Whenever Mother’s Day rolls around (and it’s just about here), people seem to congregate into two camps on the issue.
First, there’s the celebrate your mother camp – the people who feel that Mother’s Day is a perfect opportunity to show your mother that you care for her, either through action or through a gift. On the other side of that coin is the Mother’s Day is a day invented by the greeting card industry group, those who feel that the entire concept of a “mother’s day” is just an excuse for consumerism.
To tell the truth, I agree with both sides of the issue. Mother’s Day may be a contrived invention, but the reason behind it is one I wholeheartedly agree with – it’s always worthwhile to celebrate our mothers.
The solution is simple: the best way to celebrate your mother isn’t by waiting until a particular day and celebrating it with consumerism. Instead, find ways to show your mother that you truly care – and those ways rarely involve heading to the store and buying greeting cards and other things. Here are eight things to try, whether or not you’re waiting until May 10 to celebrate it or you want to treat every day as Mother’s Day.
Apologize. If there is a rift between you and your mother, there is simply nothing better you can do than apologize. Before you do, though, take to heart what it means to truly apologize. Spend some time really reflecting on the rift that has grown between you and look for your own faults. What did you do wrong? Sure, it’s often easy to blame the other person for the problems, but let yourself go beyond that – you’ll grow as a person and open yourself up to repairing a painful rift if you do.
Write a letter. Sit down, put a pen to paper, and actually write a letter to your mother. This is a perfect opportunity to let her how what she has meant to you over the years. If you’re not sure what to write, just tell stories. Write about the memories you have of her that have really influenced you – and then mention why they influenced you. This written letter will mean far more than any card ever would.
Make a phone call. You can do much the same thing over the phone if you wish, but it’s often just good to place a long phone call to your mother and just talk about everything. Put some time aside for the call so that you can focus on what your mother is actually saying – especially between the lines – and also relate openly about the things you’re feeling and thinking.
Pay a visit. Spend an afternoon with your mother. Watch a movie together. Have a conversation. Eat a meal together. Let the conversation flow. Time spent together is the most valuable gift you can give.
Do a favor. There’s almost always a task that your mother needs done around her home. Perhaps a room needs repainted. Maybe the car needs detailed. Maybe the shrubs need trimmed. One spectacular gift is to simply do that task, no questions asked. Just take care of it, so that the weight of the task is removed from her mind.
Prepare a meal. Visit your mother’s house, sit her down in the kitchen with you, then prepare a meal while conversing with her. Set the table, serve the meal, then clean up all the dishes and appropriately pack away the leftovers. Leave the house just as you arrived (except with perhaps some food in the refrigerator) and you’ll leave a parent that knows that you care.
Make a video. Take a video of the important things in your life. For me, it would be filled with my children and my home. I’d take clips of my kids playing in the yard, our garden beginning to emerge, and so on. Edit this together into a short film and include a bit at the end that tells your mother how much you care.
Involve yourself in something your mother cares about. Attend a service at her church. Show up at her bridge club meeting. Spend a Saturday at Habitat for Humanity. Most importantly, do these things without reservation – put your heart into it, even if personally you aren’t involved in it. Let her introduce you to her friends and take a bit of pride in you. At the same time, show her that she matters to you – and the things she values are important to you, too.
What’s the common theme in all of these ideas? Time. Not money. Time is the gift that has real value when you’re showing someone that you truly care.
This Mother’s Day, don’t worry about spending your money on a card or a fancy gift. Instead, start now on something that’s an investment of your time. That’s a gift that will really matter.