Another Mother's Day in the books! My daughters pointed out that this may be the last one where they're home for a few years since they'll be heading off to college in the fall. So with 18 of these under my belt and a tribe of moms that give me their MDay downloads, I thought I'd put together a few Mother's Day words of advice for families for next year while it's fresh on my brain. Oh, and this lady is hilarious.
First I should say that for those that have lost a mother or child, this can be a very sad and reminiscent day, and for that, I am very sorry. For all of the full-time moms and working moms and those in the thick of parenting triumphs and disasters right now, let's roll up our sleeves and take a look under the hood at this tricky May Sunday coined "Mother's Day." When Anna Jarvis first came up with this concept, she was focused on the true sentiment of appreciation for our mothers, and not the commercialization that it has ballooned into. And I think this holds true today, that we mama's can be simple, but you still need to be smart in your approach.
How do moms really want to be celebrated on this day?
- LISTEN to what moms say. Sounds simple, but sometimes you all are missing profound hints that occur in everyday life. Don't go straight for the flowers..she might not even like flowers?! Especially when she will have to water them each day and then toss them in the compost and clean the jar herself 5 days later. Notice a way that you could make her life easier or better. Holes in running socks? Get her a great new pair for $15 and you could custom-make her a playlist and block an hour where no family members will bother her for her next run. Make her a healthy power smoothie afterward and remember to clean the blender and put the ingredients away. Invite a few of her friends to join so she can be with her tribe. At our house, my car was really dirty so I started cueing up those hints a few days prior---viola-- a sunny Mother's Day brings a freshly detailed car! And I reallllly wanted the power washing to not get postponed another weekend- easy! This is the year my kids all wrote an actual heartfelt paragraph in my card filled with gratitude, kindness, and humor because they know their words and actions mean the most to me. Don't be scared to mention what you want moms, not everyone is sharp on de-coding hints.
- REMOVE the monotony. Make life easier for the mom (yes, this requires you to do some work). Think of what this lady does every day, and make sure she doesn't have to do it on Mother's Day. Breakfast in bed doesn't win any prizes when you trip over laundry on your way to take your plate to the kitchen and there's a sinkful of dishes and a messy counter. If she works at her laptop all day, keep that thing shut and drive her to a pedicure appointment you brilliantly scheduled the week prior. If you have little kids, give her a four-hour reprieve from said beautiful angels, (and don't let her come back to a mess). This Dad has it dialed in. When kids are up in our grill all of the time, we crave peace. A little later when they're teens and never around, we want their time. I asked my kids for a 4-hour time block without technology where they would do what I want to do (perhaps a hike?), without complaining. That's free. And priceless.
- No COMPLAINING. I can say this now that I finally have it figured out after some misses along the way. The key, mamas, is to take ownership of your own destiny. If you have a inkling that your family will forget Mother's Day or do something lame, remember, it's your day- do what YOU want. Plan a hike or a walk or a shop hop and lunch. Get up early and go do something fun, whatever that is to you... even reading a book in a park, and catch up with your family for dinner. Tell them what you'd like them to make or pick up for you to eat. I know so many moms who have expertly planned birthdays and outings and driven to a million practices, but we need to remember that kids' (and spouses?) brains don't have our foresight so cue it up for them to avoid disappointments.
As a wise father once said, "If mama's not happy, nobody's happy." Feel free to file this away for Mother's Day 2022. Or perhaps just celebrate your own random Mother's Days throughout the year. Now THAT would really make her smile. :-)