What Mums really want this Mothers Day
What is Mothers Day really about?
Mothers Day is supposed to be about showing gratitude to the Mama for all that she does. A day where we in invite community care into her life. Her family. Her friends. Her wider community to support her needs, to fill her cup and to remind her that she is valued. Right? Yet sometimes it just end up being an added chore for mum. Especially when the kids are little. She finds herself running around trying to find that perfect something for her own Mum or Mum-in-Law. Getting the kids in gear to write a card or draw a picture or make something special. Not to mention often picking up a little something for herself so the kids can wrap it and give it back. Which kind of defeats the purpose of her getting to enjoy her own special day. It's not necessarily that the Dad's aren't trying, but, well how do we put this...marketing and expectations (and life) can be pretty overwhelming when one gets out there trying to find the 'perfect' present. And often, the best of intentions can lead to some fairly ummmmm...."you know" kinda gifts. The fact that the day is focused on the ‘gift’ as the message of love says a lot in itself.
I have heard one mum announce “Mothers Day should be the day that she just gets up, walks out the door. ALONE. And gets to do whatever she wants. No kids attached. No responsibility." No doubt many of you might be thinking that's a bit much, and that you really love the day out with your bub/kids. Which is awesome. I do too. What this mum was basically trying to say is that what she wants and deserves, as we all do, is for some time to herself to just be HER! She wants her partner to take full responsibility and let her step back. She does not want to have to organise food, and clothes, and get the kids ready and her ready, and manage the kids and their overstimulated selves, all in the name of everyone saying "Thanks mum for all that you do. You are really special, and you really deserve a break". Cos that's kinda not a relaxing day for her.
So, just in case you are secretly thinking 'Amen Sista', and would like a bit of her wish come true on your Mothers day, or perhaps another day soon after, I have collated a bunch of other gentle but clear suggestions that I have gleamed from my wider village of mamas of what we might really wish for this Mothers Day. Feel free to forward this message onto your partner for some 'gentle' guidance. ‘Gifts’ that are more about value, less about marketing.
A letter to your partner
This Mothers Day is fast approaching (days away now), and you may be thinking about wanting to buy her a gift to celebrate the day. Because she loves you, and does not know how to put it, please let me save you anguish by clarifying a few things. We mums in general are in want and NEED of some pretty simple stuff, Not much of it you can buy in a Mothers Day sale. All of it will be valued and any of it will go to making her day that much more special.
We DO NOT want a bunch of Mothers Day marketing ‘stuff’ just because it's Mothers Day
I am aware that every single store is trying to tell you that we do, but the truth is, unless you know that she does want something specific, there is a good chance that everything else will be something more she needs to be grateful for, wear, carry or display. That she will love because she loves the people that gifted it to her, but otherwise...meh.
Unless she has made it very clear that she does need something, she probably DOES NOT need pyjamas, cheap jewellery, or even expensive jewellery (although she might if you were thinking along this line), a new handbag, clothes she did not choose, shoes or some ornament to display. Because the chances are one of the reasons that she love you IS NOT your impeccable fashion sense in regards to any of the above (no offense), nor the perceived fashion sense of the Mothers Day craze Sales. She loves you for far more important qualities.
A last minute gift of roadside flowers & chocolate screams after thought
Okay, for me, there is never a bad time for chocolate. And some of the roadside flowers are gorgeous, and offer bouquets that are outstanding. But we do not want it to feel like an after thought or forced action. Like the only thought and effort into your message of “we value you and all that you do” involved you taking five to pull to the side of the road on the way home. Instead, take five to think about all the small actions that she does throughout the year that collate to make your home what it is. Reflect on that and ask yourself how you can in turn say thank you.
What would completely float her boat this Mothers Day?
We would love to be treated to a day out with our family without being responsible for the logistics of making it happen!
