Mother’s day is coming up on may 13 and if you are anything like me, you it surprises you every year (kind of like birthdays and Christmas) and you go into a minor mental spin about how to show your mom that you love and appreciate her. It’s a tall order. I mean none of us can every actually give back the hours and hours of time and pain, and love that our mothers have invested in us. Even if you and your mother are not super big fans of one another, there is no denying that you would simply not exist if it were not for her. That’s kind of a big deal. For those of you whose mothers are not here for you to connect with, for whatever reason, you can talk to her anyway, and you can also look at other women in your life who mother you in different, and very powerful ways.
To be honest, I was one of those grouchy grouches who would complain about mother’s day being just another excuse for greeting card companies to make money by pulling on our heart strings with canned tropes perpetuating stereotypes about mothering and women’s purpose and sacrifice. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother fiercely and I tell her so on mother’s day, I’m not that ungrateful. But it wasn’t until I became a mother (3 years ago) that I really got what this day should be all about. I never understood that the blood, sweat, tears, and sleepless hours that a mother puts into her children are unlike anything she can ever give to anyone else. They are more, and they are a different quality, and it takes the smallest drop of gratitude to refill her well so she can keep giving.
So for those of us who want to honour the woman who grew us from tiny seeds into human form and then kept that human form alive, here are a few ideas. Yes, you can take her to brunch and buy her a card. AND you can also try one or more of these things on May 13, or any old day of the week.
- Ask her how she would like to feel loved. You don’t have to be a mind reader, and you might actually learn something that surprises you about what this woman likes and what makes her feel appreciated. What if you just asked her and then really heard her answer?
- Show up with food. I can’t tell you how light the world feels when someone else handles filling the bellies of the people in my life, including me. I love cooking but I love eating more, and I really really love eating when someone else shows up, gives me a glass of wine, and handles it.
- Acknowledge her. Yes the whole day is about acknowledgement, but I mean really take a moment to say “mom, I really want to acknowledge you for [a,b,c], It really shows that you care about [x,y,z].” Knowing that someone sees you and really gets what you care about, despite your flaws or arguments or disconnections or breakdowns is so incredibly powerful. It takes my breath away. It’s even better when it comes authentically for you and not from Hallmark.
- Give her some space. No you can’t just ignore her and then tell her that was her mother’s day gift. What you can do is let her know that you see that she doesn’t often get time to herself so you’d like to handle whatever needs to happen that day so that she can just do whatever she wants. It might be that she wants to sleep in, or go for a run, or finish a cup of coffee while it is still warm, or take a bath, go play paintball. WHATEVER! You set up the day so that she can do whatever her little heart desires.
- Spend time with her. At the risk of contradicting my last suggestion, just spending time doing something with her that you know she enjoys is also a huge gift. You have to know your audience to be able to choose between this one and #3, heck, she’s YOUR MOM (or partner, or mentor, or auntie, whatever), hopefully you have some inkling of which one is more her style. So often we can feel stretched for time and our interactions with our families feel like they are more about handling day-to-day logistics of pick-ups, drop-offs, cooking, cleaning, shopping, lessons, etc. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful gift to just plan a simple walk, or board game, or picnic, or another thing in which you set the intention to get to know her a little better and to share something to help her get to know you?
I hope that these ideas are helpful, or at least reassuring. Coming from me as a mother, these are the things that would really touch me. I care about my family taking the time to really get me and to want to spend time with me. Being held in love is what makes it all worth it.
You can also buy her (or both of you) a ticket to attend our Mother’s Day Pampering workshop, HERE