have a wonderfully full life with my children and our many friends. Not ready to date yet, but that will come. My advice is to give yourself distance from him and then plenty of time to get to know who you are, especially if you were young when you met. Time and distance will allow you to see all the mind games he played with much better clarity. He’s an asshole, like every other Cheater described on CL. And it’s better you are rid of him. Life will get better with each passing day. Hang in there!!!

        • Thank you Dee, for your story and the encouragement. Your strength comes through in your words. My STBX also owns his own business and took many fishing and hunting trips. Ironically, that’s another one of my faults, I would be distant after he returned from a trip. Shame on me right, for being tired after spending the long weekend as a single parent?!
          I look forward to the day when I open my eyes in the morning and feel a sense of clarity about all of this. Most days, it still doesn’t seem real. Maybe he wasn’t real, but he sure was a good pretender.
          I do need to take time to get to know myself. I have done everything in my life with my him by my side. Everything. I think it’s going to take a lot of time and soul searching to reconnect with who I am without him. Then there’s all the memories we share, everything dating back to getting my drivers license! Does that get better in time? Will I be able to look back and smile or will this tarnish every good memory? I feel like everywhere I look there’s a reminder of him. That hurts. I can’t wait to get to “meh”

          • Klbulow, that’s a normal feeling – to look back on everything and wonder what was real. Know this: YOU were real. YOU showed up to your marriage and did your best to make it work each day, faults and all.YOU were a committed wife and mom, and YOU continue to be a good mom, guiding your kids through this shit storm. YOU can look back on your past with integrity. Him? Not so much. Your ex is trying to rewrite the past to justify his affair. If he’s going to do that, guess what? You get to do the same. You are defined by the stories you tell yourself. So become the hero of your life story – you gave as much as you could in your marriage, and despite its failure, you are picking up the pieces and creating a kick ass life for you and your children. That’s your new story!

          • klbulow – our stories are so similar. Started going out at 16, married at 22, and I was 39 when I found out everything about his serial cheating over that entire time. My late teen years, my 20s and 30s gone to a cheating douchebag whose only purpose was securing ego kibbles. We were also teen parents at 18 & 19.

            I started counseling the day after I found out. I suffered PTSD for right at about a year and struggled to make sense of “what was real” from a quarter of a century with this imposter. My counselor somewhat set me free from that psychological merry-go-round when she said, “YOU were authentic in your days with him and your children. YOU were honest in that marriage and loyal. Nothing HE did or does can take that away from you, so YOUR memories about those years are yours. How you felt in those situations and during those times belong to you as you were acting authentically. HIS lies and deceit have nothing to do with your living honestly in those moments and believing him that you had a real marriage.”

            That was liberating and empowering for me, as I doubted everything about my existence since being a teen and connected to him. It really doesn’t matter that the douchebag re-wrote all of our history to accommodate/validate/justify his cheating and lack of character & integrity. He is who he is, and I am who I am, and there are not “two sides to every story.” There is one truth, with two people living within it, and interpreting or even changing-up stories to fit their reality and desires. But truth doesn’t change. It just is.

            My truth is that I wasn’t happy nor in love at all for about a decade, but I was committed to my commitment and family. His truth is that he was a serial cheating douchebag who had my love (action) and support and the love and support of my family, but threw it away for kibbles.

            I hope maybe her words can encourage you through this, as well.

            Xoxo (((hugs!)))

            • YES, this does encourage me. Thank you, I think this is something I will reread from time to time. Yesterday for Mother’s Day, I hosted his family. He was not invited. My MIL has been the most stable and consistent Mom I’ve had. His family is my family. That is anothrr reality I don’t ever want to second guess! Thank you for your encouragement.

      • Aw i feel for you, recently being there myself. However its been over a month now since he has been gone and I am enjoying this mothers day more than I ever thought possible! No whores in my bed with him while I am at work at night while the children are asleep in their beds! No eggshells, pick me dancing or verbal assaults where I was always to blame. It does take time but you are not alone. All I think now is, why the hell didn’t I get rid of him sooner. It’s a peaceful happy day. Relationships are a luxury, not a necessity. What is a queen without a king? A queen. Meh. You are gonna be fine. Love to you and enjoy your day.

          • You’re welcome! And remember, when the right guy comes along, he will show you why it never worked with the wrong ones. Know your worth everyday, and focus on your inner peace. They can’t steal your joy unless you allow them to. You’re almost there. Going through hell but you’ll come out an angel ?

  • I have been kind of dreading this Mother’s Day, the first since dday, the first since I filed the divorce petition (just a week ago), and the first upon which I have truly contemplated the reality that, despite being married for nearly 29 years, I have essentially always been a single, SAHM. Figured that weepiness and dark, tortured moments of the soul were very real possibilities, so flat out told the DD that it might be good for her to acknowledge the day in some way so that I don’t walk around like some combo of a storm cloud and a sad, abandoned kitten all day long.

    She has a funny and incredibly charming habit of being incapable of waiting until the big moment to give a gift. Once she buys something for a person she loves, she simply can’t stand the anticipation, and must give the thing and witness the joy at once. Last Christmas, this meant that I received some little thing every few days all through December–soft as butter socks this day, a silly little pillow that day, a little bottle of a favorite scent another day, and so on until Christmas morning, when she felt bad about the one box she had for me, entirely forgetting that she had showered me with things for weeks.

    So, last night, she come home bursting with the desire to give me the Mother’s Day gift she had just purchased. She could not bear to wait, so around my neck right now is my new favorite necklace, with a key pendant, and a heart that says, “Love, DD.” As I opened it, and we giggled and struggled with the tiny clasp, she explained that she knew I could no longer bring myself to wear most of my jewelry, and she wanted me to have something nice that I could wear daily that was invested only with love and good juju, with nary a whiff of sad history, evil intent, or bad mojo.

    Needless to say, I love it and her and everything about her quirky and sweet approach to gift giving.

    Mother’s Day will forever be fraught with complicated emotions, history, and memories, but that girl absolutely grasps the key to my heart, and I could not be more profoundly grateful for the miracle of her.

    • That was beautiful what you wrote, Cashmere. And it sounds like you have a wonderful daughter. Try your best to enjoy Mother’s Day. (((HUGS))) to you.

      • This made me cry cashmere. I know it is all fact but how you told it just made me tear up. Hope my colleague across the table doesn’t notice.

    • Just beautiful Cashmere!! You clearly are a very special woman and of course great mom for your daughter to treat you in such a loving and sensitive way!! Well Done!! Wishing you a blessed Mother’s Day!!

    • that is adorable and my middle boy is exactly the same; he has to be forcibly stopped from RUSHING to give me whatever craft he’s made for birthdays / mother’s day. It’s very sweet, that enthusiasm and she sounds like a genuinely loving, very thoughtful young lady. Well done to you for actually explaining what you want to her, no one is a mind-reader and kids in particular do need to be told and shown a couple of times. It’s not that they don’t love you of course, just that they are egocentric, narcissistic little dears! Some of them never grow up, hence the requirement for Chump Lady hehe.

  • My first Mother’s Day after separation and divorce too. I’m so lucky to have 2 amazing teenagers. The X usually took them to buy flowers for me and we would eat brunch and supper with each grandmother too.

    After talking to someone at work with what sounds like a barbed wire monkey mom (her mother shames her about any gift she picks out and compares her gift to what her brother gives), I realized I really should help my kids through this. I started dropping hints about how nice a flower basket would be for the porch or how I really need to find time for my car to be washed.

    I am grateful to have found CL and CN. Your stories amaze me and how you found your mighty ‘meh’. It’s waiting for all of us. On a Tuesday. Happy Mothers Day!!

    • X chose Mother’s Day as D-Day, I have no doubt it was well thought out, and planned to be a special Mother’s Day to remember.

      • Wow. Just Wow. What an arse X is brit. A disordered, selfish, arse.

        Your X only wins if you let them. The only way I could get through this would be to switch the script. Instead of looking at it like the worst day imaginable for a Dday anniversary, I would look at it as the best day going forward as liberation from a disordered fuckwit.

        It would definitely take time and no contact to get to that point. I’m so sorry for you. Again, what an arse.

        • Great advise MJB. I see it as owning our lives and taking back control as this is the only thing we can control anyway. We can’t control other people, only ourselves – and the way we think.

      • Brit, cheaters are a bunch of assholes, but yours seems to have outdone all others. I feel terribly sorry for you and I agree that he did it on purpose. I hope you will find a way to give new meaning to this day. Hugs!

      • I must be on the off ramp to Meh. Last month I forgot that it would have been my 21 wedding anniversary (and the day follows my DD birthday) I was prompted to remember by someone one Chump Lady. Then, it dawned on me that I had not put Mother’s Day on the custody calendar and sure enough, it is on a weekend when dickhead has the kids. It also is on a weekend that I have chosen to travel to see my own mother, whom after many years, I am working to have a decent relationship with as she is in very poor health. So. It was Mother’s Day 4 years ago that my then STBX went to the bank prior to us going out to brunch and he returned furious and shaking. He must have realized that I had filed because there was a very large amount of money (legal retainer) gone from our checking account. Screaming at me, afraid he would be served at brunch. Pretty uncomfortable brunch with his mother and our kids. Fast forward a year, we are legating separated but still in the same house (an ordeal that lasted over a year). I had my lawyer ask the STBX leave the residence so I could celebrate Mother’s Day. He complied, saying he was going to go spend the night at his mother’s house. That Mother’s Day was very enjoyable. Late that afternoon I got a text from dickhead saying he was at the hospital with his mothers, she had a stroke. Over the next month the whole story revealed itself (my best friend is a nurse at the hospital my xMIL was in). My x had not spent the night at his mother’s like he had told me, instead he had been out partying, I’m sure with smoopie poo, and had only returned to his mother’s house to take her to brunch and had found her stroked out. Over the next 5 weeks my x took three weeks off of work, two for vacations and one for business travel. My friend at the hospital told me about all the whispering in the halls of the hospital about what a pathetic shit my x is, how his mother was left alone and scared, going through test after test, no one visiting, no one to comfort her. To this day, my xMIL has been in a nursing home. My x has taken up residence in his mother’s house. My children have seen their grandmother three or four times in the last four years. I can look and see the cruelty in my x, the discard of people who no longer serve his needs. I’m so very glad that I am no longer married to him. This morning as I write this, I’m at my mom’s house, she’s not feeling great. I can hear her oxygen machine chugging away. In the future I’m not sure what Mother’s Day will mean to me. But I know I would not be as stable and happy if it had not been for CL and CN. This website, of women who mother each other, happy Mother’s Day Chump Nation!

        • Dear OutWest,
          It is wonderful that you are spending this Mother’s Day with your ailing Mom.
          When her time on this earth is over you should have no regrets. You are there for her.
          I am sorry you cannot spend today with your children. I am sure they miss you too.
          Just thinking of you and sending hugs!
          Peacekeeper.

  • God bless those teachers!!!!!
    I remember my last married Mother’s Day
    Narkles the Clown couldn’t manage a card for the boy to sign, much less a gift. Thankfully his teacher had the kids all make cards. It was all I got that year. That really hurt.
    D-Day was close at hand and when I started reading here about devaluing and discarding, it all made so much sense. I still have that school made card. It reminds me of what Narkles the Clown is and how its him,not me.