If you could plan it, pack the picnic or book a favourite venue, pack the nappies, the change of clothes (for when someone falls into a creek or something), and manage the kids all day so she can chill, you have nailed the brief. This day can be as financially free or expensive as you wish. The $$ value does not reflect the value of the gift. The value comes in the time spent together and your effort to see that she can enjoy it without having to plan and manage everything. And this day does not end the moment you get home. Helping to UNPACK the car, hang out wet clothes, clean up the picnic, bathe and put the kids to bed, or run a bath for mum and send her to bed. The whole day is her gift and it is priceless.
Oh and remember to take photos for her please. With her actually in the picture, not behind the camera. I promise you this really really matters. I put this up top because it's my favourite kind of day out, and love it when my man organises it for me.
What we wouldn't give not to feel tired!
Although we may absolutely love the idea of spending Mothers Day with the family, or visiting our own mums, we are completely open to a 'claim it later' kinda gift that aims to top up our energy tank. This could actually cost you nothing in $$, but will ask for commitment from you and the kids to make it happen. Maybe you could get the kids to draw up vouchers or a gift card, something like sleep in for a month of Sundays, or Tuesdays Nights = Early Night. Whatever creative plan you come up with would be amazing, but please don't let there be fine-print such as "on the condition that you have breakfast/dinner ready, and all school lunches for the next day done."
Noooo Daddy. What we are talking about is Mama Bear legitimately signing off early, and you stepping into her shoes and getting it all done for her. The only fine-print condition need be that "I Mama Bear, am willing to accept that you will get it done, and even though it is different to how I would do it. I understand that you are perfectly capable. I trust you to do the job without looking over your shoulder, or commenting because it is not how I would do it. I understand that there is more than one way to get stuff done, and it is no fun for you if I go and critisize everything that you try to do*.
Let's be honest Mama's, we can be guilty of this. He's not going to be willing to persist if he's feeling judged about everything he's trying to do.
It is easy to forget who you are as Mother. Help her find a piece of herself.
The thing is, no mater how much we love to be with you and the kids (and we really really do), we cannot help feeling a little smothered at times. We all find ourselves wondering where that lady went that used to live in this body BC (Before Children). Our interests are shelved for a while as our hearts and hands are filled with babies. But our interests are still there! Renewing an old hobby, or beginning a new one we may have expressed interest in would be Ahmaaaazing! Sport, art, music - Would you consider gifting a workshop, or season, or semester (that's generally 10 weeks) of weekly "me time" in something that can help her focus completely on herself again?
Or you could make it as simple as sending her out with the girls for a guilt free day/night out.
*Tip - The guilt often comes from within her, not because of anything you do. Can you help her to release it? Remind her she will be a better Mother, better example to her children if she is showing them she is embracing her passions and living her best life. She will also be a better partner and person. Because happiness in pursuit of passion makes us all a better person.
We need you to encourage us to invest in better self care?
Continuing on with the message about investing in herself, lets consider what self care may look like for Mum. And why it is likely neglected. In general, too many of us feel guilty if we even consider doing something for ourselves. We need you to remind us we deserve it. To remind us we need it, if we are to be the best version of ourselves. Once again the results: We will be happier. We will be energised. We will have more enthusiasm. For everything. Including YOU!
Time is also a factor as making time for herself can be the most difficult component to self care for many mums. And so self-care may take some community care. Your ‘GIFT’ begins with thinking about how you can help her make the time available. Can you step in where needed? Can you organise a sitter (paid or family or friends) to step in for a regular gig to give mum some regular time to invest in herself.
In choosing what self-care may look like for the Mum in your world, it takes consideration of her unique self, her interests and her needs. Choose wisely by thinking about what that may be. Was there a time she went to weekly yoga and loved it? Does she love meditation and would love a retreat? Is she a suppressed 80's Rock fan that is slowly dying under the barage of Wiggles and kids tunes who needs to hit a regular cover band at the local pub? Or does she just need to know that you know every Saturday Morning Mummy gets to take a walk/drive, and enjoy an hour to herself, completely uninterrupted, to do anything she wants. Is she suffering in pain, and in need of a massage? Maybe even regular massage for a while (perhaps monthly) to help manage her pain) Does she need one night a week, every week, to soak in a bath, oils diffusing, wine in one hand, book in another. Once you find her 'thing', this weekly top up to her mind and body could be the perfect gift. And once again the financial budget is dependant and separate to the priceless value in the thought you put into this and actually making time for it.
