How to Have a Great Mother’s Day
by Karen Whiting
A mother’s dream of the best Mother’s Day is often a day of peace with no fighting among children, a home that the family (not she) cleaned, and meals ready to eat. It might be more realistic however, once home from church, to simply take a day off from the routine of working, cooking, and even making the bed to enjoy life, since no genie is showing up to do Mom’s work.
Consider how a day of pleasure with the children might consist of being outside, rolling in the grass, gardening, blowing bubbles, having a picnic, or watching a movie. If there’s a beach or park nearby, spending time there to explore nature and be together can be a simple but fun outing. Capture the memories with photos or even a quick phone video.
Outdoor activities mean freedom, fresh air, and not making an inside mess. Children can fix a simple picnic of cheese and crackers or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It doesn’t have to meet a four-star restaurant standard.
While motherhood is full of the joys of kisses and sweet things children say, it is also full of work such as doing loads of laundry, cleaning dishes, settling sibling battles, keeping schoolwork on track, and even finding time to spend alone with your husband. Mother’s Day can often turn into a big disappointment from the start, especially if you simply want a few more minutes of sleep, but little ones excited to celebrate your day wake you up earlier than usual. You can help avoid this with a video or TV show they can put on when they wake up or with a table in front of the bedroom door that holds fixings for breakfast, supplies to make mom promise coupons, or costumes to inspire a skit.
Of course, many moms are blessed to still have their own mother or a mother-in-law/love and will want to incorporate honoring them into the day too. If you live nearby, to avoid cooking and cleaning, you can drop off flowers or a potted plant or plan a simple outing for a meal that will be easy on the budget and a length of time children can enjoy sitting. With younger children, the simpler the venue is often best. Snap photos to capture these memories too. For moms who live at a distance, be sure to plan time for a leisurely phone call and let the children also say hello and Happy Mother’s Day.
Make your day calmer by preparing hearts ahead. Write a note or a letter or a simple card for each child (no matter the age) that says, “I love being your mom because…” Children crave affirmation, and even adult children feel better when they are affirmed that they still matter. When they read this the day before Mother’s Day, they may respond with a little extra loving care. It also helps minimize sibling rivalry, since they know you love each child for his or her uniqueness.
As children become adolescents or teens, they may plan a special time for Mom. I remember when my younger daughter and her friend planned a special time at the beach for me and her friend’s mom. They put on a show, made refreshments, and complimented us. They created a special memory. It’s the memories we recall and treasure.
If you have a supportive husband who is home for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, chat about what each of you wants on your day and try to make it happen, but be realistic. If one spouse works on those special days, mark the calendar for the day(s) to celebrate those holidays.
One mom of nine, Rhonda Robinson, said she switched up things to avoid what she calls “refrigerator gifts.” In April, she created a list of Mom-cents and Dad-dollar chores for the children to earn tokens ahead of time for buying gifts. Then when everyone had earned enough tokens and traded them in for dollars to hit the store, the other parent or older sibling took the children shopping. They might even have a list from Mom of desirable items. As a bonus, chores get done and the house may even get a little cleaner. If you’re a single mom, team up with another single mom to take turns shopping with the children.
Whatever age your children, if they ask what you’d like for Mother’s Day, be ready to share realistic ideas. For little ones, let them know you want lots of hugs and cuddles or for them to tell you a story. For older ones, you might teach them a month or so ahead how to make a favorite dish and let them know you’d like them to make it for you.
Beyond all this, reflect on your expectations versus reality. Choose one thing that would make your day a little special. Follow through with your part to make it happen. Take time after the children go to bed to thank God for the gift of children. Use that time to enjoy something for yourself too. It might be soaking in the tub with a favorite scented bath bomb, reading, or indulging in some treat that you bought yourself and stashed away for the evening.
Reflect on the best moments of the day as you fall asleep, knowing that next year the children will be a little older and will make the day special in a new way.
Karen Whiting is an author of 27 books, mom of 5, and a grandmother. Her latest book, Growing a Mother’s Heart shares devotional stories from mothers of the past and present, plus cute quotes about moms from little girls, to encourage women in the journey as moms.
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