The truth about Mothers' Day as a single mum.

Debating how much “me-time” you deserve on Mother’s Day? Remember that for some mums, that isn’t even an option.

What do you wake up to on Mother’s Day?

Brightly wrapped gifts presented to you? Breakfast in bed loving prepared by your partner and presented by your kids complete with a wilted rose in a teacup?

5 conversations you need to have with you mum as soon as you can. 

Do you pretend to be thrilled by the dressing gown and slippers while silently seething at the memory of when your husband bought his mother a similar style?

(And wrapped in the same paper too!)

Have you been joining in the chorus of voices in Facebook mother’s groups complaining about how all you want for Mother’s Day is some “me-time” (and a decent present to boot).

Shauna and her Daughter.

I get it, I do. Mother’s Day is the one special day of the year when it is YOUR day, when nobody else should get a look in. You deserve to be pampered and appreciated. Spoilt. You deserve a special day.

Except, for many women, it isn’t special.

For many mums, Mothers’ Day is pretty much just another day. They get up, they tend to the kids, they just have a day.

A day that many secretly wish might just be a little more special, but when there is no one around to make it special it becomes just another day of getting on with it.

Throughout Australia there are 780,000 single mothers. Some of them, of course, have older children, some have new partners, or live in adult family, and some have ex-partners who are thoughtful and kind.

And then there are the ones who don’t. Then there are the ones who have escaped an abusive relationship. The ones who wake up in a sweat forgetting for an instant they are safe. The ones abandoned, alone.

The ones who get no breakfast in bed. The ones who get no gifts. The ones who get no “me time”.

Their kids can’t cook, can’t shop and certainly can’t leave.

These women have children too small to really understand that it is a special day. They’ve been told by their pre-school that it’s Mothers’ Day but that it stopped there.


There may have been a pasta necklace or a paper rose but the brightly filled catalogues from department stores of coffee machines and perfumes are nothing but lining for the cat litter.

Shauna and her family at home.

For these women, Mothers’ Day is pretty much like any other day except they have to answer endless questions about whether they’ve been “spoilt” that day.

I’ve been there. I’ve had Mothers’ Days when you almost forget it isn’t just a regular old Sunday in May. I’ve had Mothers’ Days when the kids squabble and the rain crashes down and your Facebook news feed is a constant reminder of what you don’t have.

And then you remember what you do have.

What I am here to say to single mums is that right now you might not feel it, and while you might be dreading this Sunday know that you are lucky. Know that while you may not have the shiny gifts or hallmark cards – but you have your kids, and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

You are actually a lucky single mum. Lucky because you can hold them close and breathe in their scent and close your eyes and think: I. Have. This.

Lucky because you can rejoice in the fact that you are together and that you have this day.  That your children are safe and happy and cherished by so many.

The lucky single mum can ignore the Facebook posters who reduce the day into a competition of what they DID get, and how much time alone they DIDN’T get. The lucky single mum can rise above that, because what Mothers’ Day is really about is simply just your kids, isn’t it?

Shauna with her beautiful boys.

Of course we have to acknowledge that not all mothers with partners ARE spoilt on Mothers’ Day.

Some have partners who work, or travel, some have children sick or in hospital. Some may be dealing with their own grief or loss and find Mothers’ Day too difficult, too raw, too close.

For these women, Mothers’ Day isn’t a celebration but an event they would rather push aside.

This Mothers’ Day, I want to ask the lucky ones among us to stop and hold our happy healthy wonderful children tight and remember luck. All mothers truly are the lucky ones.

Here are some other ways to help out Mums not so fortunate on Mother’s Day:

Breast Cancer Institute Mother’s Day appeal

World Vision Mother’s Day appeal

Dame Elizabeth Murdoch Rose’s Mother’s Day appeal