Updated on 05.08.10

What Day Is It?

Trent Hamm

It would be easy for me to write some nice platitudes today about my wife (the mother of my children) or my own mother. I could go on for a long time about how wonderful these two women are, the most important two women in my life.

But I really don’t need to.

We don’t need a special day to celebrate the genuinely important things in our lives.

If something is truly important in your life, then it deserves value and care and love and attention every day. It should be the centerpiece and the focus of your life.

That focus is represented not in money but in time.

If you find yourself feeling guilty about things left undone and want to use material gifts bought on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or Christmas, then you have a choice – and it requires some honesty with yourself.

Is this relationship really important to you or do you just feel like it’s supposed to be important to you?

If it’s truly important to you, then every day is Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day or so on). The gift that really matters – the gift of time – is something that you can constantly share throughout the year. Calling your mother on Mother’s Day is great, but if the relationship is really important to you, what about the other 51 Sundays out of the year? And what about the other days, too?

If it’s not truly important to you yet you feel the need to keep up some sort of appearance, then you’ve got a weight on your life, a relationship with uneven obligations and feelings that need to be dealt with so that you can lead a more focused life. Something is missing in that relationship and if it causes guilt, then you need to spend the time and the energy it takes to fix it, for better or for worse. It’s not only hugely beneficial for you, but it’s also good for the other person you care about.

When your life revolves around what’s truly important to you, financial decisions become easier. Time management choices become easier. Emotional decisions become easier. Goal setting becomes easier. Problem resolution becomes easier.

Why? Because it’s very clear to you what actually is important and what’s not.

Remember, the truest way to invest in the things that are really important to you is time, not money. If your mother is genuinely important to you, give her a call today. But give her a call regularly as well. Visit her. Drop by and do an errand for her. If you do that, then finding some “perfect” gift for Mother’s Day becomes a whole lot less important. The same principle is true for anything else that’s truly important to you, from your career to your money and your hobbies.

It’s all about the time and energy, consistently spent.

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  1. I’m with you on this, though there are societal/social expectations linked to these specific days/holidays, regardless of what you do the other 364 days out of the year. That is irrelevant to the point of the holiday.

    My gf and I do not buy each other gifts for holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, etc. but we have discussed the reasons why we don’t want or need gifts from one another. If you just totally ignore your mother on Mother’s Day because you called her last Sunday, I’m not sure that would be a great way to get on her good side, no matter how many times you already called her this week.

    A card or small gift show that you are thinking of her and appreciate her. It seems like we have this idea in our minds that our gifts must be expensive, fancy trinkets but I have no doubt our mothers would be more than pleased with a homemade card made from macaroni noodles like we made in elementary school. Totally cost, barely anything but it would have a huge impact on brightening her day.

    You’re right, we should celebrate one another on a daily basis but that isn’t an out for celebrating the holidays when they come around…I’m sure your wife and mother would have appreciated a post about how wonderful they are and how much you genuinely appreciate them, more than a post that says, “Yeah, I appreciate them but I’m not going to say so and here’s why.”

    Happy Mother’s Day.

  2. Kathy says:

    Well said. I think it means more when you do these things for the important people in your life on days other than the “holiday”.

  3. Maggie says:

    I read an interesting book called The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. In it he describes that people each have a love language that they need to receive. If the love language you are sending is not the one they receive, they do not feel that love. So if you are offering your time, and they are a person who needs tokens they do not feel your love. I have known a number of people lose relationships because they were a person that valued being remembered on these ‘special’ days and the other person was one who declared they were not going to do anything on a given day just because society said so. The partner did not want expensive gifts, they just wanted to be acknowledged and made to feel a little special.

  4. Suzie Bee says:

    A well-chosen present can show your love, but only if it’s something the recipient truly needs and loves. Who needs scented shampoo and candles all the time? Instead, get something you’ve noticed they’re missing (do they always complain that their toaster doesn’t work properly any more?) or something that’s so “them”. A gift on Mother’s Day, however, is simply the cherry on the top of a great relationship and spending time with them.

  5. Maureen says:

    My mother passed away 3 years ago and I don’t for a second regret giving her a special token of affection on Mother’s Day. I wish I could do it for her today too.

    I’m a mother myself and I know my family has planned a special surprise for me. I know I will love it because it comes from those who love me most of all. I wouldn’t deny them an opportunity to say ‘I love you’ in a special way. It is for their benefit at least as much as for mine. I know they do it out of love, not social pressure.

    Mother’s Day is special for me too because being a Mother is the most important thing I have ever done. I am so proud of my children and honoured to be their mother.

    Happy Mother’s Day Sarah!

  6. almost there says:

    It all boils down to marketing. We all sell something, ideas, products, etc. The people that make income off these special days have an interest in promoting them. I will watch my father today so that my mom can go out with my spouse for a MD dinner. Of course, I am on call 24/7 whenever she needs my help with her husband of 56 years.

  7. John says:

    I ignore mother’s day. I really don’t want anything to do with that woman.

  8. triLcat says:

    It’s nice to say that every day should be Mother’s Day, but seriously, folks, go the extra little bit today.
    Make a batch of pancakes for breakfast, take the kids out so she can have a nap, hand-make a card, print out a bunch of photos of the kids and make an album. Give it a little extra push.
    Tomorrow is my sister’s birthday and she left on a trip with my mom this morning. Before they left, I dropped off a little mini-cake that I’d baked and packed so she could take it with her on her trip. I added a few little chocolates around it, and wrote a little note on the packaging. Total cost – less than $3. Still, I’m sure that when she digs into the cake tomorrow, she’ll feel loved.
    Yes, she knows that I love her every day, but something about having someone care enough to bake a cake for your birthday just… is a nice feeling.