    • Yes, love those teachers!! Two of my favorite Mother’s day gifts were made at school/day care: a laundry detergent top filled with plaster of paris, with silk flowers and a fork stuck into the hardened plaster–the fork to hold a recipe card (but which came with a note that said “I love you”); and some purple & blue paper flowers made in preschool. I hung those flowers from the rearview mirror in my car.

      While driving Hannibal to the airport for a conference trip, he condescendingly told me the flowers made my car look like a “rag and bones man” car. I was so furious, I told him not to bother coming home from his trip; wish I’d stuck to that recommendation a decade before D-day.

      • My little boy’s preschool teacher is so thoughtful. Since DS goes to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she arranged that Mother’s day gifts be made on Thursday. (yesterday). I was so touched. As a single mommy, she understands the importance of appreciation. My DS was so excited to give me his little popsicle framed picture of a “big dinosaur”.

      • My favorite xmas ornament? Preschool art project made as a gift. My favorite refrigerator magnet? Same. Some of my most treasured belongings were school art/gift items. Thank you, thoughtful teachers. And how many of these items did ex request or take? Zero.

    • I got a $500 gift card to JCrew from STBX on mother’s day last year. It came with a free consultation from a fashion expert. That sounds like such a nice and thoughtful gift until you realize that he was constantly harping on me for not going clothes shopping often enough and having poor fashion sense when I did. He never liked anything I picked out. Me being the good little chump that I was thanked him and went and got help from the fashion consultant so that I could be sure to get clothes he would like so I could be attractive for him. Of course he still didn’t like what I brought home. 🙁

      • Ex dropped my son back last night and has bought me yoga clothes for kids to give me for M day, kids did not pick them out. He is currently hoovering to ‘try and work things out’ umm no don’t want to be part of a love triangle or eat the shit sandwich until you do me over again in a year. He vacillates between being nice I wont say charm, to rage and self pity. During the week I received over 200 txts in 24 hours mainly with him denanding to know if I am seeing anyone which I did not tell him, I am not. His AP is overseas and his prospects are fading I think. I replied to a few txts then blocked him which he said was childish, can anyone say deluded.
        Anyways the yoga gear kind of triggers me, he has little emotional range being a narc and thinks that bad shit is cancelled out by buying me things, this has been the case in the past. The photos of his AP he had bought her swimmers and underwear like he did with me. He also likes those stores as he gets to talk to young women who serve him, same with the surf stores and haircuts likes the attention. Anyways am I making a big deal and being ungrateful?
        Oh course the catch is if I complain that the gift isnt from the kids he can tell everyone how ungrateful I was on M day, smear campaign has been grand.

        • return the items and get something – with the kids – that you like. Thank them profusely and then all go and have a really nice brunch.

          Tell them that this is a teaching moment, that you are 100% not after ”stuff” but rather after thoughtful, sincere kindness, that helping you weed the garden, carry in groceries, wash the car mean more than diamonds to you from them, and that it applies 365 days, that any gift that is heart felt from them is priceless, but you’d ideally prefer it not to come via their father. No need to trash or be mean, just neutral in tone. If they ask why, just say that gifts from him are not sincere and that sincerity is important to you.

  • Just this morning I was messaging with my friend and she told me what she’d be doing with her mom, sister and kids for Mother’s Day. She said she liked their annual tradition of going flower shopping and out for lunch as it was “drama free.”

    That’s where I’m at — drama free!

    When we first got married, I went out of my way for my ex-MIL on Mother’s Day. My mom lives 650 miles away, so we always spent Mother’s Day with my ex-MIL. I’d make a beautiful brunch and we’d do whatever she wanted that day. Then five years later I became a mother, but I continued with the brunch. However, my ex NEVER acknowledge Mother’s Day for me. No card, no presents, no flowers and he wouldn’t even wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. This went on for seven years. I was sad at how I was being treated, but I kept telling myself that I was setting a good example to my kids — being a Christian servant and putting others ahead of myself. Man, was I messed up! No, I was teaching my kids how to be a chump! Thankfully they were very little and probably have no memories of those early years.

    When my 40th birthday rolled around and once again my ex just got me a card. No presents, no flowers, no cake (it was like this the previous 12 birthdays), I was so depressed. This was about the time I started waking up a bit in how I was being treated by him. I remember saying something to him that day about him not doing anything for my birthday. Not even taking me out to eat! One week later it was Mother’s Day (I’m a May baby) and my ex-MIL manipulated me into have a very large party at our house with her side of the family. I spent the week before getting everything nice and clean. Cooked and baked. As we were waiting for our guests to arrive I said to my ex, “Aren’t you going to wish me Happy Mother’s Day?” And he said to me, “You are not my mother.” Real nice. But when all his family came over, he wished all the other women Happy Mother’s Day. I was officially done that day ever doing anything special for his mom or anyone else on Mother’s Day.

    The next Mother’s Day I told my ex to go do something with his mom. I spent the day with my little kids doing fun things together around the house. Ex-MIL and FIL where probably wondering what was going on, but since they didn’t ask, I didn’t offer any information. All the following Mother’s Day, my ex-MIL took turns picking out a restaurant to go to. Even that had drama. My exes parents would make snide remarks or she’d say, “Well, you can pick again Martha even though you picked the restaurant last year.” No, she picked the restaurant last year. Drama! And once I picked Red Robin and I had a free meal and sundae coming for my bday that was the week behavior. The server said to me, the birthday girl, would you like your sundae now? My ex-FIL yelled at the server and said, “She’s a mother too!” meaning his wife. DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA!

    It’s nice not having that drama in my life. No matter what I’d pick to eat or how much I was eating (not a lot or too much), I’d get remarks about my weight or if I was dieting. And mind you, I wasn’t over weight and never was our entire marriage. It was like being married to the Food Police. Happy to be free of all that drama, feeling used, and feeling not good enough.

    Not once in twenty years did my ex-MIL every reciprocate all that I did for her for Mother’s Day. My ex and his family made me dread Mother’s Day. Now it’s coming up and I’m looking forward to maybe going out to eat with my kids. Maybe see a movie? And studying my anatomy of nursing school. Drama-free holiday! I do not miss the narcopath and his selfish and entitled family. Happy Mother’s Day to all the single moms out there!

    • Martha,
      NO, YOU certainly aern’t his mother!
      ( thank God for that)
      YOU have a real heart of gold and are a real MOTHER!
      Happy Mother’s Day, Martha.
      I hope you have a wonderful day with your children!?

      • Thanks, Peacekeeper. If you are a female and have kids, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, too! 🙂

      • Martha – you totally forgot to put “Saint” in front of your handle. You should be known as Saint Martha having to deal with those f-tards for so many years! Good luck with all of your school work, and I hope you had a beautiful Mothers Day.

        Xo!

    • Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day Martha! Sending you virtual flowers and hugs.

      I too had a thoughtless sarcastic narcpath and his entitled, selfish narcissistic family to deal with every Mother’s Day and every holiday (yes, my family was second class to the narcs so we celebrated on alternate days to appease the beasts – I came from chumps).

      I planned, cleaned, cooked, bought & wrapped presents, picked out thoughtful cards and signed both EXH and my names. Even doing all of that, instead of receiving thanks, I received sarcastic “digs”, “put downs” or unsolicited advice on how I didn’t do something correctly and could improve.

      If I voiced concern or tried to counter I was told, “you’re so sensitive”, “I was just kidding or put in my place.

      34 years of celebrating every holiday with EXH and EX in laws.

      I now celebrate holidays however the heck I want with no sarcastic comments, no drama and often go to other friends or my son and his family’s house.

      Leaving a narcpath lying cheater and his family I have gained a huge part of my life back. I don’t miss any of them or their drama. Ahhh…

      I’m 17 months out from DD and 4 months divorced. Best Mother’s Day gift to myself ever!

  • This post is so encouraging! Mother’s Day has never worked out for me. My disordered mom died when I was young, and then much later in life we’d drive for hours to spend the day with cheater x’s mom. Blech. Eventually, I just wrote this day off.

    Now, I’m reconsidering. Why not share some appreciation for all the hard working moms I know? I could definitely bless many wonderful women in my circle! This day doesn’t have to be about my mom or me. I can make it about the other strong women I know.

    So many have been so supportive throughout this ordeal, and I would love to repay them or pay it forward in their honor. Being a mom can often be thankless.

    • Yes! Rather than contemplating my biological mom, I try to think of all of the women, too many gone now, who stepped in to serve as mothers. The DD is named after the most important of them.

    • Yes, this — celebrate with other single mothers! I only started to care about Mother’s Day when I became a single mother. There is no Mother’s Day in my own culture, and I have no family of my own here. When I came to the US, it was all about the cheater’s mom, for whose family I had to cook elaborate brunches. There was no recognition of me being a mother, as well, which was fine by me — did not care much about it. But after an awful Mother’s Day post-disclosure — when while I was fixing the house to put it up for sale while my cheater called me from Vietnam to tell me he had slept with yet another prostitute and, by the way, happy Mother’s Day! — I decided I was gonna fucking reclaim Mother’s Day: cocktails with other single mothers for whom no one makes brunch! My kids find it hilarious, and they enjoy the company, as well as the idea of a low-pressure day…

      • Cocktails with other single moms – I love this idea!!! You’ve got a full day to do something separate and special with your own kids. Why not take a few hours to gather a group of moms at one house and toast each other? Beautiful concept.

  • I am a teacher and now a single mom. This will be my first mothers day since my divorce. I teach at a low income school and many of my students are raised by single moms, foster moms and grandma’s. I have spent the past 2 days helping my class make the most awesome gifts and cards and they are so happy!! Mothers day will be hard for me, but I hope I can make it better for my students moms this year. I have a new respect for single moms now that I am one!!! Happy Mothers Day CN!

    • That is so beautiful, Newbie. I will raise a glass to you on Mother’s Day, for bringing much joy to kids and parents who desperately need it, despite your own new heartache for the day.

      I don’t know how old your kids are, but don’t be afraid to help them do for you, too. After both kids “forgot” my birthday this year (and felt terrible about it), I’ve decided not to leave their dad in charge of that bullshit anymore. It took a couple of years for me to get to this place, but now I realize that part of being the sane, reliable parent is teaching them how to show respect and appreciation for me, too. Don’t be embarrassed to say, “Kids, I’d love it if you’d make me a painting that I can hang in the living room” or even “I really need some new running socks. Can we go to the mall so you can pick some out for me as my Mother’s Day gift?”

      • One year a friend gave me a huge antique teacup collection…I had a feeling that I was just a temporary custodian of the cups and sensed that God had a bigger plan. Soon after, a gal at work was talking about the 1st graders at her foster kid’s school (poor, immigrants.etc) …there are like 84 first graders and I had like 84 cups. I bought a box of teabags and delivered the whole thing to the work gal.

        I kept getting all giddy thinking of how excited the kids would be taking fine teacups home to their moms…giving them away was SOOOOO much more fun than keeping them.

