Don’t get [sun]burned this Mother’s Day (when adult kids cut parents off)

When adult kids cut parents off:
Don’t get [sun]burned by Mother’s Day

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

when adult kids cut parents offA few days ago, I learned of an annual event called “World Naked Gardening Day.” Held the first Saturday in May, the event encourages people to tan where the sun doesn’t shine (usually, anyway).  The event that encourages getting as naked as a jaybird in the garden doesn’t (yet) pull at heartstrings to make a commodity of the holiday. That isn’t true of another well-known holiday which, here in the United States, also falls in May—Mother’s Day.

Those who follow this blog know the serious tone of my work to help when adult kids cut parents off. However, once in a blue moon, I can’t help getting a little cheeky. So, please bare with me as I use World Naked Gardening Day to expose a little more of that now.

Mother’s Day when adult kids cut parents off

When Anna Jarvis first founded Mother’s Day, she didn’t intend it to become commercialized. The naked truth is that marketers realized Mother’s Day was a gold mine for their bottom line. Especially for greeting card companies, candy makers, and jewelers who cash in on the day. Knowing that may help you to cope as the holiday draws near each year.

While it’s nice to be recognized, we all know that a duty-bought bouquet or a one-line text doesn’t do motherhood justice. As mothers of estranged adult children, you have some skin in the game as to how you respond—even if an estranged adult child reaches out.

Don’t get caught with your pants down. Have a plan!

when adult kids cut parents offWhen adult kids cut parents off, it’s important to prepare ahead for situations that cause parents pain. For many of us, Mother’s Day qualifies. Below, I’ve stripped down to the basics of getting by.


  • While plans help, it’s okay to recognize your heartache. Mother’s Day can arrive like a bunch of wilted flowers on a day you would rather skip. You may feel sad or angry as you mourn the loss and wish things were different. Even gardeners who wear their birthday suits know that a sad, wilting, and maybe wrinkled plant needs attention in order to thrive. Your heart can be like that. Read on about tending to your heartache.



  • Part of your plan must be looking ahead. I hope you’ll get my book, Done With The Crying, and take the time to do the included exercises that focus on your emotional healing and future happiness. When adult children cut parents off, those who have processed the pain and strengthened themselves will be better prepared if or when any reconciliation does occur. It may be the night before Mother’s Day now, but tomorrow will come. Will the world be your oyster?


This Mother’s Day, clothe yourself with preparation by reading through the articles linked above. You can find more about how to cope when adult children cut parents off by using the site’s search box and inputting key words of your choice (Mother’s Day, holidays, etc).

In all Seriousness

I hope you were not offended by this blog post. I don’t typically let it all hang out with silliness. If you look past the puns, my real message is visible to the naked eye. As a mother whose adult son estranged himself, I understand your pain. I hope that this Mother’s Day and every day, you will allow yourself to laugh. It’s good medicine.

Related reading

Mother’s Day 2019 radio interview with Sheri McGregor



Join the newsletter

Pine 300x225

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

32 thoughts on “Don’t get [sun]burned this Mother’s Day (when adult kids cut parents off)

  1. Jill

    Thank you for the post. And it’s good to include some light-heartedness in such a difficult subject. Much appreciated. I have ordered your book and am looking forward to it arriving any day now.

    1. rparents Post author

      Thank you, Jill! I never want anyone to feel like I’m making light of their feelings. I know how awful it is.

      Hugs to you!

      Sheri McGregor

  2. Aleda Tysver

    Thank you for your thoughts and encouragement as another Mother’s Day approaches. ❤

  3. Linda B.

    Thank you, Sheri. It’s only been 3 years for me but it feels like 10. Your book and posts offer comfort and help me make the best of a horrible situation. God bless you.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Linda,

      I’m sorry you have faced this horror. I’m glad to be of some help, and appreciate your kindness. Happy Mother’s Day. It’s YOUR day, and you really do deserve to treat yourself well (every day!).

      Sheri McGregor

  4. Michelle

    Thank you!!! I appreciate your words of encouragement this morning. This is my third Mother’s Day without my daughter. Your words brought an unexpected smile to my face today.

    1. rparents Post author

      You’re welcome, Michelle. I worried people might believe I was making light of their feelings but took a chance. So glad you smiled!

      Sheri McGregor

  5. Krista K.

    Happy Mother’s Day, Sheri. Thank you for the light hearted approach we need today! Adding to the difficulty, I miss my mother who passed away last year just before Mother’s Day–as much as our son loved her and she loved all our kids, never a word from him about her passing. I’ll offer a little twist on the “sun-burned” phrase–since it’s one of our sons who did the turning away, I’ll refer to it as having a case of “Sonburn”. Really hurts but not lethal. Life does go on (always with prayers for healing & reconnection) and our appreciation of those who still love us and reassure us, deepens. Love & hugs to you all.