  9. Maggie says:

    Good post, Trent. I happen to feel the same way, but I think Maggie makes a great point. It’s more about how THEY feel than about how YOU feel. If you know that someone would appreciate a little pampering on Mother’s Day, or their birthday, or Christmas, then make them happy. Whatever you do, don’t try to “educate” someone to your way of thinking as a way of explaining why you aren’t doing something special for them. That crosses the line from idealist to jerk, as I learned the hard way long ago.

  10. Diane says:

    Trent, I couldn’t agree with you more! My husband and I were at the cemetery this morning visiting my dear MIL’s grave when a man arrived with a big basket of flowers. He placed them on a grave, whipped out his camera and took a picture, then picked up the basket,put it in his car, and drove away. I figured his out of town siblings all chipped in for something for Mom’s grave and he took a photo to prove the purchase. Then I bet he took that basket of flowers home to his wife. I felt like I had been kicked in the teeth. Yes, I know she is dead but honestly that was a very underhanded thing to do.

  11. Kerry D. says:

    I especially enjoyed the handmade cards from my three teens this morning, and great conversations as we just snuggled up for a while. (Mind you, some of the major topics were hockey and baseball, and shed tears for a horse we love that was euthanized yesterday… but this is the life we share, being a part of each other’s world.) I’m happy to celebrate the day in these simple ways.

    For #7, John–I don’t know your story, but she did give birth to you, which is pretty cool, and she wont always be around on the planet. It’s my experience that Moms do the best they know how, even if it’s not what would be ideal. Maybe you can find a small way to connect, while you still have time. Just a hello and hope your day was nice, or something else that is positive …(Can you tell my mom and MIL are both deceased? )

  12. Bill says:

    I tried to opt out of this and Christmas/birthdays but my wife and mother are very clear, they want presents.

  13. I’m lucky I live only one hour away from my Mom and get to spend time with her throughout the year. But saying that, every Mother’s Day I look forward to the picnic we have a the zoo with my Mom, my family and old friends. We’ve been doing it for over 30yrs.

  14. Alicia (Atypical Type A) says:

    My family has never done much to celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day, but my partner’s family is the other extreme and is up for any occasion that calls for presents!

    We try to find a balance. I prefer to acknowledge the special person in your life by spending time with them (or calling if you are not able to see them in person) rather than buying a gift.

    I happened to be in a department store on Saturday and saw a horde of people swarming around the dressing gowns, slippers and cheap chocolates. I thought: How sad.

  15. Debbie V. says:

    Our small family is not big on parties, present or celebrating holidays. As a mom, I am always grateful and impressed when my daughter (she’s 25) buys me a gift or pays for my lunch or a coffee. The fact that she is thinking of me, even if it is out of duty for Mothers’ Day, does not go unappreciated. A little goes a long way with moms.

  16. Michele says:

    John- I am sorry you didn’t have the mother of your dreams. Some of us fail and are not worthy of the title of ‘mother’. I hope you find a woman in your life who loves and cares for you no matter what. That’s your REAL mom.
    Just forgive your birth mom for her failings (or evil- yah, some moms are BAD) and move on. I know how painful it can be. YOU are more than your suffering and memories! Just remember that always.
    Trent- good post. Just remember, some moms aren’t’ worthy of the title because of their limited abilities. Even though every woman has the potential to be a mother, they aren’t all good ones.
    Here’s to the Moms who love their kids, sacrifice for their kids and do the best they can, in spite of the pain and suffering of life.

  17. Skeemer118 says:

    I gave my mom a card & gift yesterday. After church I took her to a movie & for ice cream. She thanked me for the gift earlier in the day but at the end of our day together she said, “Thank you for spending your time with me.” :) That made me happy.

  18. Steffie says:

    My kids didn’t do a thing differently from any other day, my teenage son told me I don’t know anything about anything and my girls (12/13yrs old) told me how wonderful their stepmother is. Apparently all those commercials on TV that they watched didn’t sink in, so I guess I don’t have to worry about excess consumerism. Fortunately my boyfriend saved the day, breakfast was cooked and he worked on putting up the tiles in the bathroom instead of watching the basketball game.

  19. Stephan says:

    Such a great point about doing good things on days when its not expected. When i take my gf out to a romantic dinner randomly out of hte blue, her face lights up a lot more than when we go out for an anniversary or birthday dinner. Sometimes its the spur of the moment decisions that make a far bigger impact than the planned ones.

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  20. Crystal says:

    I love my mother every day of the year and we talk, email, and visit pretty often. BUT, why not take a special day to reiterate the obvious?

    My husband and I spent Saturday with his mom and Sunday with mine. We cooked their favorite meals, cleaned up, and chatted for a while. My mom loved the two rose bushes I brought her and my mother-in-law appreciated the card and home-cooking and time.

    I also believe that you should show those you love that you love them all the time, but I don’t poo-poo picking a special day for them as well. It doesn’t have to be based on consumerism, like you said, parents appreciate your time.

  21. MJ says:

    Hmmm, always interesting to find men posting about why Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, their wedding anniversary are not important days, they’re “Hallmark Holidays” that don’t need to be acknowledged.
    Really? So your wife, mother and children can forego wishing you a Happy Father’s Day, birthday, etc. and you will be perfectly fine with that because they show/tell/let you know how the feel the other 364 days of the year, so there is no reason to go out of their way on a special day set aside to acknowledge you and their feelings for you?
    No one says you “have to” buy an expensive gift, card, etc, participating in an orgy of consumerism to assuage yourself for feeling guilty, lacking, remorseful, etc. A nice, thoughtful letter/post/phone call saying how special/kind/caring/wonderful your mother and the mother of you children are would be enough, rather than your childish, petulant insistence on not honoring them on MOther’s Day because “I really don’t need to.”

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