  • Last year was my first Mother’s Day as a single mom. Of course, like many of you, ex hadn’t done much of anything to acknowledge the day during the previous 4 years of me being a mother. I was used to it. But last year, as I was waking up with my daughter, not expecting the day to be different from any other Sunday, there was a knock at the door. One of my friends’ husbands and their seven year old son were at my door with a bag of fresh bagels, cream cheese, and flowers for Mother’s Day. I was past my weepy stage by then and fully into my mightiness, but I broke down. A friend’s husband, who I really barely know at all, had been more thoughtful than my ex ever was. I told my friend and she said she had no idea they were going to do it- she had nothing to do with it! What a beautiful thing. This year I’m fully at meh and killing it, so for Mother’s Day I’ve decided to purge the last item in my place that belonged to my ex and me together: my bed. I’m getting a glorious new one delivered Saturday. I’ll probably also go plant shopping with my daughter (we both love that). I’m wearing my single momhood as a “huge corsage with zero fucks given” this year, as someone so brilliantly commented on yesterday’s post. Thank you so much to CL and everyone here for their posts that have been instrumental in getting me to this point–don’t comment much but I read here faithfully. ❤️

    • Congrats on the new bed! How exciting! Wishing you many sweet dreams, and glorious, peaceful nights of meh! (And, of course, a Mighty Mother’s Day)!

  • Bravo to the Mothers who unfortunately stayed married to the NPD sperm donor and were more often than not, a single mother, too.

  • I love this column because every word rings true. When I moved this year, everything was either donated or went on the moving truck or into storage except a large suitcase with every card, piece of jewelry or art my son crafted for me through the years. Those treasures went on the plane w me They are my most valuable possessions reminding me of the toughest but happiest time in my life, raising my son on my own. I trust no one w them and I still wear some of that jewelry to my son’s horror

    I left my son’s dad when he was 5. I didn’t know he would never speak to me again in those 25 years except a very grudging hello at the high school graduation bc he was prompted to do so by my son.

    After the first holiday when his dad sent him with a bar of hand soap as my gift and no card, someone told me me if I wanted to not feel left out during Mother’s Day or any other gift exchange holiday, to take my son to the door of the neighborhood Hallmark store and ask one of the woman who worked there if they would help him select a gift and read the cards to him.

    For about 5 years we showed up at the door and I’d stick my head in and say ‘would someone like to help my son shop? ‘ and I’d pass him off along w a $10 bill.

    I’ll never forget one year opening a box w a heart shaped pin with two rhinestones and my six year old son saying ‘look mom, real diamonds’.

    Those women, although strangers, were more thoughtful to me than my ex would have ever been. They were women who worked part time to help their families and they understood. I got a lovely gift and my son had the excitement of surprising me and who cares that I paid for it bc it facilitated as special memory for us.

    This is the first time in 12 years that I live in the same town as my son and I’m lucky to be doing something w him.

    Happy Mother’s Day Tracy and CN. Try my idea if you are alone with a young child and want to make a special day for the two of you.

    • CA Vickie,
      I am smiling,
      thinking of the wonderful Mother’s Day you will enjoy this year,
      with your “Real Diamond”, your precious SON!

      • PEACEKEEPER!

        This is kind of off post (Mothers Day in the UK is in March and has always been super special for me even now and I have never not been appreciated) but just wanted to give you a shoutout for always being so supportive and kind for so many posters here. You did that for me yesterday and one other time but I noticed also that you make so many supportive and lovely comments.
        Hope you are having an appreciate you day of your own! ❤️

        • See what I mean, CN,
          Capricorn, you always make others feel good.
          I, as you, love gardening, and I love how those kinds souls cleaned your car for you and how they fixed the dent in your bumper. Your story yesterday, just made my day, and reconfirmed, it is mostly a good kind world out there!
          You truly are a people magnet,
          Your cheater lost a gem in you.
          Happy Mother’s Day with your sons and thank you for your kind words!

  • Thank you for the reminder to reach out to other single mothers. I’ve put that on my to-do list. It’s really easy these days to get caught up in my own sorrows, and I sometimes forget that making someone else feel appreciated is good medicine.

    I’m lucky to have 3 great teenagers who want to make Mother’s Day special despite having a father who is constantly trying to convince them they have a terrible mother…. apparently my bad parenting is the choice he’s settled on for serial cheating and eagerly reminds them of this. Our oldest is going off to medical school this year and of course douche is super proud because it makes “him” look good. I’m super proud for many reasons, but one is, because of being a stay at home mom for 18 years I was the primary care giver. Though I’m sure there are plenty of doctors that come from horrible parents, I’d like to think I did “some” things right (trust me, I did a lot wrong as well) and I’m not the horrible mother he says I am.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the single mom’s. We all do the best we can, despite having bred with Fuckwits! Celebrate your effort, not your lack of perfection.

    • Happy Mothers Day everyone (including the Dad’s who are mothers & fathers, doing it alone). I have a good friend who has been on her own since her daughter was 2. I always tell her happy fathers day! We laugh.
      This year, my two oldest are away celebrating the impending wedding of my eldest so I plan on teaching my 11 year old son how to fry mommy some bacon for mother’s day, its my favorite!

      Love and hugs to you all!!!

  • Nowdeadcheater always did “something” for mothers day, with all the happiness and enthusiasm of licking a porcupine, so I got shit but it rang hollow. I was a single mom widow for like 2 years but it didnt suck all that much, I was never as mighty and the mighty ones here who deserve the real applause.

    My husband and I have no kids together and as our moms are aging, we see this as a time to honor them. He gets extra points for not complaining over spending $50 to send flowers to nowdeadcheaters mom.

    My adult sons both struggle with mental illness and yesterday we had 2 wins…one kid called and triumphantly announced “Mom, I have Medecaid !!” (US healthcare coverage for the poor, I kept him on my policy as long as Obamacare allowed) a few years ago that would have felt like a failure but today it feels like a win. The other son had his drivers license suspended over an error where the state thought he still owned a car he sold. He moved far away and the place that bought his car had little motivation to help him fix the problem, so I bought warm donuts and sat in their office until they gave me the documents he needed…..is that THE MOST MOM THING EVER? Yesterday I learned his license was reinstated and he was happy.

    Yesterday nowdeadcheaters mom told me on the phone that I was the best mom my kids could ever have and I know its true…that was all I needed.

    To all the neglected, forgotten hardworking mighty moms here…massive hugs and love to you !!

    • Member of the “always did “something” for mothers day, with all the happiness and enthusiasm of licking a porcupine, so I got shit but it rang hollow” club. That goes for every other birthday, holiday, anniversary, etc etc etc. Always with the look of “let’s get this over with.”
      I really don’t remember my kids making things for me or making a fuss over the day. Sad, really, 35 yrs. of non-memories. I didn’t save all those handmade things. Silly me.

      • I’m also a member of the “let’s get this over with” club. Made me chuckle reading that I wasn’t the only one. X thought it was hilarious to repeat the same statement every year, “you’re not my Mother,”

        The enthusiasm of licking a porcupine, accurate description, I’m laughing now, remembering the blank look on his face along with how lovingly he would hand me my card, as if it weighted a ton and took all the strength he could muster. ha! it was almost painful to watch.
        X, the wet blanket, long miserable face at most occasions unless out in public or around other people, he’d suddenly transform himself into Mr. Personality.
        Mother’s Day without X and the tension is a gift by itself.

        • My stbx would always say the exact same thing – you’re not my mother. Even when I would say, “I know, but it would make me feel appreciated and happy if you would help our kids do something nice.” No dice.

          Until this year, 6 months out from d day and he suddenly wants to take me and his mom (who I’m close with) out to celebrate. To feel like he’s less of a piece of crap? I don’t really get it.

  • Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!

    I was a single mom long before I was officially a single mom. I always got the “you’re not my mother” line too but I was in charge of buying his mother a gift. Now I’m with a really kind man who treats with all the respect in the world. And every year since we’ve been together he gives me a small gift for Mother’s Day. It’s a little bittersweet that a man I was married to for 25 years could never show an ounce of appreciation for me being the mother of his only child.

  • My somewhat abusive father passed away when I was eight. From that point on, my mother was everything for both me and my sister. It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I realized how much work being a married parent was, and pondered what it would be like if I had to double that effort, and not have anyone around as backup. I made a point of seeing her with my kids every Mother’s day until she passed away. My now ex-wife’s parents lived far away, so a phone call was all they usually wanted, but remembering those May afternoons with her and the grandkids is something I will always cherish.

    But what really moves me is that knowing that what would really make her happy right now, if she were here to share it with us, is that both my sister and I have advanced degrees, jobs we love, great spouses, and our own great kids. Mother’s day for her was more about her seeing our success first hand than honoring her. Her selflessness knows no bounds.

    To all the single moms out there, thank you. You make all the difference in the lives of your children, and deserve more than one day a year to recognize it.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

  • My Mom worked so hard for so little money as a single mother, but I always had everything I needed. I wanted to play football in the 7th grade, but she didn’t have $50.00 for the shoes. She found a pair at a garage sale for $1.00, scrubbed and polished them, and gave them to me with tears in her eyes. She apologized to me for not being able to buy new ones.

    She had no idea at the time that those football shoes would later earn me a college degree and a kick start in life. 30 years later, I still have them….my most prized possession.

  • I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to my mom. She was right there for me (along with the rest of my family, but she was first and foremost) after she found out we were getting divorced. When my wife moved out a little over a month ago, Mom made sure I had good food to eat, insists on cleaning my house constantly (despite me telling her she doesn’t need to do it), has been buying me furniture (it looked like I was robbed after my ex moved out – she arranged to move out while I was out of town of course), and helps get the kids wherever they may need to be.

    I wouldn’t know where I would be without her right now. She’s been my biggest and most vital supporter.

  • I cried when I read this post.

    For the past twenty or so years, birthdays and holidays that are meant to celebrate me or love only made me feel worthless. It had a lot to do with how my father who often punished me by taking them away (cancelled my birthday party when I was nine, grounded me on my birthday when I was sixteen, etc…).

    Then I married a man who either not acknowledge or only exert minimal effort those “special” days, like my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, anniversary, and Christmas. The devalue felt normal. And then he added insult to injury by getting mad and giving me the silent treatment when I dared to be upset or disappointed he devalued me.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to actually “celebrate” a holiday again. My sons do their best to make them memorable, but a lifetime of training in worthlessness is hard to overcome.

    This Sunday, my only wish is to go hiking with my three sons and our dog. That would be the best way to acknowledge I matter.

  • This is my first Mother’s Day as a single mom. I really hadn’t given it much thought. Then I read this wonderful tribute to single moms & I just cried. In the past, anytime I got something from my XH, it always felt like an obligation, like somehow he really didn’t feel the need to acknowledge me being the mother of his children and the things I did for our family. Often times, when the kids were younger, the only things I did receive were handmade treasures that they’d made in school. I still have those and they mean more to me than any store bought gift he could’ve ever thought to have given me.

