Learn how to survive.

More than 118 million cards are exchanged each year, according to Hallmark. That’s great for some who love and want to celebrate mom, but what’s to be done for those who live motherless lives, those whose mom has passed, or those who never really had a mother figure? Their best hope is for Mother’s Day to be just another day.

The hope is to have nothing special, to be as plain and ordinary as any other day of the year. The pain to consider what might have been is greater than the desire to hope. If the kids are gone and can’t, or don’t want to come back, mom has gone, or never showed up in life, the best thing is to hope for nothing and that the day passes by without anything spectacular happening.

Just Be

It helps to find peace with what is. You don’t have to try to fix anything. Anxiety builds when you keep trying to fix a relationship that’s broken. It can be useful not to be actively looking for solutions and accept where you are, and where mom is, without trying to fix anything. Be okay with wherever the relationship is. Don’t do. Be. I learned a long time ago, through a lot of trial and error, the beauty of space without doing anything, allows for healing.

Accept Who She Is

When relationships are dysfunctional, there’s hope that mom can learn to be better. The truth is that some moms can’t be better. She can’t, or doesn’t want to be better. She is the person who will always be self-serving and will never grow out of immature stages of want. She desires to be cared for in ways she should have outgrown long ago, but she cannot develop into a better person. She is not capable of maturing into a person who can put anyone’s needs before her own. She is not capable of change. She is who she is. Accept that she will never change.

Create Boundaries

Boundaries are healthy for all relationships. There’s a healthy and necessary give and take. It’s good to help complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses as a way to create balance. It’s also essential to preserve your sanity and your own personal health and well-being. If mom isn’t capable of realizing boundaries and hearing no, then create a physical and emotional distance to protect yourself.

Listen to Your Needs

No one knows what you need better than you do. Listen to your heart and nurture it. Don’t listen to what others tell you what you should and could have done. Let them live their lives in their ways and be true to yourself and your needs. Trying to explain yourself to someone who will never understand only hurts you, creates self-doubt, and wastes energy. Nurture who you are, even if it means letting mom go.

Have Compassion

Give yourself grace. Hurt people hurt people. Mom is hurting too, but making her feel better about her misgivings doesn’t have to put you in danger and at-risk, especially if you have a family of your own that needs to be nurtured in loving ways. If mom is suffering because of the damage she’s caused, it’s not your problem to make it better. It doesn’t say bad things about who you are if you choose not to have mom in your life. You don’t have to be sorry or available to someone who keeps hurting you.

Live not for mom, but for the beautiful, healthy person you are.

Let go of the past and survive.