Mother’s Day is coming up! Maybe you’re the mom in question, or you want to plan the perfect day for your own mother—or a combination of both. In addition to finding the right gift, make this day a truly special one, with an emphasis on Mom feeling valued and appreciated. Here are five ideas for celebrating motherhood with a day that’s truly meaningful.
1. A DAY FOR FAMILY
Moms relate to their children and their partners every day, but often it’s about getting everyone out the door, or arranging classes, playdates, and pick-ups from school or daycare. In other words—logistics. For Jasmin, mother of a toddler, her perfect Mother’s Day is about “relaxation, and doing something with my family. Being a mother is about me and my child, and me and my husband.” Last year, she took a long walk with her husband and son and had a picnic in the park. “I’d like to do something like that again.” This year, forget about structure—your only plan for a relaxing day with family should be to pack a picnic lunch (or better yet, pick up sandwiches from a local deli or have your husband take care of the preparations). The emphasis should be on an uncomplicated day spent with your family.
Read Related: Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts
2. A DAY OF COOKING
“Recently, my mom had minor eye surgery, so I arranged to pick her up from the doctor and spend the rest of the afternoon with her in case she wasn’t feeling well,” says Luna. “It turned out she felt just fine, so we went to the market, picked out some fresh ingredients, and spent the afternoon cooking together. She showed me a great recipe for stir-fry, and then we ate dinner together in her backyard. It was wonderful.” Try to recreate a day like that—minus the eye surgery—with your Mom. Whether she’s showing you her incomparable recipe for paella or you’re just putting together a simple chicken and rice dish, it’s a great way to spend time together. Lingering over the art of cooking a meal is a lot different than throwing a meal together for the whole family. And the best part of all? Talking into the night over a home-cooked meal. You can invite the rest of the family, or make it a girl’s night in, just the two of you.
3. A DAY WITHOUT CHORES
A mother’s work is never done, whether it’s hauling out of bed at an ungodly hour to put breakfast together, changing diapers, getting the kids ready for swim class, picking up hubby’s dry cleaning… you get the idea. Mothers can often feel as though their day consists of an endless cycle of dishes, laundry, and other necessary but mundane tasks and errands. Breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day is nice, but why not take it a step further and give Mom a chore-free 24 hours? A homemade voucher is a sweet way to make your intentions known—but make sure you follow up. If you make breakfast, don’t forget to do the dishes. If Junior has a full diaper, swoop right in and change it. By nighttime, you’ll see just why this Day Without Chores is a gift that is richly deserved by the mom who does it every day as a matter of course. And if you really want to up the ante, treat Mom to a one-time housekeeper who will leave things sparkling.
4. A DAY OF BEAUTY
It seems like a cliché; a woman who plays hooky from her responsibilities and hits the spa or the nail salon. But for many busy moms, getting their beauty on feels like a long-forgotten ritual. “I used to get my highlights done regularly,” laments Brooke. “But now it just seems like such a self-indulgent thing to do.” Well, Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be all about the family; after all, for most mothers, every day is family day. Instead, babysit the kids and let Mom have a day filled with color that doesn’t come in the form of finger paints: a visit to the hair salon, a relaxing mani-pedi, or a long, in-depth confab with the eyebrow expert at your local swanky mall’s makeup counter. The result is a mother who feels just as beautiful as she does valued and appreciated, not to mention rejuvenated for her full-time job as Mom. And a gift certificate for all of the above with a message about how deserving she is of such luxury is just the way to make the day that much more meaningful and relaxing. Want to make really special? Schedule the appointment for her at her favorite salon.
5. A DAY FOR THREE GENERATIONS
“We get together with the whole family a lot,” says Bianca. “But I can’t remember the last time I spent the day with my son and my mom, just the three of us.” Growing up, your mom was the center of your universe; now you’re a mom yourself. And while your mother may occasionally pluck at your last nerve with comments about your children (“Is he warm enough in that coat?” or “You let her eat that for dinner?”), the truth is that she has real advice to pass on and important family traditions to share. To that end, let your husband fend for himself (this is Mother’s Day, after all) and make the day about three generations of family—your mom, your child, and you.