    The only thing I hope I get from my children this Mother’s Day is their time. I want to spend the day with them going to church and hanging out at home afterwards. That’s it. Deep down I know that I was a good wife and mother. I’m still a good mother no matter what he says, thinks, or believes. His discard doesn’t define who I am. The only acknowledgement I need is from my children. And I’ve gotten it, especially from my daughter. She tells me all the time that I am the strongest woman/person she’s ever known. She hopes to be half as much someday. She’s pretty damn awesome 🙂

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, single or not.

    And to all the dads out there being “mom” as well, I hope you enjoy Mother’s Day, too!

    • Brandib, nice to see someone who has the exact same Mother’s Day wish as me. Holidays were so much pressure with stbx because that wouldn’t be exciting enough to satisfy his dopamine receptors!

  • Most family holidays are ‘Meh’ to me. I can’t remember the last time some one (even when I was married – 13 years my ex never bothered once) gave me a Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Birthday gift. I do get the school gift Tracey mentions above and I cherish those.
    It’s still stings sometimes but it’s no longer painful per se. It’s just 24 hours. This too shall pass.

  • Long ago (before divorce was even a thought), I gave up having Mother’s Day expectations. I got tired of being disappointed at the end of the day. STBX always worked that day. He never organized the kids (I wasn’t “his” mother). At most, he might buy a couple gifts (without input from the kids) and then give the gifts to the kids to give me at the end of the day. Most of the time, it was just like every other Sunday.

    On occasion, the kids have done something nice and I treasure those years more than anything. When you go into the day without any expectations, it keeps you from being disappointed.

  • Thanks for this, Chump Lady, and Happy Mother’s Day to all! Single moms are mighty! This will be my second Mother’s Day since D Day. My divorce is just weeks away from being finalized, so I suspect this year may be a hard one, too. Last Mother’s Day, I was all alone with my infant daughter. No family was in town. It was just us. I tried to put on a brave face for her that morning, but I just kept crying. Around noon there was a knock at the door. It was a flower delivery. The STBX’s kind brother had sent a vase of flowers. My STBX may be the scum of the earth, but his family has – at least to this point – been very sympathetic toward me. They were just as floored and appalled by his sudden departure as I was. This gesture by his brother was so unexpected and moved me to tears (yes, even more tears!). I will always remember that act of kindness. (And, by the way, the STBX never sent me flowers, and we were together 10 years! I should have known he was a narcissistic loser. Too bad it too me so long to get the memo.) This year, it was my brother-in-law (married to my sister) who sent me an early bouquet of flowers. He had the card signed by my daughter with the note “Happy Mother’s Day. I’m sorry I keep you up all night!” It was really sweet. I’m planning to send a note to the other single moms in my life. Great idea, Chump Lady. Nothing better than spreading kindness and supporting each other on what can be a tough day.

    • That is so dear. On the first few occasions after H1 died, his elderly uncle and his wife sent me flowers…there are kind people out there

  • I hadn’t really thought much about Mother’s Day until reading all of your stories. It will be my first since dday and filing for divorce. I am pretty sure my children will do something for me because they always have and I will feel that it is more than I deserve as always.

    Last Mother’s Day turned out to be foreshadowing for dday as stbx spent Saturday finishing a bench built into our patio- a project which he had put off for 8 years. It was a beautiful day and I was so happy to have him around working on this with my son. Late in the day I asked him if he was ready to go for the run we had planned and he angrily told me no, so I finally said we needed to talk privately. He had the coldest steeley eyes during that talk and he talked making no sense to me- it was as if an alien had taken over and I did not know him. This was 3 weeks before he finally came out as a liar and a cheater.

    Now I am wondering if he will acknowledge Mother’s Day. I have been no contact with him for over a month now. I have not responded directly to any of his sporadic texts or e-mails. He has sent texts for the major holidays and my birthday in his attempts to keep me off balance and manipulate. I have finally learned to ignore them but I do find myself now wondering if I will get one.

    I do not care what his opinion of me is as a mother. He has been on both extremes depending on his motivation- I was a wonderful mother or the children raised themselves.

    My oldest daughter intuitively went no contact with him last summer. It took me until March to get there. She still gets random texts from him and ignores. My son had dinner with stbx last night and he asked if my daughter was still dating the boyfriend he has never met. They broke up over a month ago. This morning he sent her a text saying just heard you broke up with boyfriend, hope you are ok. It was written like he just heard it on the morning news. As usual no mention of all the pain he has caused and refuses to discuss.

    Anyway I think she is closer to meh than me but he sure makes it hard.

    Wishing my fellow chumps a happy Mother’s Day and know that I will be tuned in here for all your amazing support and advice.

    • My STBX sends texts to the kids in a similar fashion. He doesn’t have actual conversations with them yet will send the random texts asking how this went or that. Info he only knows because I have it on their calendars and share those calendars with him. It is like he wants them to think he is interested and a part of their lives when the truth is that he only sees them as it fits in his schedule (which comes down to a few hours twice a month).

      My gut tells me it is just impression management and manipulation of them.

      • Exactly- impression management and I think he is starting to go into overdrive because I filed and now he has a lawyer telling him what to do. Fortunately I have documented the last 10 months of virtually no contact while he was globetrotting with schmoopie and embracing his me time while I had the kids full time. The kids aren’t buying his charade so I am hopeful a judge won’t either. He doesn’t want the burden of the kids but he wants his image, he wants to win and he wants to hurt me.

        • “He doesn’t want the burden of the kids but he wants his image, he wants to win and he wants to hurt me”

          THIS!

          And he also wants to cram his new whorebitch down our daughter’s throat even though she’s made it very clear that she wants nothing to do with her. Daughter is standing her ground & he’s not happy. He gives our daughter an hour a week…hasn’t even attempted to spend his every other weekend with her. Daughter see him for the sorry POS that he is.

  • This has me teary-eyed today. Maybe because last night I had to make corrections to the court response statement (ex wants to pay zero child support since he quit his job). There was a paragraph about how I am a single parent and do everything for the kids; ex lives over 2,000 miles away,
    My kids still do not do much for me on my birthday or Mothers Day. Need to work on that, as I worry that they have not learned to be appreciative (and they will need to be so in the working world).
    My worst Mothers Day was in the midst of false reconciliation: then H was living-working out of state and I got a “oh, by the way, Happy Mother’s Day” text in the late afternoon. At that time I did not know about the AP. And I had spent the school year as a single parent supporting his career change(and we know now, his extracurricular activities).

    Last year, and this year, we will have breakfast with my former inlaws, and my former SIL and family.
    I admit I resented celebrating with MIL for years… My ex never did something special for me unless I insisted (I got presents, but never a “what do you want to do today”…kind of thing,

    But, the inlaws our getting up in years, ex lives far away, I can be a good person.
    MIL is actually always good about telling me what a good mum I am.

    Jedi hugs to all the single mums out there! Sometimes it hurts like the dickens, but I know I would not have it any other way.

    Shall we take bets if I get anything from the kids his weekend? 😉

  • I love this post, thank you. This is my second single mother’s day. I think last year I was still too much in shock over everything that had transpired because this one is hitting me so much harder than last year. For me, the second year has been harder on some level. The first year was just about making it through. Now? I understand that this is my reality. And it’s not what I expected or intended. All I want to do is spend time with my 7 year old – which we will do and which we do daily anyway. Just another Sunday I guess in my world. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the single moms out there.

    • The betrayal is aways there, and so is the slog, but eventually, I have been able to create a life for myself. It is not the life I envisioned, but it is my life, the life I have chosen. Like you, I basically powered through the first year after DDay (which happened on my anniversary; how special). The second year was an absolute bitch. I was sure the wheels were going to come off the wagon.And I was so angry!

      These days, I look back and wondered how I made it. I wish I could offer you some easy solution, but the only advice I have is keep going, keep going, keep going. Let no one and nothing stop you from deciding the life you want. Make your own traditions, celebrate in a way that allows you and your daughter to just enjoy on another’s company. My kids and I love to make homemade waffles- cheap, easy and way better than expensive brunch in a crowded restaurant.

      I am very grateful because all of my kids are with me this year. They are definitely in the “explore the world” phase of their lives and I don’t get to see them as much as I would like. But all of them made the effort this year to be home. We have laughed and talked and worked in the garden. One son brought his chain saw, and he and his brother took down a tree that had fallen on my shed. One of my daughters brought a kite and we are going to fly it at the beach later on.

      The last few years have been filled with a lot of pain and loss for all of us (my dad and young niece died; X has a progressive and terminal disease), but today, at this place and this time, we are okay. In fact, we are better than okay. We are exactly where we want to be. I hope this time next year you are where you want to be. “I have made it through. You can make it, too.” -Bob Dylan

      • Love this too. My kids and I have experienced it all these past few years, good times and bad. But we know we can weather it all…together.

  • I’m bawling my eyes out. Our stories are all similar. Too too close to home. The “you’re not my mother” statements when the kids would ask what their father was going to do to celebrate the day, to being the married single SAHM for 20yrs, to always sending flowers to ALL of the moms (mine, his and his step). Blah blah blah.

    I don’t know what this yr will be like. My kids never had a healthy male role model and my expectations and needs were set so low during this time – I will be amazed if my kids even recognize the day without me telling them.

  • Children don’t care about calendars or Sundays in May. Our real Mothers Day presents are those unexpected moments throughout the year when a child suddenly wraps their arms around us and says something akin to Thank You or I Love You or You’re the Best For Bringing My Glasses To School For Me, Mom. Or even I’m So Glad You’re My Mom and Not Mrs. Smith, Because She’s a Total Bitch. lol

    I have never had a toddler OR a teenager look at the calendar and plan an amazing Mothers Day for me, and I’ve given up the expectation. Because truthfully, those days are the responsibility of your spouse — to herd the children together to make breakfast and cards and to say on their behalf “We could not do any of this without you.” I never had that kind of spouse and quickly dropped the hopium pipe on that one.

    So my Mothers Days are of MY making. Which means treating myself to little delights and giving myself a pat on the back for not killing these offspring who are so maddeningly difficult and wonderful.

    I fucking rock as a Mom and I’m not afraid to say it. 😀 Chump Lady and Chump Nation are a big part of it. <3

    Hang in there, Moms. As you remember your worth, you treat yourself better. As you treat yourself better, you expect better treatment from others. As you attract others who treat you as valuable, life gets immeasurably better. You become better, your parenting becomes better, your heart starts healing, your kids sense your growing joy, your life gets better. If you can't believe it right now, just trust us. IT GETS BETTER; just keep hanging in there. Love and hugs to you all!

    MGM

    • This…”to herd the children together to make breakfast and cards and to say on their behalf “We could not do any of this without you.”

      I can remember my dad doing this with me and my siblings growing up. To say my disappointment was huge when my husband failed to recognize this responsibility is an understatement.

  • Mother´s day in Norway is in February, two days after Valentine´s Day. That was a sucker punch for me last year, since I was alone and Disordered STBX was in la-la land.
    My kids took me out for mother´s day and we had a nice dinner together, they all said, “Mom, it´s great to be able to be together and laugh! We couldn´t do this if dad were here!”
    I realized that it wasn´t just me that felt the tension Disordered STBX had always created.
    All my five kids have told me that they are proud of me and that I have always been a good mom.
    I know that I have been there for them all and I have no regrets.
    Same can´t be said for Disordered STBX.
    I feel the support of my children every day, and that I have taught them good values.
    For me, that´s the best gift I could receive. Mother´s day or otherwise.

