As I’ve looked at Mother’s Day items in the stores this spring, I’ve been struck by how impersonal the holiday has become. I’m bewildered by the mass-produced, impersonal gift baskets that appear to me to communicate one of three things: The purchaser (1) didn’t know what to get mom, (2) didn’t shop in time to get something personal, or (3) simply didn’t care. I’m flabbergasted at the sometimes elaborate greeting cards that are written from cats or dogs for their human “mommies.” I’m saddened when I read about a survey that found 67% of moms don’t want flowers for Mother’s Day, yet 73% get them.
What’s really unfortunate is that we need Mother’s Day. It’s not that I think there’s something wrong with having a day set aside to honor mom, it’s that we need a day set aside to honor her. Shouldn’t we communicate our gratitude to her frequently? Sadly, I know I’m guilty of not saying “thank you” often enough. While I have sent a gift to my mother this year, I’m also thinking of meaningful ways I can show my appreciation throughout the year. When coming up with these ideas, I was specifically thinking of moms of grown children. With a little creativity, they can be applied to moms of young children, too.
Personal ways to show appreciation for mom
- Thank her. It’s simple, but it’s also very powerful. As you go about your day, let your tasks remind you of specific things for which to thank mom. When you bake cookies using a recipe mom taught you, send her a quick text message thanking her for teaching it to you. When you have a disagreement with your own teenage child, call mom and thank her for not giving up on you during your teen years.
- Ask questions and listen to her answers. Moms often focus on their children more than anything else. This is especially true when they have kids at home, but it can still be true when they have grown children. Why not focus some attention on mom? Ask her what’s on her mind. Invite her to share about her social or volunteer activities. Give her opportunities to reminisce about her own childhood. Listen intently as she shares.
- Take part with her in an activity she enjoys. What does mom enjoy doing for fun? Shopping? Bowling? Hiking? Playing bingo? Whatever it is, make an effort to go with her and spend some time socializing and relaxing together.
- Help her around the house. If you live near your mom, consider giving her a hand around the house. Could she use some extra help weeding the garden? Maybe the carpet needs to be steam cleaned? Even if she doesn’t need help with a big job, she may enjoy your company while completing everyday tasks.
- Show her you know what is important to her by giving her a relevant gift. Did she spend extra time admiring a particular blouse last time you shopped together? Has she mentioned a book she wants to read? Think of something she really wants. There’s nothing inherently wrong with traditional gifts like cards, flowers, jewelry, and gift baskets of soaps and lotions. However, these gifts are “traditional” for a reason—they are quite commonplace and you may have given variants of them to her in past years. If you choose to go this route, it’s nice to add a personal touch to them. For example, write a personal note in the card and select a bouquet of her favorite flowers or flowers that are her favorite color.
While I think these are some great ways to show appreciation, keep in mind that it was concerns about Mother’s Day becoming impersonal that got me brainstorming in the first place. If you don’t think these ideas would be meaningful to your mom, then find out what is meaningful so you can effectively express gratitude to her (your ideas may help the rest of us so be sure to share them in the comments section). I’m going to make an effort to use these ideas throughout the year, not just on Mother’s Day. I hope you’ll join me in this.
What’s your favorite way to express gratitude to your mom? Are you doing anything special for her on Mother’s day?