Above: Josie Parata of SMS Lighthouse (centre) with Nicole (right) & Hope 103.2’s Laura Bennett.
When Mother’s Day rolls around each year, there are many single mothers who struggle to celebrate.
It may be the lack of a supportive partner that leaves them feeling alone, or the fact that they have to organise their own celebrations. Some may even feel abandoned as the kids spend time with their father, on an access weekend that can’t be adjusted.
Josie Parata understands all of these feelings; she’s a single mother herself and founder of SMS Lighthouse – a support group for single mums and women escaping domestic violence.
But despite the challenges of solo parenting, Josie’s determined not to let it get her down on Mother’s Day.
In an interview with Hope 103.2’s Laura Bennett (see below), she said she takes a ‘chin-up’ attitude and encourages others to do the same.
“The big thing is to be predetermined that you’re not going to let Mother’s Day be a downer [just] because it’s maybe not the same as Mother’s Days with the whole family together,” she said.
Josie helps her children to take ownership of the celebration, and encourages other women to find ways to get their kids excited too.
“We go down on a Thursday night to a two dollar shop,” she said. “I give [the kids] $5 each and they go and choose their own gift. I stay out. They are excited at the fact that they get to choose something for me. Then they come home and they wrap it up, and in the morning they bring it in and give it to me.”
For mothers who don’t have access to their children on Mother’s Day, Josie suggests finding an alternative way to enjoy the day.
“It is about us mums making a decision on how we carry ourselves,” Josie said. “If we let that ‘poor me’ thing come in, it’s going to ruin the rest of the day for us.”
If Your Children Aren’t With You On Mother’s Day
For mothers who won’t see their children on Mother’s Day, some ideas for how to spend the day include:
- Treating yourself to a movie
- Finding a girlfriend to spend time with
- Taking a train ride to the beach or the city
- Setting aside a budget for a morning’s shopping
- Having a day out with your own mum or mother-figure
- Spending some quiet time in a favourite café or park
- Organise lunch for the single or childless women in your circles
- Bake or make a gift for another mum who’s doing it tough
Josie Parata is a Christian and finds that church services on Mother’s Day are very encouraging for mums.
“I would put on my best shoes and get up and go to church,” she said. “I think most churches will acknowledge that it’s Mothers Day. You may get to stand up and they may cheer you.”
“I think the big thing is to just make a decision that you’re not going to let Mother’s Day be a ‘poor me’ day.”