  • Happy mothers day to all mothers out there, especially those who are doing most of the physical and emotional work for the family. Happy mothers day to all those women without children who where kind and loving to little girls like me.

    I am not a mother but I can relate to the complete lack of effort by cheaters to celebrate any occasion. Of course, like most of you, I remembered all birthdays and holidays, bought thoughtful gifts and cards, got the albatross to sign them and then mailed them or arranged for them to get to the right person. He would then smile charmingly and take credit for them. He would get me a present usually on my birthday but always last minute and often something he thought was interesting not something I actually wanted. On one occasion he had nothing and said “I didn’t have time”. I wish I had said what went through my head at that moment, “My birthday falls on the same day every year, it didn’t sneak up on you”.

    May you all have people in your life who celebrate and appreciate you.

  • For the first time in my life, I realize the importance of Mother’s Day. Over my married years, I have treated my own mother rather poorly. When my mom found out that my STBX cheated on me, she and my dad called me up straight away. I thought for sure that she would give me the “I told you so” speech as she was never happy about my choice in marriage partner. But there was not one word about “I told you so.” Three years out from DDay and she still hasn’t uttered those words. Instead, she cried with me and asked me what she and my dad could do. I asked for a vehicle because my STBX had forced us to live with one vehicle for our marriage up to that point and I felt trapped. My parents promptly went out and purchased me a used car that has truly been my gateway to freedom.

    What I never fully realized growing up, is that my mom truly loves me. When she called me after DDay, I knew she cared and I knew that she loved me and has only ever wanted what was best for me. Even after everything that I’ve done, she still wants me in her life and that’s something. With the death of my marriage has come the rekindled relationship I have with my parents. They have given me some of the best things in life – good sense (tho I haven’t always used it) and good values. In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m so happy that I have a great mom, who is there for me when I need her most. Always has been, always will be.

  • When my kids were in pre-k, they each went to a place where they gave them plaster castings to paint. They were supposed to be gifts on Mother’s Day. I lovingly kept them in my china cabinet. But after Dday, I felt the need to redocorate and put their sculptures on the wall along with some mirrors. God bless those teachers, because other than the 1st year after Dday, my ex has never wished me Happy Mother’s Day. There has been 5 of them, this will be the 6th.

    In the years since, my kids have come home with bedraggled little plants for me to nurse and handmade cards…I’ve kept them all. Every now and then I pull them out and they are surprised that I still have them. But they are reminders of why we became parents in the first place. Although our circumstances are far from ideal, our kids make it worthwhile.

    Happy Mother’s Day fellow chumpettes! Keep up the amazing job!

  • this post primarily has mothers commenting, and I fully support all of you and would like to thank you for being there for your kids! you all rock!
    However, I will not be doing anything for my children’s mother on Sunday. I’m sure I will be called an asshole, but I’m already called one for standing up for myself and refusing to eat shit sandwiches.
    Real mothers don’t lie and gaslight their childrens fathers even when faced with the truth. Real mothers tell the father of doctor’s appointments. Real mothers drop the kids off on time or at least message when they are going to be late(we live 2 miles apart). Real mothers don’t let 6 year olds tell their father about the guy who is over at the house every night(been 3 months since new bf posted pic of him with my 2 year old daughter on facebook and no mention from her to this day that someone is spending significant time with our children). Real mothers tell you when your child is at the ER and don’t wait until hours later, even then I was told it happened in front of house not walking across the street. Real mothers work with the father when their children are having issues with depression (insisted I was problem with our communication, refused to acknowledge affair).
    I could go on, but I won’t. Still nervous that she is going to want kids on Sunday(in our decree, but of course no communication)

    • I’m sorry this is your situation. I do the same on Father’s Day for cheater x.

      Not one gift or card. I simply believe good fathers don’t lie to their children and destroy their family. Also, I am no contact for my healing and peace of mind and the kids say they don’t want to get him anything. Lastly, cheater x puts his AP ahead of our children’s needs. He is distant, uninvolved, and misses music night, awards banquets, confirmation… He no longer acts like a father at all and spends his time and energy on pursuing his selfish, shallow needs.

      I completely understand why you would not celebrate Mother’s Day with a cheater x wife.

    • King, but of course! Who on the CN here would not support you? The cheaters simply don’t deserve to be mothers or fathers. I cannot comprehend that a cheater with no morals can give any good to kids’ upbringing. The cheating was not on the spouse only. They deliberately put themselves ahead of everything that would otherwise give their kids the intact and happy family. The cheaters cheated on the children as well, they robbed them of the time they could spend together choosing to be with fuckbuddies. Mine now is trying hard to rewrite the story with our 9year old son telling him that he was not happy, we did not “understand each other” and that he loves him very much and it was not cheating or infidelity but his ultimate personal freedom was at stake to do as he pleased because he deserved to be happy. Unfortunately my 9 year old buys that crap, or at least is not visibly distressed with the upcoming divorce (or hiding it efficiently). But I will no longer remind my son of the father’s day or even encourage something. I maintain my grounds, when prompted: your father cheated and that’s why we are divorcing. Especially that he never did anything on any anniversary, birthday, mother’s day, etc and always made me feel guilty of wanting extra attention on “regular days”. I convinced myself all those days were tegular for 12 years and stopped even expecting. It was nice to discover he took the main shmoopie on a tour across egypt for 2 weeks for her 40th. That was not a regular day.

      With that said, my MIL (which is still around) just bought a nice bouquet of flowers and I am also invited to his aunt’s on Sunday. It helps he lives across the ocean and his family is still nice. Let’s wait and see when they discover I retained a lawyer.

      Happy Mother’s Day, beautiful ladies of CN!

  • Mother’s Day was never important to me – I know my children love me and I love them with every ounce of my being. Maybe I’m rather cynical but I have always found Mother’s Day rather commercialized. My ex (who really only wanted me as a mother – a role which I played for 20 years) did used to buy gifts but, like all of his gifts, they felt so obligated/image managed – not cheap but never anything personalized to me. There never felt like any love behind any of his gifts. I know that may sound ungrateful but buying me gifts whilst at the same time using prostitutes/spending enormous amounts of money behind my back just made them feel so hollow.
    Tomorrow is also my younger daughter’s birthday – she will be 12. She was premie and this time 12 years ago I was sitting on a ward, trying to relax and not go into full-blown labor so she could get her full 48 hours of steroids before she was born (by Caesarian) to help her lungs mature enough. For several years afterwards this time would bring back a lot of traumatic memories but now, although it has been a long road, and she does have some issues still, I mostly look in wonderment at how far things have come. Tonight she was dancing for me – a little girl who didn’t walk until 20 months and would still fall over for no apparent reason just standing there at 3 years old. This year, however, I have also reflected on if only I had seen what was already there and could have predicted the future behavior of my ex, what this would have been like for me. Actually one of the hardest things for me has been the complete lack of involvement in my daughter’s care that ex had. We have had many 100s of therapy/doctor’s appointments over the years and countless meetings with school – he probably attended 2% at the most – and these only under a lot of pressure. Like so many others – I was always a single mother, at least now it is “official” – ex has kids 24 hours every 2 weeks and 1 evening for dinner every 2 weeks. This is the most my elder daughter would agree to and now he has married OW 5 months after leaving, I’m not sure how even this is going to continue. So many people have commented on how my ex-narc is a boy-man and he has been an atrocious father to my children since he left (previously basically uninterested).
    At least this Mother’s Day I only have to parent 2 children – and I know they both love me!
    Love and mightiness to all single mothers out there
    Xx

  • I filed for divorce at the end of January, and the last few months have been hell, to put it nicely.

    Here’s how my STBX addressed Mother’s Day this morning by text:

    Him: Can I borrow DD Sunday or Saturday afternoon so we can do something for you? DS too, if he wants. Actually, we will need to use your stove lol
    Me (in shock): Ok. I’ll do something with my mom or whatever.
    Him (18 minutes later): Never mind I am broke now. I hope I get some umpire pay or I won’t have any gas money. I wanted to make you something for mothers day, can’t do that either…

    Leave it up to this narc to not only ensure that I feel uncared-for on Mother’s Day but also to make it my fault (since I made him move out and now he’s broke).

    I’m so glad I found this site. It makes me feel tons better that somebody out there understands.

    • What text book build you up and knock you down in the mere space of two texts. I hope you can go no contact. Hugs- that made me feel so bad for you. I have no doubt you are better without him.

    • 13 Years, your STBX is an ass of the first magnitude. Do not text back. I have an app called Hiya that sends telemarketers, junk calls and numbers that I designate directly to VM. I highly recommend you download it (it’s free!) and add STBX’s number to it.

      My own Mothers’ Day stories:

      With Cheater #1, D-Day #1 was when I was just 12 weeks pregnant with Jr. During wreckonciliation, after Jr. was born, and on my first Mothers’ Day (as a mom), C#1 gifted me with a beautiful ruby and diamond ring. Amazing what guilt will buy, KWIM? The bad part is that he bought it using the secret credit card he used to finance the whores. Luckily, I could prove in court later that the debt was not mine. Phew. Still wear the ring, though, because it does bring back sweet memories of when Jr. was a tiny baby.

      Cheater #2, well, let’s just say it’s been a long week. He has been railing on me all week about how I am just.not.nice to his kids, especially his daughter. The same daughter that trashed me all over social media, to all her school teachers, to her friends’ parents so I had zip credibility when I’d try to be a carry,
      involved stepmom (married C#2 when she was in middle school, she’s 24 now), stole financial paperwork and gave it to her mother to use against us in court (unsuccessfully, another Phew!), bullied Jr. and her younger brother in that I’m-really-a-nice -big-sister-mean-girl kinda way (meaning her dad chooses to be blind to his little princess doing anything remiss). I have a meme on one of my Pinterest boards that reads something like, “If you want to know the meaning of thankless, try being a stepmother on Mothers’ Day.” And like a good chump, I really do feel guilty. We got along juuuust fine until I married her dad, and her mom, who is/was a cheater, decided to guilt her for getting along with me. How fucked up is that?

      Furthermore, I had to endure an hour yesterday of C#2 telling me how shit I am — while his undies were spinning in the dryer. Yep, I must be a shit wife if I’m doing the housework after work and you’re sitting on the couch watching TV and doing nothing. Oh, and his parting shot this morning as he went out the door to work? “Do I have to do anything for you for Mothers’ Day? ” Took every ounce of self control to not say, “No, do something for yourself because you’re the real MUTHA here.” Instead I did my best try at grey rock and just said no.

      Sooo, on Sunday, I’m going to take Jr. to go visit my mom, the original barbed wire, BPD mom (Why, yes, I am trying to fix self centered fuckedupedness one relationship at at time!) so she can brag to her neighbors in her senior citizen complex about what a wonderful mom she is/was (uh, no). Then, Jr. and I are going for sushi and to See’s for dessert. We will fill a the biggest box of chocolates we can carry and eat them all on the beach together. Fuck his father, C#1 and his stepfather, C#2. He will be a better man than both of them, I’m going to make damn sure of it.

