How To Make Your Mom Really Happy this Mothers Day (Hint: It Doesn’t Come in a Box)

published May 8, 2015
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(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

No matter how opposed one may be to commercialized holidays, the fact remains that Sunday, May 10 is a day that most mothers will hope for a bit of acknowledgment and a day that husbands and children really really should do something for the mothers and special women in their lives. While I’d like to remind all the mothers that expectation is the mother of disappointment (I remind myself of this with every impending special day), I’d also like to let everyone else in on a little secret about what I can guarantee will make every mom happy.

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To put it succinctly: every mother wants to feel loved and appreciated on Mother’s Day — and, no, this doesn’t (necessarily) come in a box.

I’ve been reading The Five Love Languages of Children and am reminded again of how we each tend to feel loved most when love is expressed in a certain way, when our “primary love language” is spoken to us, to put it in the language of the book. According to author Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five love languages, as follows: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, and acts of service. You can probably already feel the ah-ha! coming….

To make Mom feel loved and appreciated, take some time to think about what would make her, personally, feel loved and make an effort to speak her love language.

Quality time. A mom of young children who craves some quiet time alone may not be moved by an extravagant bouquet (although she would know that was an expression of love). On the other hand, it would probably mean the world to an empty-nester if all her children could be together with her.

Words of affirmation. If your mother is the type to get smiley and thankful when you say things like, “You’re such a good cook. Thanks for an awesome dinner,” or “Mom, I just love being with you” by all means, say all those things on Mother’s Day. If it’s too much to utter the words out loud, pour your heart out in a card. And tell her the things you think but haven’t ever said like, “I remember you tucking me in every single night and I never felt as safe as I did in those moments.” I’m tearing up just writing this (yes, I’m a words of affirmation gal), and let me assure you that to a WOA mother, your heartfelt words will stay with her forever.

Gifts. Moms who feel loved through gifts might seem to be the easiest. However, keep in mind that a really great gift shows thought and consideration about what a particular mother enjoys and wants. Some moms would be horrified at the gift of a vacuum cleaner or snazzy pressure cooker; others would be thrilled. Be careful. Love your mother with knowledge. Of course, there’s the usual: flowers, candies, chocolates, promises you don’t intend to keep… whoa, whoa, whoa wrong relationship. Some ideas to get you started: what hobbies does Mom enjoy, what has she been talking about but felt too guilty to buy, what’s on her Amazon wish list?

Physical touch. Make sure to give a mother who feels loved through physical touch lots of hugs, kisses, shoulder rubs, and snuggles from the (little) kids. While a massage not be appreciated by a woman who doesn’t like to be touched, a day at the spa could be just the thing for a mom who likes physical touch.

Acts of service. This is a good one, and also pretty easy, I think. For a mom who feels loved through acts of service, take on some of the daily tasks she’s usually responsible for. Here’s where breakfast in bed, a clean house, and taking the kids out in the morning so Mommy can sleep in fill up a mother’s heart. You could also make some coupons or have the kids make some with titles like “Mommy’s off-duty night/morning” or “We’ll clean the car!!”

Mother’s Day shouldn’t be just about gifts and spending money. Showing Mom you know her, you see her, you hear her, you appreciate her, and oh how much you love her — that’s what it’s about, that’s what will make any Mom happy. And a little jewelry (selected with her very particular and immaculate taste firmly in mind) doesn’t ever hurt either.