When my mom was still on this side of heaven, I loved celebrating Mother's Day.
Forgive me if this sounds too much like a Hallmark movie, but it was always a day filled with lovely things. Getting dressed up, a handmade bouquet, small gifts, and going to church as a family, always followed by an elegant brunch. My mom and mother-in-law reigned over the meal, pretending they didn't love being the center of attention but all the while, loving being the center of attention.
Now they both are gone. Finding myself without a mom of my own and compounded by the fact that I'm an empty nester, Mother's Day feels strange to me. Gone are the days when cute handmade cards graced my table and plans were afoot for surprise breakfasts in bed. Mother's Day is a day when I appreciate the attention, but often feel reminded of what's missing.
What about you? Maybe like me, your mom is gone too. Maybe you are an empty nester or your kids are far. Maybe you don't have kids, or maybe your mom relationship is tricky at best. I understand. We all come from different places with a mom history. For this reason, I asked myself, "How could Mother's Day be a joy?" No matter what season you are in, here are 7 Life-Giving Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day.
7 Life-Giving Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day
(even if you don't want to, don't have kids, a mom, or have a tricky mom).
1. Be Lovingly Clear
Think about what would make it a joyful day for you. If you want flowers, say, "all I want is a huge bouquet of flowers." Or if you want a big nap followed by sushi takeout, make it known or create space for it. I used to have an attitude when my husband would forget flowers or get mad if he couldn't read my mind about what I wanted the day to be. Be clear, send links, restaurant menus, reservation info, floral shops, and lists as needed.
2. Remember Hallmark Isn't Real Life
If I'm constantly comparing this day to what it's not or what I don't have, I'm missing it. My hope is to celebrate the day I'm given, whatever it looks like - perfect, messy, crazy, or calm. I can decide to make it a joy no matter what.
3. Love On the Other Moms in Your Family.
Many of my nieces and extended family members are now moms - this year I sent them cards with handwritten notes of encouragement to celebrate all the good things they are nurturing in their family. What a privilege to remind young moms of the importance of the legacy they are building, in love.
4. Remember Moms in Heaven.
On the first day after my mom was gone, I remember when friends texted me to share kind memories of her on Mother's Day. It meant so much to me to be thought of in that season and I plan to do the same for several friends who lost their moms this year.
5. Give Your Neighbor Moms Some Love
My neighborhood is such a vibrant mix of young moms, high school moms, retired moms, stepmoms, and everything in between. They are always great about texting encouragement to each other, sharing things, borrowing things and just having spontaneous catch-up time in the yard. Take some time to celebrate moms in your neighborhood in whatever way you can - a funny text, some herbs from your yard, or reminding them how much their friendship means to you.
6. Reverse the Mom's Day Celebration
Lately, I've been thinking about the privilege of being a mom to my son, stepson, and stepdaughter. They have taught me many things about myself and made me stronger as a result. They are all older now and it's humbling to see the amazing humans they are becoming. Not for what I did, but simply to admire this part of their journey. If you have children or have people you have mothered in some way, consider celebrating and thanking them for the privilege to be part of their life, no matter how perfect or imperfect.
7. Be Your Own Best Mom.
The thing I miss most about my mom being gone is someone who reminded me of my best qualities. She was really good at listening well and saying what I longed to hear. As grown-ups, we get to be that for ourselves. This might mean tucking yourself into bed early, making yourself a cup of tea, or baking a recipe that reminds you of a sweet memory. We can honor what we need by being our own best moms to ourselves - even if it's not Mother's Day.
What about you? Who Has Mothered You Well?
How can you find joy this Mother's Day? Mother's Day can be the chance to be our own best mom to ourselves. It can also be the chance to celebrate all of our "mothers" - those who have nurtured us as if we were their own. My invitation to you is to expand the vision of Mother's Day for yourself and others, remembering and celebrating those who keep holding up your best qualities.
Celebrate Mother's Day by being your own best mom and sharing that overflow.