      Oh, and thanks for letting me vent. I feel a little better now.

      • STBX should be kissing my ass every mother’s day. Like you, I’ve done everything, including working full time and taking care of housework and kids while he didn’t work for 3 years. My stepdaughter, to whom I’m the wicked stepmother off every Disney movie apparently, is only 6 months older than my oldest. (I’m sure you can do the math to figure out what happened there.) He wants me to watch her this summer during his month of visitation after the divorce will be finalized. Doesn’t matter how evil I am, I guess.

      • Hugs to Her Blondness…enjoy your day with your son, your sushi and especially the Sees Candy!

  • I feel for all of you for whom Mother’s day will not be the special day it is meant to be. I hope that future Mother’s days will be more joyful.

    I almost feel like less of a single mom now than I did a year ago before DDay and before STBX moved out. A year ago he was leading his double life and had pretty much tuned out on the whole family and I was doing everything because he wasn’t anymore. He was cheating on the whole family. Since DDay he has discarded me, but he has not included the kids in that. He has remembered that he loves them and wants to be their Dad. He has no interest in reconciling with me, but he does want to reconcile with his kids. Although he does not live at home, he does participate in parenting. In addition to taking them on outings and feeding them 1-2 nights a week, he does things like clothes shopping and shuttling them around to their various activities and appointments. When I need to go on an overnight, he stays with any kid that is not with me. These things do take some of the parenting burden off of me. I am also fortunate that he has never been physically abusive to me or the kids. He has been emotionally abusive in the past, but that hasn’t manifested lately. As such, I do not have to be afraid of leaving the kids in his presence.

    Of course there is a downside to this. Because he wants to be a participating parent, I have to include him in all of the decision making that revolves around them and we don’t always agree. It is a pain to have to negotiate and compromise on things when I would really rather not have to deal with him. I couldn’t even decide what pool to take the kids to this summer. He insisted that we buy them passes to Schmoopie’s pool and when I pointed out that I wasn’t keen on that idea because I would rather not run into her inadvertently, his solution was “well I just won’t get a pass for you then”. Jerk. Also, the pool I wanted to go to was 1/3 the price. Of course that kind of thing will be less annoying once we get our finances separated (we are still working on that).

    Meanwhile, this year’s Mother’s day will be great! My older son is at a national rocket completion this weekend making me proud. Meanwhile I will be camping and hiking with the other two at my daughter’s insistence because she knows I enjoy those things. Also, they are old enough to openly show their appreciation of me and all that I do for them. So all in all, in spite of everything, this is one milestone holiday that will be a comfort instead of a reminder of my pain.

  • Best Mother’s Day, ever. Oldest daughter in Africa on a medical relief trip – this is the very first time she is giving the exams, not triage patients. Youngest daughter is really pulling through tough times, working too much, but figuring out which degree and school to finish up with. –Yeah.

    They loaded up the back yard planters with 8 gorgeous hanging baskets, but younger daughter, left in charge, did not ask if these could live in full sun, she got 8 shady plants. 🙁 oh no!

    — I felt like I was sentencing those plants to certain death by location! What was great is that even though , she was upset, I was upset and we argued about what full sun/partial sun/shade means, they were returned for a more suitable annual and I know our relationship will all be “O.K” in the end.

    We can roll that way.

    • “triaging patients”, >sheesh<

      So, even thought I felt like a "tiger mom", but I know in the end I am really appreciated.

      Oh, I am one of those art teachers who has been origami folding pop out cards all week. I guess having my eyes cross (from demonstrating and folding a simple flower 5,000 times WILL BE really appreciated!)

  • Awww Chump Lady that article is still as wonderful to read as the first time I read it. Thank you for writing that for all the single moms out there…And for the fathers also taking on the mom roll because of their cheaters.

    My ex has been gone almost six years now. My kids were 12 and 9 when he left. They have always made a point to remember me on Mother’s Day whether it be making those home made cards, having my mom pick up something for them or making me the bad for my hips but most delicious chocolate pancakes with chocolate chips, whipped cream, chocolate chips and a kahlua drink (lol).

    My ex does not co parent with me, and sometimes it does get overwhelming doing it all on my own even though my kids are now teenagers. This is so tough, but it’s also the most rewarding thing I have done — on my own all the while knowing my ex thought I couldn’t and wanted to see me fall flat on my face.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the chump ladies (and the men playing mom and dad)! You’re all mighty! 🙂

  • Happy mothers day to me.i deserve it.this month will mark a year since i became a single mother officially but i think i have been one ever since i conceived.
    Ill be 24 in June.my son is 2.After ex left me for his work colleague(who he left for the whore who is now carrying his children.thats what he says anytym he texts me when i ask for child support rubbing it in how he has moved on and expecting twins soon&dont give a shit about my son.did i mention he fucked the ex when still with me.dumped her months later.2months later met whore&now she is having his children.all this happened from July 2016.11 months to be precise.so much drama on his side.)

    Anyway.i got a job saved and now working and in school too.all this on my own.
    My son is okay.he speaks ex has never heard him speak because he is not interested.
    Im okay.in a scale of 100 im 70percent which is great considering the abuse my ex and the in laws put me through.did i mention they threw me out of their ancestral home.

    So happy mothers day to me and all the single moms out there.We can do it.

    • Happy Mother’s Day to you! You are mighty!! Sounds like ex is so disordered and doomed for a life of misery.

      As much as I despise those Schmoopies and think they get what they deserve, the one having twins is doomed for a quick discard or several years of misery. Telling people you are having twins brings so many kibbles. When the rubber meets the road and those babies are taking too much work and attention, the cheater gonna do what cheaters do….

    • What a POS.

      Anyway — can you think of something new and different that you haven’t done before == perhaps visit a park that you haven’t been to before, or somewhere that you might want to make an annual tradition.

      I love the idea of totally reframing the holiday — maybe wear special outfits, get a picture snapped of the 4 of you and do that annually?

  • Mother’s day is a bit of a trigger for me. Last year, my estranged husband gave me a second hand espresso machine. I was appreciative of the gift since I love my lattes. I was later informed that the reason for the gift was that I was spending too much $$ on lattes and the machine was given to me to cut luxury expenses.
    Here’s the kicker: husband abandoned me and my toddler during my pregnancy with DD. He had been away for 2 months when he gave me the machine. I didn’t know at the time that he moved out of the family home and into miss slut mccuntys house. The espresso machine CAME FROM HER!!!!!! I guess it was a consolation prize. I was apparently playing the pick me dance and didn’t even know it.
    Needless to say, the machine is gone.

  • Like others here, my X always made sure that Mother’s Day sucked for me (and birthdays, anniversaries, holidays).

    I was a stepmom to his 5 children (three of whom lived with us) and a mom to our son. I was the checkbook. I was the lunch maker and the permission slip signer. I was the school clothes and school supplies tracker. I was the “time for new sneakers” noticer. I was the sign-up for activities and buy airline tickets to visit their mom person. I was the shoulder to cry on and the one to abuse with mis-placed anger. I took it all in stride.

    He never once acknowledged all that I did for my stepkids… and as such, they never learned to value it and appreciate me. But, my son was too young to notice, thankfully.

    Now that everyone is gone and it is just me and my son… we go on an adventure together on Mother’s Day. One year, after I had dropped 70lbs from the discard, we went to an amusement park and I could go on all the rides with him! Another year, we went to New York City and saw a show (and one he was going to be in at our community theater!). Another year, we planted flowers together. I’m trying to show him that it isn’t about the gifts… it is about the time we spend together – the memories we are creating. Because I know as he gets older, our time together will decrease.

    I’m grateful to be a single mom this year. I will no longer be abused and ignored by Mr. Sparkles and my stepchildren. They will no longer be illustrations to my son as to how to make another person feel invisible. I will enjoy peace, love, and the feeling of his little hand in mine.

    Thank you, Mr. Sparkles, for the sperm donation. Enjoy your life of chaos and ungrateful children/adults.

    I’ll take it from here and raise a man.

    • I am sorry your stepchildren didnt value the gift you gave them of time, love and finances. I am so happy your son values you, so lovely! Happy Mothers Day.

  • Mother’s Day was my D Day 3 years ago. I remember waking up that morning to an amazing breakfast prepared by my now ex husband after 15 years of marriage. They made pancakes, had fresh watermelon, and even a mimosa for me. They showered me with gifts and I completely felt totally in love with my girls and my husband. Around lunch time we all got in the car to take my mother in law for out for a Mother’s day lunch. Along the way, we needed to stop for gas. My ex got out and pumped gas, but the credit card machine wasn’t working at the pump, so he had to go in and pay the cashier.

    At the time my youngest daughter of 3 girls, who was 5 months old at the time, was in her car seat watching Sesame Street on my then husband’s phone. He got a text while my daughter had the phone and she couldn’t figure out how to get back to Elmo. I got out of the front seat and opened the back door to help her.

    What I saw changed my life forever. It was a text from someone titled “The Groom” (my ex is a horse mounted cop) saying “I’m so happy the way things are progressing. I love you more now than ever. I can’t wait to meet your mother”

    After reading this I crumbled on the inside but tried to keep my composure for the kids sake for the rest of the drive. When we got to my mother-in-laws, I asked her to watch the kids for us so my husband and I could have a conversation outside. Well that went well…I confronted him about the text. He didn’t even deny it. He promptly told me that the whore was the love of his life and he didn’t love me anymore. He said the most painful words that I ever heard. “I hope someday you will find the person that will give you butterflies like she does”. “I hope someday you find true love” (I thought I already had)….the list goes on and on. I promptly went back to my mother in law’s house, told her that her son was cheating on me and my children, packed up the kids, and left his ass there.

    I headed to my mom’s house with the kids and completely fell to pieces surrounded by my family. To this day I cringe when I think about Mother’s Day. My 2 older girls even remember that Mother’s Day as the day that Daddy abandoned all of us.

    The next day, I got a text from him saying he was moving out and moving 2+ hours away and already had signed a lease for an apartment with his whore and her two kids. So…not only was I immediately replaced, my kids were too. After 3 years of court battles over countless issues that are still going on, he never once challenged me for custody.

    This year it is my mission to create a different tradition for my girls and I for Mother’s Day. I don’t want it to be a day of mourning for even one second for any of us. I don’t know how I’m going to pull it off, but I’m determined. Any suggestions?

    • Jen, you’re mighty. I think whatever you do to take Mother’s Day back is a good thing, and there are some great suggestions in this thread. Take your girls shopping for you and let them pick things out. Eat whatever you want for breakfast. Make new traditions.

      I’m sorry there is still fallout and court issues. This guy is a monster — who walks away from his family on freaking MOTHER’S DAY? And oh hey, she was the butterfly-love-of-his-life ONLY when busted. Until that point he seemed quite happy to eat cake.

      You enjoy those wonderful kids without his interference. And enjoy Mother’s Day too — you deserve it.

    • Jen6298, Awwww, this is so sad. I’m so sorry this happened to you, especially on Mother’s Day. It’s good you will make some new traditions. Gosh, your ex is such a turd. (((HUGS))) to you.

    • My idea for you is to make a fairy garden with your kids (let the 3 year old pick out the fairy house, or better yet, if you are crafty make one.)

