I was walking through Walmart with my kids the other day, something I try to do avoid for all kinds of reasons. As we were heading to checkout, I noticed several displays of Mother’s Day paraphernalia. I saw pillows stitched with the words “Happy Mother’s Day” as well as plaques reading “Best Mom Ever.”
They were all probably made very cheaply in some factory in China, designed to last a few days or weeks until completely forgotten or tossed in the trash. Which is perfect for Walmart because they expect the same pillows and plaques to be bought by the same well-meaning people at the same time next Mother’s Day.
The truth is, most moms don’t want any of that stuff.
None of us needs more clutter in the house in the form of cheap pillows that will end up on the floor to be picked up a million times a day. And no one needs a fake wood plaque telling us we’re the best mom ever. That thing will end up buried underneath a pile of random papers on the dining room table.
What moms really want for mother’s day can’t be bought at Walmart or Target.
Here’s a list of what moms really want for Mother’s Day.
Time To Ourselves
It’s not that we don’t love our families. It’s that we so rarely get time just for us. This is the number 1 thing I hear most moms say they want.
No Forced Obligations
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with “time to ourselves.” A few moms I know have said that all they want on Mother’s Day is to have a little alone time but they can’t because their own mother’s or MIL’s are demanding on their time on Mother’s Day. Honest truth: The best gift that Grandmother’s can give their own daughters on Mother’s Day is a day off. Want to spend time with your grandkids in celebration of Mother’s Day? Perfect. This way, you are getting some love and mama is getting some alone time.
My son is 3 and still pulls my hair for comfort. So when he’s home with me and I’m working, I often have a smallish person leaning on my back and pulling on my hair. Sometimes with sticky fingers. I love that being near me and holding my hair is still comforting to him. Also, mama needs some personal space.
There is a single volume in parenthood and it is the volume of a death metal concert, complete with fireworks. This loudness generally begins the moment my kids wake up and persists until they pass out, mid-sentence, while I’m trying to read books to them at night.
Quiet time is the best time and I don’t get nearly enough of it. Do you?
As much as I love being in control (and I really, really do love being in control), I’d love to have a day in which everything is already planned out and I don’t have to do anything.
Kids Who Will Eat Whatever Food is Put in Front of them Without Complaint
I know this is a pipe dream, but I’d love to be able to make a single meal for dinner and have everyone in my family eat it.
I’d love meal times to not be a huge fight over what someone will and won’t eat.
And it would be phenomenal if my kids could add a little more variety to their bread-heavy diets.
This means that not only do I not have to clean up or pick up or put away anything, but everything is also cleaned up and put away where is actually belongs.
Oh and this doesn’t mean everything is shoved into a closet or into whatever available drawer. This also doesn’t mean putting everything from the floor into a pile on top of the bed or dresser and leaving it there even after you’ve vacuumed. This means things are put away thoughtfully and intentionally where they actually belong.
You could interpret this as moms want to sleep in and some do. Here’s what it also means. Moms want kids to go to bed earlier and wake up later. It means we don’t really want our wake-up call to be an adorable toddler sitting on our chest with a diaper full of poop. We’d also love to sleep through an entire night without interruption. And we’d love to figure out how to go to bed earlier, without the added feeling like there are 50 million things to do before we go to bed.
Taking Things Off Our Plates
Have you heard about the Motherload? This is the mental load that most moms carry in their brains throughout the days and weeks and months and years of motherhood.
While my husband is really wonderful about splitting most tasks and obligations with me 50/50, it’s certainly not perfect for either one of us. There are things I carry in my head that I forget to tell him (and vice versa for him).
Most moms would love, at the very least, to take about half of the things on their to-do list off of it. This could mean acknowledging that some things just aren’t as important and choosing not to do them. It could also mean delegating and asking their partner to take the kids to the dentist or make a quick run to the grocery store.
A Full Day of Self-Care
This is a biggie for a few reasons, but the idea of it is problematic.
Here’s why: Many moms don’t actively take time for themselves on all other days, so they want it all on Mother’s Day. There’s a huge flaw there, though. If you save up all of your self-care for one day a year, you start to make self-care too precious and special. I really believe that self-care is an everyday practice and most of it is fairly mundane, consistent, and familiar. These are good things. That means you are doing the important work of taking care of your basic daily needs and feeling nurtured by yourself every day.
I strongly advocate for doing the opposite of this and learning how to incorporate small, significant self-care practices into your every day routines so you don’t have to wait for the one day a year when it’s “ok to do self-care all day.” If you want to learn how, join my FREE Self-Care Reset!
To be Seen and Appreciated
This last one comes directly from a response to a post I made on facebook about what moms really want on Mother’s Day. One mama said exactly this: “All I want is to be seen and to be appreciated.”
So much of the work we do as moms is invisible. Much of it isn’t even considered “work.” And yet, we go to work everyday as caregivers, cuddlers, meal preparers, teachers, hand holders, kitchen floor sweepers, laundry folders, and errand runners.
Acknowledging the work we do daily makes us, as moms, feel less like house elves (yes, that’s a Harry Potter reference) and more like human beings. Thank you’s are always appreciated. And not just on Mother’s Day.
I know you might be wondering about the things that didn’t make my list.
Some of the more conventional Mother’s Day gifts like flowers or breakfast in bed or a day at the spa.
I’m not saying that flowers aren’t nice. I love getting flowers, whether they’re arranged professionally or still have some dirt and roots clinging to them when presented by small, grubby hands.
Some moms love it when their kids make them breakfast and bring it to them in bed. I’d hate that. First of all, sleeping in doesn’t make my personal Mother’s Day list but also the idea of eating in bed grosses me out.
A day at the spa sounds divine. Mostly. Of course I’d also need some childcare and most spas don’t provide children’s playrooms or babysitting.
Also, it would depend on the spa. If you could fly me out to Napa to the amazing spa I went to about 10 years ago for a 30th birthday party, I’d do that. If you just mean a place where I can get my nails done, no thanks.
I can say, however, with a reasonable amount of confidence, that lots of moms want the things I’ve listed above. We want to make fewer decisions and just have a day of play, adventure, and fun. Or we could go for a day of reading in a quiet nook, eating chocolate with noise canceling headphones on.
Have anything to add to this list? Leave it in the comments below!
And if you’re looking for ways that you can incorporate more personal space, quiet time, and self-care in to your life, join me for my upcoming Self-Care Reset beginning May 19th. This FREE 5-Day Challenge will help you rebuild your self-care practices and recommit to yourself!