A memorable Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be elaborate; the simple sentiments often make the biggest impression on mom. Why not express your admiration in writing and give her the gift of your undivided attention (whether at a sweet brunch or via FaceTime if you are states apart)?
Below are a few Mother’s Day Etiquette tips to consider as you pull together something for that special woman in your life.
Go with your instincts. Every mom is different, so relying on the often generic recommendations of your favorite online store may not be your best option. If she’s a tech mom, the Apple watch or a tech gadget may be a fun surprise. For the mom who travels, a new stylish tote or Bose headphones will remind her of you. If you’re likely to find her at hot yoga every Saturday morning, adding to her colorful collection of fitness tops will make her smile. Most importantly, your gift should communicate that you pay attention to her likes and hobbies.
Remember those who helped shape you. Whether a mentor, big sister, special aunt, mother-in-law or stepmom, the women who had a positive influence on your life often extend far beyond your mother. By all means give your stepmother a gift if she raised you, or to show deference to her as a valuable part of your family. Most stepmoms share a close bond with their stepchildren and it would be hurtful to overlook their influence and importance.
Set a date. Sharing Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be on the exact day if you have several special people to celebrate. Spread the visits out in advance and pick a date that works for each person you would like to honor. If you can’t be there to celebrate your mother-in-law’s day, make sure you send a gift with a note handwritten from you. When possible, it’s best that the entire family visit together – including your teenage children.
Start with the card. We often put quite a bit of time and effort into finding the perfect gift, but pay little attention to the card. Most moms would agree, the most special part of the gift is often the sentiment included in the Mother’s Day card. Let your mom, or special person in your life, know why you appreciate and love them in writing. Cite specific examples to make the gesture personal. “Things I admire about you…” is a helpful prompt as you begin your message.
Pool your resources.
Designate a time when most of the family can get together and give it to her from the group. My most cherished gift was a digital picture frame loaded with all my kids’ special events. One vacation I had the unfortunate experience of getting frustrated with a costumed “Tigger” at Disneyland who couldn’t seem to make it to our children’s table, sidelined by a group of teenage girls he obviously knew in another life. Years later my sweet children thought it was extra humorous to include a picture of that memorable dining disaster, reminding me that I may be the only mother in the world that yelled at Tigger!
Give mom the gift she wants, not what you think she needs. If she collects inexpensive bracelets and you know she would love even more, don’t hesitate to find the perfect gift. You may think “she has enough,” but if it’s what she prefers, the gift is for her, not you. A friend of mine is making her mother a drawer full of pot holders because every time they go antiquing her mom spends most of her time looking at the craft booth, ogling the variety of handmade squares of material. Done!
Acknowledge other moms on Mother’s Day. If you go out to eat at a restaurant, take special note if your server is also a mom, working on her special day. Leave her extra gratuity, or buy a few gift cards to surprise people who aren’t able to spend time with their own children. Extend the kindness by gifting a best friend, neighbor or church daycare worker with a traditional Mother’s Day carnation.
For more of my Mother’s Day Etiquette, check out my article: Your Mother’s Day Etiquette Q and A.