    1. rparents Post author

      Hi Krista,

      My condolences on your mother’s passing. I still miss my mom after all these years (almost 28). I love that: SONburn. I actually typed it that way accidentally when I first did the article! Thank you for sharing that here, and your positive thoughts.

      Hugs, Sheri McGregor

    2. Hope G

      sonburn…what an interesting way to express your ouch! I am in need of support. How do I join this group? It doesn’t show a place to register. Memorial Day is upon us…and I will feel my adult sons absence. I am leaning on God and HIS word … rallying around those who love me. I hope to join and have more connections with members. Can you share how to join?

  6. Delwyn W.

    Thank you Sheri,
    This was my first Mother’s Day and not a word from our daughter. We also lost my mother-in-law this week so it’s been a tough day. Your word made me laugh. I’ve read your books and done the workbook. It is a great help. I’ve never felt such pain!!
    I’m so grateful that we’re not alone.

  7. Cynthia H.

    Thank you, Sheri for reaching out today. This is my first Mother’s Day without my beloved daughter who is my only child. The sadness feels overwhelming, especially today, but your posts are a gentle reminder to not only survive but thrive. Your words are truly a saving grace and provide shelter, a “covering.” I received your book in yesterday’s mail. It will go with me to the beach today along with some sunscreen!
    Please do not apologize for the lighthearted puns in your post; they are also a gentle reminder to smile, even during the most challenging of times.
    Thank you again.
    Sending a hug your way,

  8. Lily

    Happy Mother’s Day Sheri. This is the first year without my estranged adult 20 year old son, in my life who I raised basically alone and supported through every aspect of his life. For safety reasons, I had to create boundaries, and he has since decided to live with his father (my ex-husband) who was physically/mentally abusive to me. After reading your book, I am encouraged and have a new enlightenment, that I am not alone, nor am I responsible for my son’s behavior or actions. Even after trying to get him help .
    Thank you for shedding light on this topic, creating a positive support system, and highlighting how life can go on without feelings of guilt or shame.

    1. MusicLife

      Wow! Your story is MINE! Thank you for posting. I joined this group on Mother’s Day (yesterday) . This group and the book are balm on my heart right now. Virtual hug to you.

  9. Renee

    Happy Mother’s Day Sheri. I hope you have a wonderful and blessed day. Thank you for all the support you give us parents with estranged children.

  10. Jean

    Thank you for your words today. This is my third year of being estranged from my only daughter and I cannot stop crying. My granddaughter, ED daughter wrote a beautiful tribute to her mother. I am glad that they are close as my daughter and I once were, but I hurt so bad inside for the way I’’ve been treated. I know I was a good, no great, mother to my daughter. I stood by her through many things that broke my heart. I loved her, perhaps too much and that is probably why the abandonment hurts so very much. Today is particularly difficult for me. I thank you for your encouragement each day.

  11. Diane

    Happy Mother’s Day to all Mom’s out there! I treated myself to a bouquet of mixed flowers. Oh, they are so lovely and my apartment smells wonderful. It’s like I brought spring inside. I used to feel bad hearing about all my friends and neighbors talking about what special things they did or received on Mother’s Day. This year, I thought, “why not treat myself to want I Want?” I would go out to eat but all restaurants are still closed due to COVID-19. I’m staying in my PJ’s longer and will relax and read the Sunday paper. I’ll enjoy my day in my own special way. No more waiting. I wanted for over 25 years for attention from my two estranged adult kids (and now grandkids) and hoping to hear from them. No more. It’s time I create the life I want! You are all in my thoughts.

  12. Judith Tyler

    I am so glad to read your article that discussed the text message issue. This is y first Mother’s Day since my son told me he and his wife no longer want contact with me…although contact has gradually declined since they got together 4 years ago. It so easy to feel alone as if no one could possibly understand. I figured I’d get a Happy Mother’s Day text from my son, but was it sure how to respond. My gut told me I didn’t want to respond immediately. It was nice to see this approach mentioned in the article. I will reply and I will tell him I love and miss him…but I’ll do it later. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    1. Lois

      Hope you all had a peaceful Mother’s Day yesterday. I never got to my email yesterday so didn’t see Sheri’s message till this morning. I’m so grateful for the relationship we still have with our younger son. At least he makes me feel loved and appreciated. He helps ease the pain his brother has caused.