      There are designs from simple to amazingly lovely fairy habitats, and the live tiny mosses and miniature plants can make incredible landscapes! They even have mini “dog houses” for the gardens, with “fake” bugs – butterflies residing in them as pets…

      They can fit into pretty much any container, you can buy, create or “find” (search for smooth, small rocks for pathways). Buy the plants, buy a starter houses, take turns watering and tending to the garden all summer. My girls loved theirs.

      This can be added to every year (I added a swing set, bird bath and windmill).

    • Jen, I’m sorry that happened to you, and especially on Mother’s Day. Reading this gave me that feeling in my stomach that we all know and hate so much. What a rotten POS. It shouldn’t, but it still astonishes me that there are such people walking around out there destroying the lives of those they are supposed to love. It ought to be a crime.

      Since Mother’s Day (understandably) creates a bad feeling in your lives, why not just ignore that day altogether. You and your kids could designate a different day of the year just for y’all to celebrate YOU from now on. Hey, you guys could sit down and formalize it by drafting a decree saying something like, “Henceforth and forevermore, April 14th shall be known as “Jen Day” in the House of (insert name), and shall be devoted only to activities that bring joy to Her Ladyship, Queen Jen.” You guys would be creating a day that is singular in the universe to celebrate you, Jen (and there would be no bad aftertaste).

      Happy “Jen” Day! You damn sure deserve it.

  • Has anyone else had to deal with fallout from their adult children. I feel like a black cloud with all the good wishes and thoughts presented here for Mothers Day, I am sort of dreading the day. My adult children have had a hard time adjusting to the divorce with their narcissistic super wonderful amazing, sparkly dad lying about the ho-worker affair then marrying her as soon as divorce was final and little by little blowing off his adult kids over the last two years. Yet they still hold on to “you guys were not getting along and just grew apart after 30 years” fed by their dad.
    After all of this, they blew me off too. I am working on rebuilding relationships with them but the youngest is lukewarm and won’t discuss our relationship, my son has recently responded and I am so grateful and the middle daughter who has always been very close, is completely ignoring me. She is very sparkly and very controlling and I am worried she is taking on self serving behavior. Her brother made a comment about her controlling everything and I am just so sad.
    I just want my family, I don’t want to burden them, I don’t want to dump on them, I don’t want to cry about my life, with the exception of them it’s pretty ok! I just want to connect and be a part of their life in some small way. I don’t understand why they are reacting this way. I wasn’t a perfect mom and sometimes I was home “but nobody was there” because of the stress from the narc but I never left my kids, ever. They saw me always cater and grovel to their dads distain and self absorbed behavior and now I feel I am doing the same with them.
    Ugh, thank you for reading this and to all the single moms please take a moment to indulge yourself, just to stop and take a moment to breathe. Please know you have great worth and show that to your children.

    • I am so sorry that your adult children do not appreciate you as they should. It boggles the mind. Perhaps their Dad was negatively influencing them throughout their entire childhoods. Do they have children of their own? If not, perhaps they will come to appreciate you more with time when they are in the parenting role and recognize just how difficult and demanding it can be. I hope they come around eventually and realize that you are worthy of their love and respect. Keep sending out the olive branches in the most positive way you can (best not to bring up your ex at all) and perhaps you will be rewarded someday although there are no guarantees. Sending good vibes your way. Hang in there.

      • Thank you chumpinrecovery, I love them so much and I will continue to do the gentle olive branch but it feels very good to vent the frustration here and get some validation. Have a lovely weekend!

  • Jen 6298 – Why do I have visions of you and the girls getting manis and pedis and then going home to binge watch some great movies about strong women… “Little Women”… “Legally Blonde”… “All About Eve”… make it a celebration of women day… you are mighty and you are raising future mighty women. You’ve got this. (The Groom got the Horse’s Ass.)

  • I salute all single moms and chump nation and chump lady. Without CL and CN I would never have come this far. Last night my two wonderful girls presented me with beautiful cards (the little one made 2) and the big one spent so much time making hers special.

    This weekend they are off with their father and his girlfriend for Mother’s Day weekend. he offered to “maybe” return them early so they could have part of Mother’s Day with me but I want no condescending favors from him. The girls and I have celebrated together already.

    Then this morning I was packing up my elder daughter’s folder. I opened it like usual to clear out her papers and found a Mother’s Day card for his mother (who knew all about the girlfriend and encouraged the cheating and has never liked me) and my daughter had also started making a Mother’s Day card for his girlfriend. It was not finished but that was truly a knife in my heart.

    I truly hope the day comes soon when none of them can ever hurt me again.

    –Wanting to be on the Other Side

    • You are mighty I am glad that your wonderful girls made you beautiful cards. It will get better. You are doing mightily. Roll on Tuesday and meh.

    • Wantingtobeonthe other side Yes I understand that kind of pain. You have a right to it. Give yourself grace.

      The only thing I might suggest is reconsidering having their father bring the girls back early. Even though it is a condescending offer of a favor, you can turn it in to showing love for your daughters. See it as an opportunity to turn something meant for evil into good. While you have already celebrated, send the message that you love being their mother and welcome them back to celebrate the day some more.

      • That’s a good idea Feelingit,

        Wanting to be on the other side, I hope cheater’s mother is still a good grandmother to your daughters,
        As for the girlfriend’s card, it is unfinished, that tells you something. It was probably not your daughter’s idea to make it in the first place.
        Hopefully it remains unfinished, just like the girlfriend, unfinished.
        You are a good loving Mother. Mother’s Day is your day.
        Yes, hopefully the girls can return home earlier to enjoy more of your day.
        It brings back memories for me when you said you and your girls “celebrated together already.” Thru the years I did the same with my daughters. My career kept me at the hospital for long hours on special days like their birthday, Christmas, etc. So we always tried to make just ordinary days very special and we never tied all our heartstrings into one particular day. I enjoyed my time making those holidays special for people who didn’t want to be in hospital. It was the best thing I could do and my girls understood. That’s just the way it was.
        I can tell you and your daughters are close. You are going to be ok!
        Happy Mother’s Day, you are a wonderful, caring Mother!?

    • Happy Mother’s Day to all the single mothers out there, from a father. It takes courage get up every day and do what you do, and you deserve all the respect, admiration, and recognition Tracy mentions. You have the hardest job on the planet, and are all heros in my book. I hope you all receive one of those mushy cards that make you cry, breakfast in bed, and a “thanks for being such a great mom.” ?

    • Hugs. Your girls know who is their mother. Why in the world, though, does your decree not give you mother’s day and him father’s day? Just curious. Cause that is pretty much the norm here.

      Hugs, hugs, hugs

  • Wishing al, CN well for this day. You are mighty especially going forward on a day with so laden with appearances. Hold to your values and appreciate the kind actions is my motto for this. It is my first Mother’s Day since being single. I support my DS and DD dependent young adults. Our tradition that I bought from my own family is that to make cards. They write heartfelt messages which I treasure. I will spend some time ( my precious commodity as I work and study) with my Mom. She has been supportive saying what took you so long when I worked up courage to tell her. . She had keptin contact despite STBX trying to limit and control my contactions with her and disrespect her (and as I I now see -me) but when he rang her after DD2 shee told him what a bulky he was. As he was one no one said this and he was quite put out. He used to mock and say I would not want to end up just like her. I say I can think of worse fates. She is a good role model in many ways.

  • Lovely article, with so much love, care and deep respect for mothers. I am writing here from Lebanon, I admire you chump lady, you make me feel mighty. I am not a mother, and still your words are so touchy and full of love and warmth. You are an incredible lovely woman. I love you( first time i tell a woman I love you) 🙂 🙂
    Happy mothers Day to you and to all women and men here.

  • by the way my mother is also mighty, she raised 6 children all by her self since she was 35, lost my father and she was left all by her own, she is illiterate and still she could find a job as a cook. lost a brother when he was 18. Almost all of us have university degree, two medical doctors. When she realised my soon to be husband is not serious, she threw a proverb that means better be a widow than a scandalous man. Note that we live in a world where divorced women are not popular.
    Happy mothers Day to my mother. In lebanon we celebrate mothers day on the 21st of March, but still.

      • in her 80, she still rocks. When i found out he cheated on me, i was so worried to tell her, and my sister said: mother is like a rock, we tell her and hear her wise advice. when i told her, she was cool and her comment went like( a Palestinian proverb): they made him carry one goat and he farted, how about two!!! she asked me to take care of myself, dress well and be strong as she always knows me.

  • It’s so tough, I feel like I am just surviving, not enjoying a real life, everything I cared about, except my daughter, is gone and I am forced to keep going working in a country I dont want to be in on a job I dont care about and I am always tired with no time left to start something of my own. Financial worries and worries about the future are constant. My little girl does bring so much joy and love so I keep going, I just wish for her a happy mom, I hope some day our lives are going to be ok. Luckily she is happy and healthy. I am thankful for our health.

    Being a single mom, full time, no financial aid of father, it is the hardest thing I ahve ever done. I feel enjoying motherhood was in a way take from me, starting when he cheated and abandoned me while I was pregant.

    Best luck to you all.

    • I feel you Junglechump. Your situation is not easy. Still, having a lovely daughter who brings you joy is invaluable. Enjoy being a mother, enjoy the day,it is your day. He has nothing to do with this day, he is just an asshole. Being that asshole, it is only good he is gone. Happy mothers day dear.

  • Happy Nurturer’s Day to all the women and men who read this blog, who are the sane,stable,emotionally present parents in their children’s lives !

  • My XH has taken the girls camping, and they are supposed to be back in time to do something with me on Sunday for Mother’s day- I won’t rely on it, even when he doesn’t have an ulterior motive he is always late. My younger daughter, who is ten, bought presents at the school sale and had to go to enormous lengths to hide them when I picked her up- she’s so funny. I worry that she is taking on the job of looking after me- she is the one saying ” Mummy has a headache, you need to keep quiet” to her older sister( I have osteothritis of my neck + fibromyalgia + migraines). yesterday she asked ” what was the highlight of your month, Mummy” which is a variation of what I ask them about their day- and I couldn’t come up with anything, it’s been a bit of a slog. i should have said ” You both are the highlight of my day every day” and I will say that on Sunday, even if I only see them for half an hour while XH fidgets in the background. On Sunday morning I am going to have breakfast with my mother’s ashes- when my dad sent an email saying he presumed no one wanted them and the crematorium would keep them I said no.My mum was a difficult person but she loved me and I want to know where she is. The kids decorated her plastic urn with Sharpie pictures of the things she used to like, like cups of coffee, birds, trees, and we move her urn round the house so that she can see different views. Sometimes we put her out in the garden. I am well aware that this is regarded as odd, and I don’t care. Happy Mother’s day to everyone, and may it bring nothing but happiness- it wasn’t meant to make anybody feel bad

    • Take pics of the urn in all her places like that gnome on Travelocity. It is not disrespectful if you do it with regard to the container and her memory. Take your mother places (don’t forget to bring her back) and make it a spirited adventure. Not quite the same but I have my favourite kitty’s ashes in a wooden box and she is front and center in some candid shots. Brings a smile to me and my sons’ faces. Makes us laugh at the current furbabies when they sit and preen by her.

