Let’s face it, this year is different. Yet it doesn’t mean that Mother’s Day is a bust. I’m guessing your husband is struggling to figure out what the heck to do since his go to gift of brunch out at your favorite restaurant is definately not happening. Ditto with the quick run to the florist for a bouquet.
So now’s the time to talk about your feelings and expectation so that he (and you!) can breathe a sign of relief and feel better about creating a day that everyone can enjoy. Be intentional and push past feeling awkward about making gift suggestions since every mom I know is in desperate need of quiet, reflective time when she doesn’t have to do Anything. Except. Relax!
I struggle a bit with imposed holidays like Mothers Day and Valentine’s Day. In my heart of hearts, I’d prefer regular appreciation and shows of love, yet being totally frank, I still get wrapped up a bit in Mother’s Day and often feel a mix of elation and disappointment because the perfect day didn’t occur. I remember thinking last year, after reading Tera Langland’s excellent write up of the day, about the things I’d wish for in an ideal world. What is my perfect Mother’s Day?
Savoring the day and time spent with my almost-out-of-the-house teen was what I wished for, so instead of our usual at home elaborate brunch catered a la Isabelle, I’d thought about a having nice meal out to get her out of the kitchen for a change. This is generally opposite of my usual opinion that eating out on “big” days is less than desirable because, as any restaurant person will tell you, both food quality and service levels decline on these uber popular days.
I’ll warn you that your outlook changes when one of your kids is a high school senior that’s preparing to move cross country for college. Looking from 2019 to 2020, my wish was for Isabelle to be at the table instead of bustling around the kitchen. I yearned for both girls, 11 years apart, to join together and connect with me on the day in some low stress yet meaningful way. I envisioned laughing at a table while letting someone outside my family to do the work. My wish was for Mother’s Day 2020 to be a day that focused on my connection to my daughters since it is likely to be the last Mother’s Day (for many years) when both girls will be present.
Forward to present day…the world threw a major monkey wrench in life, so now I waffle between feeling like we should simply be thankful to be here (and screw the silly celebration day) and wishing for a way to connect and feel appreciated even more deeply than I’d wished for last year. I still wish for connection with both girls, yet I’m not sure how to execute a ‘special’ day without Isabelle toiling in the kitchen endlessly. I have a feeling they are things that could make your day wonderful as well so I decided to write them in an easy (ahem…forwardable) list.
Here are a few ideas to make Mother’s Day special in this year of quarantine:
- Breakfast in Bed. Start Mom’s morning off with a delicious breakfast in bed. Note that the emphasis here is not on the meal – but instead of the absolute luxury of Mom not having to do anything except relax. These days Moms have been in overdrive and a morning without any work is pure luxury! On the breakfast tray include a favorite escape of Mom’s: her latest book, the New York Times Sunday edition, an iPad ready to stream something like the Hallmark channel, BBC’s latest Jan Austin feature or what ever guilty pleasure show she loves. Food notes: make sure that the breakfast isn’t something that could potentially make a big wet mess like cereal, and instead go for drier foods like bacon and eggs or even muffins. With younger kids in the kitchen, I’d defintely opt for things like fruit with yogurt and/or bakery goods over full-on cooked breakfast unless Dad is a solid cook.
The key to this option (and most of the others listed here) being an amazing gift is to focus on gift of TIME and relaxation all morning or better yet all day – not just until the tray of food is empty.
- Spa at Home. Set up a spa for Mom at home with a bubble bath, candles, and relaxing music. While she’s having her at home spa date put a movie on so the kids won’t make a lot of noise. You can put together a lovely gift box of special bath salts, a face mask, intense hand moisturizng mitts, deep hair conditioner and scented candle. Make it extra special with fluffy hot towels fresh out of the dryer, a new back brush or bath pillow, and a bottle of sparkling rosé.
- Let Her Go on a Walk, Alone. Getting some alone time while everyone is stuck at home is not easy. But one way you can make that happen is by letting Mom go on a walk by herself. Who knows where she’ll end up. She might just go down to the end of the block and sit under a tree. The point is, she’s going to be getting some much needed alone time. Make sure the kids are distracted while she’s gone too. The last thing she’ll want to come home to is a bunch of screaming kids, or kids that have torn the house apart. When she returns, have a sweet treat and a pot of tea ready for her to continue her calm, luxurious afternoon (see the kid’s distraction note just before 😉 a little Netflix babysitting is the perfect thing at this moment).
- Make Dinner for Her. Get all the kids together and make dinner for Mom while she does…whatever she wants! Kids can start helping in the kitchen pretty much as soon as they’re old enough to start walking and standing on their own. The littlest ones might be in charge of getting spoons or sitting on the counter and stirring bowls. Kids who are approaching double digits can start using knives while under adult supervision. The key here is to keep things simple and to serve dishes mom likes and to have a pretty and fun mealtime.
- Paint Portraits of Mom. One way to give Mom some quiet time is to have the kids sit down and paint a portrait of Mom. When they’ve finished with that have them paint or draw a picture of Mom in her favorite place, doing her favorite thing. Tell the kids to take their time with the works of art and make them nice and colorful. This will not only give Mom something lovely to hang on the fridge it will also give her some peace and quiet to do whatever she wants, including having a nap.
- Facetime with Grandma. Don’t forget the Grandmothers on Mother’s Day! Not only will Mom want some time to talk to her Mom but it’s a great opportunity to talk to the Grandmas the kids haven’t seen in months. Have some of their artwork or other things that they’ve created on hand so they can show Grandma what they’ve been up to.
- Have a Family Movie/Photo Time. Gather up all your family photos from trips gone by and other fun times and put on a show. Relive the memories and take some time to enjoy how fondly your children remember those times as you talk about what was going on then. It’s sure to warm Mom’s heart. Have the kids write in a card to talk about the things they love most about their mom. Then fire up Netflix and watch something the whole family can enjoy and don’t forget the buttered popcorn!
This is the stuff of Mama’s dreams…time, relaxation and appreciation. Not lavish gifts or meals. Basic, simple focused time both by herself and connecting with her family. So…maybe, just maybe, this year of an inward focused, home only Mother’s Day isn’t such a bad thing afterall!
I wish all you Moms a day filled with what ever wishes you have in your heart! And I wish for you to focus on the simple pleasures of family and home.
Photos by No Qualms Mom Contributor Angela Carlyle, except for the Feature Photo by Wonderfell Images, and where otherwise noted.