Introduce a new family tradition
Is there something the mum in your life has been wanting to introduce, encourage or solidify in your home? If so this this is the perfect time to show her you are listening and value her wish. I mean the wish itself may not mean much to you, but if it does to her, helping her make this possible makes it all the more special. And you might just learn to love it yourself. Gift her with a voucher promising a new tradition. Dinner round the table with no tv. Monthly date nights, just the 2 of you. Monthly Sunday day dates with your kids, 1 on 1. Friday night beach picnics to begin your weekend. Games night (technology free). Only you know what feels right for your family. And if you aren’t sure, why not ask.
We love when our kids put in the effort to make us something. We love it love even more to know that you put in the effort to instigate it!
What else can I say? School and kindy crafts are amazing and mums love them, but the kind of creation you and the kids would make together will have it's own unique stamp and a place in the heart forever. Especially if you clean up all the glue and glitter later. Unlike school crafts, when you choose to do this together, you can tailor the crafting to really focus on the individual woman! As your children grow, glitter and glue can be replaced by wood and hammers or paint or garden beds or whatever your imaginations come up with when thinking about mum.
It would be so nice to appreciate a clean house, without having to do it!
Not only would it say, without words, how much you appreciate what we do, but to wake up to, or step in to a tidy home, washed floors, an empty laundry basket, as in washed folded AND PUT AWAY clothes, and/or kids rooms tidied are the kinds of things that send a wave of gratitude through us that melts all tension. You may find everyone benefits here. If you are time poor or FIFO, perhaps a regular cleaner may be a consideration.
PS. This should not only be for Mothers Day. If your family does not already pull together to help in the home, Mothers Day is the perfect time to make a promise that this will become a new family norm.
Say it, and show that you MEAN IT!
When you NOTICE that she has cleaned up, that the kids are organised and ready to go out the door, that she has coordinated their extra-curricular, managed dinner on the table, and that she happens to look effortlessly and casually hot (hint: that's when she has clean hair, and clean clothes on, because you love her for her, not her outfit), please let her know that you noticed. Let her know that you notice all the little things that she does to make your house a home, and your family happy. It takes a hell of a lot of effort to maintain the standard level of mess that families with children live in. If we actually did nothing, believe me, it would be so much worse. Tell her you notice and appreciate it. Better yet, find little ways to SHOW HER. Raising kids is like signing up to a degree in Time Management. Getting anywhere on time deserves a freakin' ribbon.
Please let her know you are grateful for all her background work so you can throw on your shorts and shirt, and wander to the car. Better yet, ask, "What can I do to help us get out the door?"
When we are Stay At Home Mums in this modern society, it can be a very difficult thing to go from being completely indapendant working women, to stepping into a more traditional role of housewife. We need you to remember we are a team, and that what we do, caring for OUR children is equally, if not more important. Please build us up and remind us how special we are.
When we are Working Mums, and feel the pressure of juggling our job or business, and maintaining a home and balance of family life, we need you to remember that we are a team, and share the house load so we have equal limited, but precious time with our children. Please build us up and remind us how special we are.
PS. this again is more a tip for year round better communication and family relations. If it is not already happening, let this day be the first of your new norm. Recognition and appreciation.
Mothers Day is supposed to be about showing gratitude to the Mama in your life. Celebrating her awesomeness. Your efforts and attentions will ALWAYS trump anything a Mothers Day sale can offer. The added bonus- most these suggestions will give you more valued one on one time with your kids and your whole family. It's like a gift to the whole family.
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