  • I don’t know what’s more of a mindfuck the ones who don’t bother or the ones who did. My cheater was in the buying me stuff and taking me out for special occasions. I know have no clue if any of that shit was real. He seemed to be happy when we did all these things together as a family but I’ll never know that now. I have to now write off the last 2 years from D-day in Jan as being a lie which is most of my child’s life. One of his reasons for leaving was that he didn’t think I wanted him from when our DS was 6 months old. We did so much together in that time which to me meant everything but too him he was just lying through it all.

    • Pregnant chump I am sorry. I know how you feel. It seems like everything before D-Day was a lie or wasn’t real. Moments that meant so much to you are now overshadowed by nasty declarations like “I was never happy” or “I was miserable from day two”. Invalidating the most sacred times you share together is just a way for the cheater to legitimize their infidelity. As long as that dialogue repeats in their head, they can continue to cheat relatively guilt free. Otherwise they have to live in reality which is looking themselves in the mirror and saying “I did this. I destroyed my family, whom did not deserve any of this.” His claim that he thought you didn’t want him is pathetic. You’re busy with an infant. Instead of stepping up to the plate, putting his own needs aside; he played the poor pitiful me dance.
      My husband did the same thing. I was in your shoes a year ago. Men who leave their pregnant wife’s are certainly a horse of another color. We are at our most vulnerable. And with this vulnerability, we are left to care for our young children alone. It’s one thing to keep it together for your child when he is in such formative years, but to do so when you’re pregnant is truly a feat… I can say I am a stronger person for it. Cheater is back in the house, but I’m working on an exit strategy every day.
      Happy Mother’s Day to you. Big hugs and please k ow we are here for you?

  • I’m happy I don’t have to celebrate my covert narc’s MIL, who was the QUEEN BEE of covert narcissism herself.

    Only when I went to her and my own mother for help, did the claws finally come out.

    But not before the tears, and projecting her own experience of her current partner cheating on her… and saying to me “why don’t these men value what they have at home?”

    To dropping me like a hot cake a day later.

    Happy I don’t have to celebrate her anymore. Her shit was off-the-wall barbed-wire monkey Mum madness – which I didn’t mean in the middle of the infidelity ILYBINILWYAM shit-storm her POS son created.

    My own Mum on the other hand flew across the country and didn’t eat for 3 days because she was wildly packing up my house while I was catatonic with grief. Thanks MUM!

  • I think I speak for many men when I say: single moms are strong, and strong women are attractive. Don’t ever think that being a single mom forecloses future relationships if and when that’s what you want. It will not scare away any man worth having in your life.

    When I remarried, it was to a single mom. Best. Decision. Ever.

  • First Mother’s Day after my divorce (6 months ) and 9
    Months (DDay). Ex brought the kids to the ex in laws fanily dinner , as we used to have for the last 19 years . I have decided for now not to celebrate mothers day as it brings back too many memories of 19 years of them spent with the large extended family dinners, I have also gone no contact for 6 months with the ex and his family Altho they very occasionally and rarely send me text messages on general stuff. Still not at meh yet but working towards it day by day …

  • I’m delighted when Mother’s Day rolls around now that cheater is gone. He would always do something to fuck it up – pout, “forget”, be late, whatever he could do to make it miserable, much like he did every day. I don’t care if my daughter gets me a card or gift, it’s just nice to be together and hang out without cheatface making it miserable for everyone.

    Happy Mother’s Day everyone!!

  • I bought dollar store cups (8 for $1) and 6 for $2 pink vinca flowers, and I bought a small bag of dirt. My 3rd grade class was THRILLED to make a little potted plant for their moms and stepmoms. Total cost for me was around $20, but they were all just very glad to get to do that. We made homemade cards, too.

    • Thank you, Twitching!

      I discovered a surprise in my son’s backpack because of a teacher like you.

      Your teaching goes way beyond the classroom and we single moms are grateful!

    • Thank you, Twitching!
      I discovered a surprise in my son’s backpack because of a teacher like you.
      Your teaching goes way beyond the classroom and we single moms are grateful!

      This!
      It was my 1st mother’s Day too without cheater ex/Mr. Runswithhookers AND my mom.
      The Karma bus came for assclown 2 months ago when he died unexpectedly……(although somehow I feel my mom was driving that bus protecting my son & I from fuckwit)

      My son made a card, small painted vase, and a flower picture made from his own thumb prints. He made breakfast for me with my sister & we were all together which was amazing. There was a section on the card that the kids filled out that asked questions and one was what does your mom always say & my son wrote I love you. Then there was a question that asked when your mom was happiest & he said when I come home. I cried. But at least he knows who the sane parent was & will be for the rest of his life-ME.

      Although I am missing my mom terribly, it was the best mothers day I have had.
      I hope all the rest of you single moms had amazing days as well now that you are cheater free.

  • Cheating, lying, DV giving EH made my weekend special by giving me a letter from his lawyer applying pressure to settle financially and also a certificate to suggest he’ll be starting legal proceedings to try and get nights with the kids (the cynic/realist in me would suggest because I’ve arranged, after over six months of him paying nothing, for the government to be his conscience and get child support from this salary, and having kids over for nights would reduce his payment amount). Oh and littlie may be verging on some tummy bug- complaining her tummy was sore last night after day with EH, who apparently had something. If he has made her sick….thank goodness the Disney-dad rabbit pet ate through schmoopie and his fridge cord yesterday (without getting electrocuted). That rabbit is such a well-trained operative!

  • I’ll join the little sub-thread of this conversation that celebrates No Longer Having to Deal With the Toxic In-Law Dance on Holidays.

    Mother’s Day was when Whiny, Passive-Aggressive Man Child could show his true talents (for being whiny, passive-aggressive, and childish). It would go like this:

    Maybe two weeks before Mother’s day, XMIL would call to find out what her sons had planned for her for the day. (If she did not call to set things in motion, would either of them had bothered to plan anything? Who knows).

    WP-AMC would start to whine. He would call his brother, leave a message.

    Brother would not return call.

    After about a week, XMIL would start to phone back. Since Brother had not yet returned call, WP-AMC would not call mother back, since he and brother had not yet made plans.

    As the day got closer, XMIL would become more upset and start leaving more emotional messages. WP-AMC would get more upset and freaked out but:

    he would not call his brother back, because of pent-up resentment about how Brother never does his fair share of planning and taking care of mother.

    he would not call his mother back and reassure her that they would do SOMETHING that day, just to stop her from worrying.

    Finally, sometime on Saturday, XMIL would do something that would break the ice–cry or say something particularly pathetic about how she was neglected and nobody loved her. WP-AMC would FINALLY CALL HIS BROTHER BACK. They would make some last minute plan to take her out to lunch at one of the few places that still had tables. There would be crying (from her) and yelling and resentment (from them).

    So, by the time they got around to taking XMIL out on the actual day, they were all mad at one another and were harboring resentments that went back decades. Any pleasure had been sucked out of the day by all the build-up and bad feelings and finger-pointing over Whose Fault it Was. No one, at any time, gave XMIL a gift, a card, a flower, or even said Happy Mother’s Day to her.

    Now, I did not much like my XMIL–she was a cold woman in a lot of ways, and there’s a reason her sons are so emotionally stunted. But she was a single mom, the parent who didn’t abandon them, so she deserved some respect and gratitude. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her as this insane little charade rolled out, time and again. And not just on Mother’s Day, but every freaking holiday–Birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving.

    It really shows the cruelty of passive-aggressivness–sure, we’ll take you out for this special holiday, but do it in a way that makes sure you feel abandoned and unloved, and that no one has any fun at all. So glad I am out of that shitshow!

  • Whereas I have the ex-MIL who is awesome. While it was rocky when I first separated from Ex, now we are back to having the same easy, respectful relationship we had previously. I don’t involve her in matters concerning Ex and she doesn’t interfere.

    I bought her a Mother’s Day card that says “even though you didn’t give birth to me you’re still fucking awesome.”

    I know she will kill herself laughing. I’m very lucky in the MIL stakes.

  • I was married for a long time to a guy who slowly grew to trash my worth. Typical, surely, of those who eat cake. Years passed and I began to recognize that ex made very clear choices, on where he spent his time (and money), on whether he was engaged or not, on whether he chose to celebrate or not, on whether he spent time with family or not. IMHO, the disordered have no problem fucking over those who care about them, they choose because Life is about their selfish needs. It’s easy to see this now and so many exes here are only minimally involved in their children’s/families’ lives. Ex was so disengaged that even when I told him what I wanted he would go out of his way to NOT give it to me. Holidays, any special occasion really, were a challenge then, but I did everything I could to make them good. In spite of that, most holidays felt lacking, incomplete, joyless. Withholding. Looking back, the best moments of my marriage were those years I spent at home, “holding down the fort,” and spending precious moments and time with my kids. All the little things. Watching them at practice. Picking them up from school. Talking in the car. Spending days in the pool. Visiting family. Those memories are my best and what I hold onto. So I guess we celebrate each other doing our most simple things. All three kids are millenials, heavy on the experiences (not stuff) so, this year, we will be celebrating birthdays, new jobs, Mother’s Day, and life, in June, we are all vacationing together. A shout out ❤️! to CL, and CN Chump Moms (and Dads) cause we are the ones getting love done!

    • Drew,
      YOU are mighty.
      I always love to read your posts. They are inspiring, and I am sure really help and give hope to young struggling chumps!
      Happy Mother’s Day to a wonderful Mother and outstanding Lady! YOU.
      I agree with you about making each day as special as possible with our loved ones.
      Each day is a gift wrapped with heartstrings. We get to unwrap them the best way we know how!
      ((Hugs))

      • Yes. Each moment together is a blessing. My kids are young adults now and busy but we are always planning….
        Before my marriage imploded, we almost lost our son in an accident. When he survived, a miracle to be sure, I realized, again, how lucky we were, to be able to have this child in our lives. I don’t stress any more trying to prove to ex how lucky he was to have family. Like many here I too struggle with FOO issues, parents who were beat up by life, who could not celebrate little moments, who lived inauthentically, but I am learning to do what is best for me and mine. I recognize I can’t fix everything. Life is fragile and my heart and love go out to those who are no longer able to spend time with those they love.

  • True confessions…I didnt see any of my kids yesterday…2 live far away. One of them responded to a computer tech 911 text from me the night before and the other texted me spontaneously. Launching them into adulthood was a Herculean feat and Im glad they are out there, even if they live so far away that I cant reel them back on Mothers Day …trust me, Im good.

    Daughter lives 40 miles away but is a bit of a workaholic and that is who she is and Im OK with that too. She was in the right place at the right time yesterday because a coworker melted down trying to work despite his mother being dead. D coached him on how to be a server on days like that. Not a bad thing to remember, your restaurant server on Mothers or Fathers Day might be working to pay rent but might also have dead parents…kindness (and generous tips) would go a long way.

    • Unicornomore,
      Just reading thru some posts and read your’s.
      I see from it, that your children are kind, like their Mother.
      They are a credit to you.
      Sleep well.
      ((((Hugs))))
      (Our children mean the world to us)!

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