Ryan Shepard
About Author
May 2, 2024
Mom Life

Mother's Day: What Moms Really Want This Year

As Mother's Day approaches, I find myself thinking back on the evolving nature of this special day for me—from the innocence of childhood to the profound experience of now being a mother myself. Having been a daughter to arguably the best mama that has ever existed for 37 years and a mother for three, I've got a good amount of insight into what truly makes Mother's Day meaningful.

When I was a little girl, my siblings and I usually marked Mother's Day by serving up breakfast in bed and presenting my mom with grocery store flowers and homemade cards. Of course as the oldest daughter, the task of actually figuring out what to do for our mom always fell to me (but that's a story for another day chileeee). As I grew up and moved away from home, Mother's Day shifted to long-distance phone calls and maybe a spa gift certificate. While these gestures were thoughtful, there were honestly perfunctory. I knew we had to do something to let my mom know how much we loved her but a lot of the times, I cobbled something together and presented the idea to my siblings last minute. Of course, my mom was always gracious and thankful but, as I navigate motherhood now, I realize there's so much more that goes into celebrating the incredible women in our lives than bullshit last minute gifts.

I've come to appreciate the sacrifices my own mother made—the dreams she deferred and the constant prioritization of her family's needs above her own and I approach this holiday differently. There is SO MUCH that goes into motherhood and almost all of it is invisible labor. Too often, the work that women and mothers do goes unseen and underappreciated. Being a mother, is like having 12 tabs open on your computer at all time except the computer is your brain and the tabs are everything you're responsible for. And sure, gifts like robes, coffee mugs, perfume or a fancy new KitchenAid mixer are lovely (and often practical) but, most of the "gifts" that top many Mother's Day idea lists are more times than not, also tools for service. Things she can use to help cook better, clean better or lounge around in, not necessarily gifts that speak to who she is as an autonomous human being with wants, needs and desires independent of her role within the family structure.

If you truly want to celebrate the woman who keeps everything in your world running smoothly—making sure your favorite things remain stocked, managing various appointments, figuring out meals, and juggling countless other responsibilities—consider what she wants as a woman, not just as a wife or mother. Maybe it is breakfast in bed made by the kids and a simple card, but it also might be (likely is) something more profound.

Is she overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood? Book her a night alone in a hotel while you handle the kids (or if you're able call in the grandparents). Does she struggle with how much her body has changed post-baby? Treat her to a shopping spree at her favorite store. Has she hinted at a special piece of jewelry or a new purse she's had her eye on for a while? (Ahem, Shep!)—go for it.

Right now you're probably thinking, "those options are too expensive for me!" Maybe they are, but consider this: it's often so easy to find money and time for things we perceive as essential, like home repairs or savings accounts. However, I'd argue that investing in the well-being of the family's backbone—ahem, mama—can have an immeasurable impact. So, whip out that wallet, put some actual thought into how you want her to feel this Mother's Day, and make it happen.

This year, I'm begging you to go beyond the cliché of "it's the thought that counts." Put real thought, action, and yes, a little money into celebrating the mom(s) in your life. Make her feel like the queen she truly is because when she feels appreciated and valued, everything else falls into place.

Here's to celebrating all the amazing moms out there.

Happy Mother's Day!

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