“No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you – life.” ~Anonymous
Once you become a parent, you view Mother's Day a bit differently than you did when you were just the giver of the gifts. As a parent, you consider all of the gifts you gave your own mom and wonder if they really reflected the way you felt about her.
When you become a parent, your view about real gifts, gifts from the heart, suddenly changes. You know what's truly important and meaningful — what creates good karma for the giver and the receiver.
Flowers, candy, jewelry, perfume, clothes — they are all nice to receive. But what a mother really wants to know and feel are these things:
- Did I do a good job at raising you?
- Do you still enjoy my company?
- Do you respect and like me for the person I am, not just a mom?
- Do you notice and appreciate the things I've done and still do for you?
- Am I a good role model for you as a person and a parent?
We don't necessarily expect our children to respond to these questions, but when they do, it is a gift that touches us more deeply than words can describe. When a child comes to accept and appreciate mom for who she really is and for how much she loves her children, then her job is complete. Having that validation is worth all of the flowers and perfume in the world.
Your mom would love having that validation any time of year, but Mother's Day is a particularly fine occasion for offering gifts that speak to your fondest and most loving feelings about your mom. For the day, forget the times she embarrassed you, misunderstood you, or annoyed you. Today, create some good karma by focusing on how much you treasure and love her.
Since I'm a mom of three teenagers, I will share 17 gift ideas that would make me wild with joy and happiness for Mother's Day. Maybe you can offer one of these to your own mom.
1. A love letter
Write a letter by hand expressing how important your mother is to you and why you appreciate her so much. Mention some of your happiest memories or funny childhood events. Put some time and thought into it. Write it as though it was the last thing your mom might hear from you. (But don't let it be!)
2. Quality time
Ask your mom out to lunch or for a walk. Invite her to do something with you so that you can just talk — not about your particular problems or needs. Talk with her about her life, who she is, what she wants from life, what her hopes and dreams are. Your mother is a person, a woman who has a life apart from you. Show interest in that.
3. Unsolicited help
Look around your mom's house. Take a peek in her car. Look at the yard. Is there something that needs doing, cleaning, organizing? Offer your time and assistance, or better yet, just do it for her. Do something that will make her life unexpectedly easier.
4. A trip
Invite your mom on a trip with you. Plan something special for the two of your or with your spouses or siblings. Choose a destination that you know appeals to your mom. It could just be a weekend getaway to the mountains or the beach. Or it could be something really elaborate. But whatever you do, don't invite her as the babysitter or bank account.
5. A home-cooked meal
She prepared a million meals for you. Prepare something really special for her and make an occasion out of it. Light candles, use the best china, raise a toast with champagne. Make her feel loved and appreciated.
6. Cooking together
Prepare a meal with her. Work side by side in the kitchen with her to prepare dinner for the family. Turn on some great music. Laugh and have fun. Just enjoy this time together.
7. Plan an adventure
Instead of the typical Mother's Day brunch, plan something different. Take her on a bike ride, a rafting trip, a picnic , an amusement park, a day at the lake, or to the theater. Do something fun and out of the ordinary. Shake up mom's routine.
8. A scrapbook or video
Gather photos or video from your childhood and adult years, and create a keepsake that captures some of your best memories with your mom. Prepare a script that goes with the video or write funny captions for the photos. Remind her in images what a great mom she is.
9. A hobby or interest
Pay attention to what your mom likes to read or her hobbies. Find out from her friends or your dad what she's currently interested in. Do some research to find something new and interesting that would appeal to her as a gift. Don't purchase something just to give something or because you like it. Get something you know she will really enjoy.
10. An event with siblings
If you have siblings, plan a get-together with all of you and your mom. Moms love to see their children happily interacting, so make sure you leave sibling rivalries and problems at the door.
If you are angry with your mom about something, use this as an occasion for healing. If she's done something wrong, forgive her. If you've done something wrong, apologize. Most issues aren't worth the pain and heartache that these conflicts cause. Talk with her face to face and start to rebuild your relationship.
12. Family movies
Dig up some of the old family videos/dvd's and sit next to your mom on the couch to watch them. She may shed a few tears, but they are happy tears, so let her cry. There will probably be a lot of laughter too.
13. Inclusion in your circle
You and your mom are from different generations, but at some point in adulthood, you may realize that your mom is pretty cool. Maybe your friends will think so too. On occasion, invite her to join you and your friends for an event or dinner. You may come to see her in a new light.
14. Those three words and a hug
We never get tired of hearing “I love you” and receiving a big hug. To mothers, you are always our children, whether you are 15 or 50.
You may be grown up, be we still want to feel like you value our opinion and wisdom. Ask your mom's advice and thank her for it, even if you decide not to take it.
16. Positive focus
Every parent screws up some part of child-rearing. Sadly, that seems to be what most of us remember about our childhoods. Choose to focus on the things your mom did right instead of what she messed up. Our intentions are usually for the best, so try to let go of the bad stuff.
17. Be happy and show her
More than anything, mothers want to know their children are happy and content. Find happiness in your own life, doing what you love to do and living the life that you want. Let your mom see that you are happy and doing well. She will feel rewarded beyond measure.
Here's to all of the wonderful mothers who raised us, gave us so much, and who continue to love us every day! Happy Mother's Day.