14 Things To Do On Mother's Day If It's Not Something You Celebrate

For many families, Mother's Day means bagel brunches and flowers, shopping trips and homemade gifts — but, like many holidays, the occasion isn't entirely universal, or celebrated by everyone. Whether you don't celebrate Mother's Day because you have a complicated relationship with the mother figures in your life or because you've experienced some losses that make the day feel a little lonely for you (or because your family isn't so into the Hallmark holidays), it is completely understandable that you might be looking to plan ahead for some activities that have absolutely nothing to do with motherhood. For some ideas, I've compiled this list of things to do on Mother's Day if it's not something you celebrate.

It's challenging any time you opt to do something different than what seemingly everyone else is doing, so if you're feeling a bit out of the loop on May 13, take comfort in the fact that there are plenty of things you can do to make the day all your own. And honestly, if none of these ideas feel like the right fit, there's absolutely no reason that you shouldn't give yourself permission to spend the day on the couch napping and mindlessly scrolling through your DVR.

Take A Vacation

While some families might go away for Mother's Day weekend, it's not a super hot time for travel, so if you want to get away from the holiday hoopla, book yourself some plane tickets and enjoy a little down time. Grab some friends or your S.O. if they're free, or — better yet — take the weekend all for yourself.

Say Thank You To A Woman Who Has Been Influential In Your Life

If Mother's Day isn't your thing, that doesn't mean it's not a great opportunity to reach out to other special women. Send a thank you note to a teacher who taught you to be passionate about reading or leave some cookies for the neighbor who is always available with a listening ear. Mother's Day could also be the perfect excuse to celebrate your favorite women... your girlfriends!

Buy Yourself A Present

Traffic at stores and malls should be pretty light on Mother's Day, so why not treat yourself to something that makes you feel good? Think of it as a way to show self-appreciation for all of the hard work you've put in to get you where you are today.

Get Moving

Maybe Mother's Day brings up a lot of weird feelings for you, and if that's the case, raising your heart rate and getting some sweat flowing might be just what you need.

Marathon A New Show

If working out sounds like the opposite of what you feel like doing, then lean into the lazy and set the day aside for catching up on Hulu or Netflix. You'll laugh, you'll cry — you might even just fall asleep on the couch.

Try Something New

Have you been looking for the perfect excuse to take a pottery class or try cooking Malaysian food? I think you just found it. If you don't celebrate Mother's Day, look at May 13 as an opportunity to invest in yourself and have a unique experience.

Host A Party

You may not be the only one in your friend group who doesn't observe Mother's Day, and there are definitely people in your circle at work or in your apartment building who live far from home and don't have the means to travel home to be with family. Gather everyone together for a potluck brunch or pizza party. Put the kibosh on mom talk so that none of the guests feel sad, whatever their reason.


Mother's Day happens to fall during spring cleaning season. Challenge yourself to purge a room in your house or apartment so you can give the space a fresh start. A small improvement in the feng shui of your home will leave you feeling ready to tackle life beyond the awkwardness of the occasion.


This day could also be a good one to spend giving back. Research local organizations to find out if there might be opportunities to work with kids who don't have the chance to celebrate Mother's Day with family.

Go To The Movies

Movie theaters are heating up in anticipation of the summer season, and there are plenty of great flicks just waiting to be enjoyed by you over a tub of popcorn or some sour gummy candy. Take yourself or a friend on a movie date. Hey, why not make it a double header?

Run Errands

It's nothing glamorous, but who says May 13 has to be? Use the free weekend time to work through your list of must-dos for the week so you can open up your Monday through Friday schedule for other (preferably fun) things.


This is an especially good idea if Mother's Day comes with a lot of complicated or generally not-so-great feelings for you. Buy yourself a cool new notebook (maybe it's the writer in me, but there's nothing better than a cool new notebook) and some colorful gel pens, tuck yourself in bed under your favorite blanket, and see what kind of words flow.

Pamper Yourself

Many Mother's Day revelers opt to treat Mom to a spa treatment for their special day, but why can't you treat yourself to one? This could be the perfect opportunity to get yourself a facial, massage, pedicure, or — best case scenario — all three.


You and I both know that there's a closet or desk drawer somewhere in your place that's turned into a black hole of despair (aka clutter). Taking some time to declutter will give your physical space and your headspace new life, so go ahead and use the time to cut through the mess.