When you are a mother, Mother’s Day can be happy or horrible almost in the same breath. We all know a few of the things that make it a less-than-desirable day. One of those is when your children are oblivious to the fact and never even give you a hug or a wish for a happy Mother’s Day, let alone a gift. Some husbands have their heads so deep in the sand that they don’t help the kids celebrate this special day for their mother.
Or there are those times when your little kids serve you breakfast in bed and spill the orange juice all over you in the process. And leave the kitchen looking like a tornado hit it — expecting you to clean it up. Those are just a couple of things that can happen to ruin the day for a mom, if you let it.
Or you can be sitting in church hearing all the accolades about the amazing mothers of the world and thinking you not only fall short of the ideal, but you sink way below the mark. It’s depressing. You somehow feel unworthy of the title “mother.”
So, let’s change the focus. Instead of thinking of these things that can ruin a perfectly good Mother’s Day, think what you can do to make it a happy, memorable day.
Here are a few ideas to help survive Mother’s Day:
1. Stop focusing on yourself and make this a day when you remember your own mother. Be sure you send her a card or gift that expresses your love for her. If she’s nearby, invite her over for dinner. Make it a special day for your mother. Forget yourself. If your children are still at home, let them in on the planning. They will see from your example that this is what children do to show love and gratitude for their mother on her special day.
If your mother has passed on, bring out her picture. Talk to your husband and children about her. Remember all the good things about her and share them with your family. If her gravesite is nearby, decorate it with flowers as a remembrance.
2. Celebrate the day by telling your children reasons why you love being their mother. At the dinner table, take a moment and focus attention on each child, mentioning things you especially enjoy about them. Tell them how much you love them. Rejoice in being their mother.
If your children are grown, give them a call and let them know of your love for them. Don’t chastise them for not remembering to call you (if they didn’t) just let them know you are thinking of them and that you enjoy remembering them in a special way on Mother’s Day.
3. Whatever your children do to show their love for you on Mother’s Day, make a big deal out of it. Let them know you genuinely appreciate their thoughtfulness, no matter how small. Expect nothing, then if something happens it will be a fun surprise. If your little ones make something for you, proudly show it to everyone. If it’s a picture, hang it on the fridge or somewhere else where everyone can see it. Whatever gift comes your way, enjoy it to the fullest, no matter what it is. The very fact that they took the time do make or buy something for you is so sweet of them, even if it’s a simple card. They need to know they made your day.
That includes calls from grown children. Let them know how very much it means to you that they would take the time to call (if they did.) Don’t you dare say anything of a reprimanding nature on this call. If you need to chastise them for anything, don’t do it then. Save it for later, or don’t do it at all. Make it a pleasant and appreciated response. Remember some good old days with them. Laugh and have some fun. Making the call a joyful experience for them will ensure it will happen again.
4. If your husband helps the kids make this a special day for you, be sure to thank him. Notice his efforts in your behalf. If he falls short, don’t criticize him. Just be grateful for the goodness in him and notice all the other things he does for your family.
5. Praise yourself for all you do as a mother. Let this day be a time when you see the good you’ve done for your children. Don’t give one minute’s time to what you haven’t done. That doesn’t mean you can’t improve in some areas. That’s for another day. On Mother’s Day, congratulate yourself on what you have done, and are doing, that blesses the lives of your children.
Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Joy is a writer and lyricist. Together they author books on relationships, including "I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better". Their website is garyjoylundberg.com