How Not to %*#@ Up Mother’s Day
Here’s the thing. Being a mom – it’s amazing. It is truly the greatest thing that has ever happened in my life and I wouldn’t trade it for a single second. That being said – it’s hard. It comes at you from all sides, and keeps you constantly just trying to keep up. It’s emotional, physical, mental, and unlike any other relationship, job, or challenge you can experience.
So, on this one day that recognizes this aspect of our lives that is unique and special and challenging and life-changing and more important than anything else we’ve ever done, please do your best not to screw it up. Trust me – it’s worth your time to put in a little extra effort.
Want specifics? Great! Here you go.
Let her sleep in.
By this, I mean make sure the alarm is off, then get up with the kids and do whatever it takes to keep things quiet. If you have to, leave the house. Hit up the park or go for a walk or take them to breakfast. Do whatever it takes to give her that extra sleep. And if she is still sleeping when lunch rolls around? More power to her.
Do some cleaning.
While she’s sleeping, feel free to look around the house and see what needs to be done. Unload the dishwasher, straighten up the kids’ rooms, clean the bathroom. Waking up to a clean house is way better than flowers or chocolate.
But gifts are cool, too.
Don’t feel limited by the options at the store with the big signs reminding you “Mother’s Day is May 14th!” You know this woman and what she likes better than the marketers who want to sell you cheesy cards and overpriced jewelry. What gets her excited? What does she collect? What makes her smile? Maybe she loves sneakers or silly cat figurines. Maybe she’d love to have a waffle maker or a new weight set. Maybe she’d go crazy for tickets to a concert or a night out with her friends. Make it happen.
But you don’t have to spend a lot.
Celebrating Mother’s Day in general means that there is at least one kid involved, so your budget might be pretty tight. That’s alright. There are plenty of gifts that don’t cost a thing. A heartfelt card in which you detail all the reasons that you’re happy she’s the mom to your offspring. A custom playlist for her to listen to when she’s working out. A promise to watch the kids next weekend so she can have a night out with her best friends. A day when you take on planning meals and events and she just gets to go along for the ride. Heading outside with a friend to snap some pictures of your family for the wall.
Motherhood doesn’t begin when you give birth and it doesn’t end – ever.
If your wife or partner is pregnant, she’s a mother. Celebrate her. If your wife or partner was pregnant, but miscarried, she’s a mother. Acknowledge her feelings and the pain she inevitably feels on this day. If you are waiting for your adoption to be finalized, she’s a mother. If you wonder whether you should do something for her, listen to that voice that suggested it. All moms deserve to be recognized.
If you have a friend who is a single parent or a cousin who lost her only child years ago, they’re still moms and would love to hear from you. A quick note to acknowledge them would be a beautiful gesture. This includes your own mom.
But it’s not all about your mom.
Yes, you’ve always gone to brunch with your mom your whole life. Guess what? There’s a new mom now that is your new focus. She's your partner in this parenting thing, so while she's not “your” mom, it's still on you to think about her on this day. So talk to her about plans before you book that table. She might not want to spend her morning getting the kids to behave and listening to her MIL talk about how lucky she is to have such a great husband. Call your mom, tell her how awesome she is, and how much you’d like to take her out next weekend if you need to, because this day no longer belongs to her alone.
And it’s not about the kids.
Yes, they made her a mother. She loves them more than she’s ever loved anything in life. That being said, this isn’t the day to cater to them. Believe me – every day is kids’ day. Remind them of this fact. Help them write cards for her. Ask if they’d like to pick out gifts. Show them by example just how important she is to you and to the family. Throughout their lives, but especially while they're little, you can be the example for them of how to treat their mother.
Just make it about her.
When it comes down to it, nobody can really tell you the right way to celebrate this holiday, including me. Maybe she loves flowers and chocolates and hates sleeping in. Maybe you’ve got a cleaning lady and the house is already spotless. Maybe she has told you she isn’t interested in celebrating Mother’s Day. Maybe she loves your annual brunch with your mom. That’s cool. You should do what works for you. her. As long as it’s all about her, you’re doing alright.
Moms – chime in please! – what would be your ideal Mother’s Day?