      Please everyone take good care and stay safe and healthy. Love to you all.

  13. Kenlaugh

    Thank you for the light hearted tips for naked gardening. Sounds wonderful but my yard has just became home to 2 hives of honeybees at 20,000 each. I’m laying back letting them do the pollinating for now. Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. rparents Post author

      Hello Kenlaugh,

      Your note made me think of a story I once read about a young mother who always went to church with her children on Sunday. Her husband never went, believing that church was for women and children. The pastor of her church was a young man. He had lots of energy and visited church members regularly. One summer day, this young mom was out hanging laundry to dry. She was wearing a moo-moo type dress, and according to the story, she wore nothing underneath it on the hottest summer days. That day, just as the young pastor was arriving to greet her and her children, a bunch of hornets flew up her baggy dress. She was screaming and getting stung, and whipped the dress off over her head! He helped her and the children to the house, and they slammed the door shut. Of course, the young mother went off to her room to get clothed. Later, around the dinner table, the kids told their dad about the pastor coming to visit … and seeing their mom naked. From that day forward, the husband never missed a Sunday in church.

      LOL. I don’t know the author of the story, and it was much better told by him or her than my summary here. Anyway, sharing a laugh with you. BTW, it’s a good sign that those bees joined your yard. They’re so important to our environment! Some say that a hive taking up residence is a symbol of abundance to come.

      Sheri McGregor

  14. Sandy

    I’ve decided today I’d pay more attention of what I do have and less attention to what I don’t have. My daughters didn’t acknowledge Mother’s Day, no call no nothing, I’ve been on punishment for years, as soon as a request a boundary, then I get double teamed by both. It’s been going on forever, but this time it’s different because I’m different. I will no longer be held hostage by fear of losing them, they’re gone and I’m here. On today, I received several calls/text messages, a morning brunch from a play daughter and flowers from others, and calls from nieces and nephews confirming that I am a good person. I am no longer looking for my children to validate if I was a good mother, I was a good mother, not perfect but I loved them. I realize now, I am more than a mother, I’m a loving Aunt, a loyal friend, a hard worker and encourager with a loving spirit, other people have validated my heart.

    I love my daughters, pray for them every day and wish them the best, however, I leave them to the Lord after all they are His children, I was given the opportunity to raise them and I did a good job, it’s on them to grow up and realize that I’m not the enemy..until then I am going to love being me.. 🙂

    I wish you all a wonderful, bright Mother’s Day! We did our best with that knowledge we had at the time :

  15. Jenny

    Thank you , just knowing I am not alone is so comforting . Learning to take care of my own needs with a positive attitude is healing. Have great friends that I can communicate with to lighten my sadness . Waiting to pick up your book at our book store and move forward in this new chapter of my life .

  16. RiverChic

    So glad I found this site today,so glad I’m not the only mom who is mouning. I miss my son so much.

  17. Susan

    As a single parent, now estranged from both my children, and missing my Mom and Grandmother, I am sorry, but I cannot find any silliness in today’s holiday. I was a Good Mom and I don’t deserve being cast aside without any one explaining Why. My friends tell me I was amazing – I started a Montessori Co-Op, I was a Room Mom, I changed the Virginia Campus Rape Laws when my daughter was assaulted in her dorm … I was there. Always. I feel violated and manipulated and cast aside. I need your site to help me understand.

  18. Kathy

    I cried all day yesterday. This is my second Mother’s Day without my mom. I been praying all week that she could nudge my son to call me. I basically sat on the couch all day waiting for the phone to ring. It has been 12 years since I have seen him, 11 years since I have spoken to him. I, too will have to wait for my grandson to be old enough to hope to meet him.
    I have 2 wonderful daughters nearby and they each have two children. They are my rocks. But with this covid, it has been very hard not being able to be with them to give hugs and kisses and tickles.
    But I too am mystified and hurt moreso that with covid, my son has not reached out to me. I am just heartbroken all over again that he did not call yesterday. I know God has a plan and I pray that I will someday hear from my son.

  19. Joan

    I told my dear husband today that these”Hallmark”
    Holidays bring as much pain as they do joy. While I am grateful for the love I received from 3 of my 4 children, I still grieve the lost relationship with my oldest daughter who has Borderline Personality disorder. I am still struggling to swim to shore, but I
    am ready to start living out of the water. Never in a million years would I treat my darling mother,now 93
    years old, the way I have been treated. I am almost
    70 and still have my mom. I love her to the moon.
    Thanks,Sheri, for your book and guidance to all of us.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Website Protected by Spam Master