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Mother’s Day is a delightful chance to give back to your mother, or the mother of your children, a tiny fraction of all that she gives to those in her care. In fact, we like the idea of honoring all the women who fill your child’s life with love and care. There is enough joy to go around! For the mothers in your life, the best way to make this Mother’s Day the most special, memorable day is to give her the celebration she most wants, no matter what that is. Personally, I am extremely forthright and will tell my husband and daughter precisely what would make me happiest; if your wife or mother is a more reluctant sharer, try to finesse her ideal celebration scenario out of her. More on that later!
In my family, we think of Mother’s Day as a special time to recognize all the women who contribute to raising our daughter. She is delightful, strong, independent, funny... all the things we want our children to be! I have no illusions that I did that all by myself, so grandmas, aunties and her caregiver are all part of our wider celebration of Mother’s Day. Depending on your relationship with these women, feel free to distribute store bought or handmade cards, flowers—we especially love flowering potted bushes that can be planted later, luxurious robes and slippers, or gift certificates for spa services. Spend time with these special women who help make your child who they are in the days leading up to Mother’s Day, so that you can concentrate on your nearest and dearest the day of. Your child-free bestie who happily spends a lot of time with your child or their devoted caregiver will be just as touched by flowers and a drawing on Friday afternoon, so expanding the celebration of Mother’s Day not only saves time on the actual holiday, it spreads the joy over several days, and that is always a win!
Ask what your mom or spouse would like best. If she will answer honestly, then you just have to “make it so.” If she’s more reticent about her personal wants, try asking some leading questions to help you suss out what she would really enjoy. Ask, “What was your favorite Mother’s Day?” or “What was the best Mother’s Day gift you ever gave/received?” Remember to ask these in the weeks leading up to the holiday, not on Thursday evening, or she’ll know what you’re up to! You might ask her about a time she felt especially valued or appreciated, or the time she felt the most loved by you or her children. We know, some women are more traditional and would love nothing more than to be given a particularly pretty cashmere cardigan and be taken out for a nice meal, but as the demands of motherhood change, the things that would help mothers feel appreciated may change, too.
For example, plenty of busy moms are tired. Maybe the mom in your life wants nothing more than sleep and silence. That’s okay. Take a day to answer to the needs and wants of the woman who spends more time than you could ever imagine taking care of others. If you can arrange for her to wake up to a clean house and a meal she didn’t have to plan, purchase or prepare, you’ll be the hero of the hour! This might sound insurmountable, but you can either take the children to a park or play café for a couple of hours to give mom a well-deserved lie-in, or have a sympathetic friend or helpful neighbor take the children while you tidy up and make a meal! If you have lots of resources at your disposal, you can hire someone to take care of all of these services, so even more-money-than-time spouses can get full marks for providing thoughtful, personal Mother’s Day experiences.
If you want to really make her day, after she gets that much needed nap and a clean house, planning a surprise date night for her could really be the icing on the cake! Mothers are constantly making decisions. One way to really surprise her this Mother’s Day is to have a special night out all planned for her, down to the outfit! Surprise her with a brand-new outfit, like a pretty new fit and flare dress or a cotton summer dress. Take her to her favorite restaurant and follow up dinner with a show. Taking the mental pressure off having to choose her outfit, restaurant and entertainment will be a huge relief for her and seeing what efforts you made to make her feel special and celebrated will be a memory for years to come.
Children are naturally very loving and generous. They want to get in on the gifting and the hugging any time a celebration is happening! To make Mother’s Day extra special, facilitate your child’s gift-giving, and put real effort into making it something that Mommy will treasure. A paint-your-own-pottery item, child’s artwork completed on a stretched canvas for hanging, or a plant they have potted themselves are all touching gifts from little hands. You might consider supplementing the hand-made love tokens of the children with a more enduring gift from all of you. Jewelry is always a hit at my house, but items that celebrate the family are particularly appropriate. A personalized doormat or cutting board that honor your family as a whole are touching reminders of what makes her a mother.
Ask the little ones how they would like to celebrate Mommy on Mother’s Day, and try to, no pun intended, rein it in when they say that Mommy wants a pony. This is an excellent opportunity to coach your children on thinking about the needs and wishes of others, appropriate gifting and planning a family party. While Mother’s Day is about the moms, spouses can also use the run-up to Mother’s Day as a special time to bond with children over the preparations and “happy secrets” of surprises and presents.
Make this Mother’s Day extra special for the moms in your life—your mother, your children’s mother, the women who lovingly provide the extra mothering we all sometimes need. Expand the circle of women you and your family honor for Mother’s Day, and try to meet the real needs and wants of busy moms with your Mother's Day gifts and celebration. We know you can make this Mother’s Day the sweet memory any mother would truly treasure.