There is a reason Mother’s Day is so widely celebrated. Both men and women do outstanding jobs as parents, but there is something a little different about a mother.
Biologically, a mother in the mammalian world has one purpose, and that is to raise her young. That means finding them food, protecting them and loving them unconditionally. As humans, we add much more to our plates. Yet no matter what other distractions we choose or are put upon us, there is one resounding thought always on a mother’s mind: her children.
Mother’s Day is a chance to show gratitude for the women who raise us, inspire us, celebrate with us and commiserate with us. As many people rush to the store to find the perfect gift, there truly are just a few things every mother – at least every mother with young kids – would love that don’t cost a thing.
No questions asked. Find a way to make it happen.
5. Crafts from the kids
I pretty much trash 95 percent of the creations Monster-man cooks up. I mean, how many stick figure pictures can we really fit on the fridge?
But last year, I got one that I will keep forever. David framed a poem about my son’s hands and how they are small and want to hold mine now, but they won’t always be that way so I should squeeze them tightly while I still can. Next to the poem was Monster’s tiny handprint posed as a flower. We could only go on with the day after David mopped me up from the floor because I had melted into a mushy pile of mommy weepiness.
4. A clean house
Not a “daddy-clean” house, wherein you stuff things in closets and don’t even run a vacuum. I mean a “mommy-clean” house that involves rubber gloves and all the rags you own.
3. Time in the house by herself
Clean the house then grab the kids and get the hell out of there. I cannot remember the last time I was in the house by myself. I don’t even know what I would do. Watch a movie that does not feature dinosaurs or cartoon trains? Sleep? Have wine at 11 a.m.? It all sounds perfect.
2. Time out of the house by herself
I suppose you could book a spa day or arrange for her to have brunch. Or you can just say, “Go,” and she’ll gladly find somewhere to go. I went grocery shopping by myself a few months ago, and it was an exhilarating 45 minutes that I have been clinging to ever since then.
1. Tell her she is a good mother
The best thing you can ever say to a woman with kids is that she is a good mother. I know this because conversely, the worst thing you can ever say to a woman with kids is that she is a bad mother. Sadly, it happens to all of us at one point or another.
Sometimes it is a nasty look because someone caught you on a really, really bad day while your child is throwing a tantrum at the store. More often than not, however, it is simply implied that we are not doing our jobs well because we aren’t doing enough.
A mother is constantly thinking about her kids: Are they eating enough? Are they eating too much? Am I wrong for vaccinating? Am I wrong for not vaccinating? Are they going to have friends? Are they going to be bullies? Are they reading enough? Do they get enough vitamins? Should I cut their hair? Should I let them dictate when they want their hair cut?
Combine that with all the avenues through which we get information, and mothers today are flooded with messages that we are doing it wrong. Don’t let your kids eat anything processed. Don’t let your kids watch TV. Don’t let your kids be kids. And then when you do, you feel guilty even though you know you shouldn’t.
I would rather be insulted for my writing, my appearance, my politics and my (lack of) religion rather than feel my mothering is being criticized.
This Mother’s Day, tell her she’s doing it right.
Tell her that regardless of the fact that she still hasn’t hung the picture frames or scrubbed the strawberry remnants off the floor that she is amazing because she holds her kids and has the power to calm their tears and heal their boo-boos.
Tell her that you are awed that she can love the kids so much that when they hurt, she hurts; when they cry, she wants to cry; and when they succeed, she is more proud than she has ever been of anything in her life.
Tell her that her worrying and sleepless nights are the mark of a mother who cares about her children, and that is a wonderful thing to be.
Tell her that even on the hard days, even on the days she feels like she has screwed up, she is still a wonderful mother because she cares for her children unconditionally and is trying her hardest to do well at the most difficult job in the world.
Tell her that she is a good mother, and you will make her day.