Mum-less on Mother’s Day? It’s still time to celebrate!


How exactly do you celebrate Mother’s Day without your Mum? JOY GELDARD-SMITH has a few ideas.

I consider myself to have lucked out in the Mum department. Not only did I get to spend 20 years with her, she was awesome. Sadly, child bereavement is more common than people might imagine, with 1 in 29 children of school age being bereaved – that’s one in every class.(1) Having left school by the time I lost her makes me feel lucky (even if it didn’t at the time).

That’s not the only reason you might not have a Mum or know your Mum, though, but is it reason enough not to celebrate Mother’s Day? I don’t think so. I think we can view Mother’s Day as a celebration of all kinds of mothering.

When I was younger we went to church and on Mothering Sunday we would be given bunches of daffodils to give to our Mums. I’m one of three children, and my Mum would say she didn’t need three bunches of daffodils, so we used to race to see who could get them to her first. She’d then direct the other two to go and give our flowers to someone else. Usually, this was someone older who didn’t have children at the church, but who really appreciated being thought of and given a small bunch of daffodils.

I lost my Mum over 20 years ago, and I’ve come to appreciate her even more in that time. Part of it is because I’ve got to know more people – and their Mums – since then, and I’m more aware that there are Mums out there who aren’t as loving or kind or incredibly patient as she was. But it’s also because of the person she was. We recycled back in the days when you used to have to go to a bottle bank or take your aluminium cans to a large supermarket. She thought that experiences were more important than things. We didn’t always have much but Mum was steadfast in giving to charity no matter what. She almost always had a joke, mostly a pretty groan-worthy one, but she knew that and tried to make you smile anyway.

So, how do I celebrate? I try to do something I think my Mum would approve of, and I usually try and involve my siblings. For Mother’s Day in the past, we’ve all met up and had a family meal together, just to remind ourselves of the common thread that we are a family. Sometimes I will send them gifts I think she would approve of, that are usually charity-related:

  • I’ve twinned my siblings’ toilets using which provides a toilet for the 1 in 3 people in the world that don’t have access to them.
  • You can also twin your tap to provide clean water to people who don’t currently have it.
  • I’ve taken out £15 loans at which funds entrepreneurs in developing countries – and you get your money back!
  • I’ve donated to which gives nutritious school meals to children in developing countries. This one is particularly apt because my Mum worked as a dinner lady for a while!

OK, I hear you say, but what if my Mum wasn’t some charitable social warrior because she had her hands full with us kids? Fair enough! I get tired out just being an Aunty. And that’s where my list of other ideas starts:

  • Make a ‘Mum for the day’ voucher for a Mum you know, so that you will give her a break and look after the children for a few hours.
  • Do something that your Mum liked doing – get your hair done, have a facial, or run a marathon (although don’t try that on day one!).
  • Make a scrapbook or photoboard of some of your memories of your Mum, and hang it up where you can see it every day.
  • Play or sing her favourite song, or watch her favourite movie.
  • Cook or eat her favourite meal or signature dish, or a meal that you enjoyed as a family.
  • If your Mum was never seen without her lippy, think of someone who you could treat to a new lipstick… or earrings, or trainers, or whatever your Mum loved.
  • If you have an Aunty, do something for them. Even just a quick call or text lets them know you’re thinking about them.
  • If you didn’t know your Mum, find a friend or relative who is a Mum and spend some time with them.

Mother’s Day is a great time to celebrate Mums in all their forms, even if we wish they were different. I know people who haven’t spoken to their Mums in years, and I still encourage them to celebrate Mother’s Day with a Mum who is in their life (whether they’re the same age or are different generations). 

Let’s face it, Mums are amazing, and they’re everywhere, so grab a Mum and celebrate this Mother’s Day.

  • Child Bereavement site states 1 in 29 children between 5-16 years old has been bereaved of a parent. Source:
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