Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that if you screw up, you may never be forgiven. So, to aid you in achieving the goal of a successful Mother’s Day, I’m offering a few tips. If you were tuning in for a food post today, sorry. But food is mentioned, so maybe keep reading.
Mothers are not hard people to please. I know this because they wear necklaces made of macaroni noodles as if they were of rarest gold, they exclaim over someone using the potty in the actual potty, and they will snuggle you even when you have the most fierce morning breath and have food stuck in your hair. They have an amazing capacity to make the best out of things and lift you up when you feel like you can’t possibly feel better. And yet, it seems that many mothers are let down on Mother’s Day. It need not be this way.
A small gift and a card
A small gift and a card goes a long way on Mother’s Day. No, a chocolate rose from 7-11 doesn’t count as a small gift. How do you know what Mom might like? Ask yourself, what would Mom do if she didn’t have to be Mom? Would she read a book? Garden? Go to dinner with her girlfriends? Take a walk? Go to the bathroom alone? What kind of gift can you get her that would help her pursue her pleasure? No, not toilet paper, but maybe a lock for the bathroom door and some earplugs. Fling back the shower curtain and sniff the bottles. What bottle smells most like Mom? Buy her more of that.
What she doesn’t want is something the folks on TV are pushing. If you see a commercial telling you how much Mom would love a vacuum, necklace, or deodorant, ask yourself, should I believe everything I see on TV? Unless Mom has asked specifically for the Jane Seymour Open Heart necklace, she probably doesn’t want one.
Mother’s Day doesn’t end at the small gift and card
This is where the wheels fall off the wagon. Picture it: Mom is awakened with breakfast made in her honor. She smiles, cuddles everyone, chokes down the coffee and over-done toast. But then what? Does she walk downstairs to find dishes, coffee grounds, and eggshells everywhere? Let’s hope not. What will make YOUR Mom’s day is this phrase, pay attention, this is the key: YOU DO IT. What?? I do it? What does this mean??? Here’s a decoder chart you can use.
- At the first noise from kids, cat, or dog, YOU get up and handle it. Soothe the kid, feed the cat, let the dog out. DO NOT WAIT for Mom to roll over and give you the look or the elbow. Just LEAP out of bed at the first moment you notice something’s up.
- Meals are your gig today too, all three of them! Maybe you can’t cook an extravagant (or even mediocre) meal. Do you have fingers? Can you order a pizza? Can you pick up a bucket of chicken? YES! You CAN! So do it.
- YOU do the dishes. Yep, we don’t care if it’s paper plates every meal. Just don’t expect Mom to get up and do dishes on Mother’s Day.
- Let Mom shower in peace while YOU referee a fight between kids, choose Sunday clothes for church, and put Suzie’s hair up. YOU do it. And while you’re at it, no one under four feet tall should be banging on the bathroom door. YOU stop them.
- Is there vomit or poop between the bedroom and the coffee pot? Don’t step over it as if you don’t see it. YOU clean it up!
- Suggest Mom go take a nap or read a book in the afternoon. Then YOU play with the kids. No, not while watching the hockey game. YOU go out with them, YOU find the bubbles, YOU keep them from killing themselves on the swing set. And under NO circumstances should someone go and get Mom unless the house is on fire.
- Kill the Honey-Do list. Remember all the little tasks she’s mentioned? Knock them out. Likely as not, she does your laundry, cooks your meals, cleans your house, totes kids and pets, buys groceries, pays bills, and fights with the cable company on a daily basis. It won’t kill you to clean up the dog poop, fix a squeaky door, or put some windshield washer fluid in her car. Really it won’t.
- Yes, you MUST get your wife something for Mother’s Day even though she’s not your Mother. She gave birth to your children and hasn’t eaten them yet. She deserves a gift.
A note about single moms
I have spent my fair share of Mother’s Days as a single mother. And sometimes it’s one of the most painful days of the year. I can recall sitting in church listening to other Mom’s tell all about the fun things they were going to do with their families, while all I had to look forward to was a long day alone with a toddler. Many single Moms may have families of their own to visit. But some of them don’t. Some of them would LOVE to be invited to your cookout, or get a card or some flowers when her child is too young to be able to provide something for her. It’s not about the gift, it’s about her being equal to a Mom who has a spouse. Often, single Moms are treated like second-class citizens, as if they are contagious. Remember, it could happen to you in the blink of an eye. Most of us don’t set out to be single with kids. It’s not that it’s twice as hard, it’s exponentially more difficult to do it alone.
Don’t forget other mothers, too
Maybe you’ve got your Mom and Grandma covered, that’s great! Don’t forget that there may be other Mothers that are alone or lonely on Mother’s Day. Daughters who have lost their own Mother may be sad, older Mothers whose kids live far away may be alone. Please make a point to reach out and include these ladies. It could make their day! There may also be other women who mother your child in your absence. A daycare provider, a step-mother, the mother of your child’s friend. You are not in competition with these women. You will always be Mom. But don’t overlook the significance they have in your child’s life. They provide an important influence when you’re not around. Make sure they know how much you appreciate them. No child ever suffered from being loved too much by too many people.
I hope all the Moms out there have a great Mother’s Day. And if all else fails, they’ll go back to school and work Monday, you can go to the bathroom alone then. Happy Mother’s Day!