Spring comes around the corner bringing a bounty of flowers and gentle breezes filled with the sweet music of birds. Husbands and wives can take deep breaths of relief knowing that the taxing, expensive holidays are behind them (or yet to come). This makes room for some of the gentler, more introspective celebrations of life.
As we enter the month of May, the idea of cherishing those important maternal figures in our lives comes into focus. Motherís Day offers the opportunity to show how much they are appreciated. Whether or not you have children, Motherís Day allows each one of us to turn special attention to the mothers and mother-figures in our lives. For those who are parents or parents-to-be, Motherís Day takes on another generation of meaning and responsibility. Being a mother is no easy task! This treasured day, which occurs on the second Sunday in May, allows us to honor mothers and motherhood.
There are times that couples struggle over these cherished holidays. If a couple has children, the wife hopes to be celebrated and cherished as the mother figure. Yet each partner may have their own mother or grandmother to honor. Add on stepmothers and other important mother figures, and this precious, well-intentioned holiday can become unwieldy very quickly!
Take a deep breath, let go, and focus on two words: "Loving compromise!" With that simple motto in your hip pocket, celebrations like Motherís Day become a great deal easier and happier. After all, a very "Happy Motherís Day" is the common goal. Itís just getting there that might take a bit of work. Now, knowing that you both have the same ultimate objective in mind, try the simple steps outlined below to create a delightful day that will be happily remembered for years to come.
1. Love-Compromise-Respect: Remember that this is a day for honoring mothers and motherhood. When an issue arises, act based upon the ideals of love and compromise. Add a very healthy dose of respectful behavior and difficult choices tend to melt away. (Dads, donít worry, Fatherís Day offers lots of honor and perks for you, too!)
2. Role Model Love: When possible, keep the focus on your wifeóespecially if she is a mom or mom-to-be. Itís important to remember that children learn how to treat their mothers (and other women in their lives) by observing how parents behave. So, in putting your wife first and foremost, your children watch and learn how to be caring, loving childrenóand caring, loving parents in the course of time.
3. To Acknowledge is to Honor: Find time to acknowledge the other mothers in your lives. Whether your own mothers or stepmothers live near or far, itís a wonderful idea to remember these important women by sending a card, flowers, or a thoughtful gift. Money is not the object; it is truly the thought that counts. Many mothers would enjoy a handmade card or bouquet of wildflowers just as much (if not more) than a store-bought gift.
4. Collaborate and Create: If too many obligations crowd the day (his mother, her mother, a darling grandmother, etc.) and a joint gathering isnít possible, divide the day in to "chunks." Work collaboratively to find gentle time of an hour or two with each mother or mother figure. Keep the time together simple and easy, whether by packing a light lunch, meeting at a park, or treating your loved ones to a delightful treat. If schedules and logistics create difficulties, consider arranging an alternative "Special Motherís Day" to individually honor the important women in your life. In most cases, the loving women you want to honor wonít mind a shift in the timingóespecially if an alternate celebration date is offered in advance.
“Think of simple acts of loving kindness you can offer. Then, before you change your mind, act on those loving thoughts!”
5. Avoid Avoiding: Celebrations can be especially frustrating for spouses who have a tendency to avoid difficult or problematic situations. Unfortunately, avoidance behavior rarely has a good long-term outcome. Thinking that you can avoid events and celebrations by simply ignoring them doesnít pay off well in marriages. Real damage can be done to relationships when loved ones feel ignored oróworse yetóunloved. No one likes to be forgottenóespecially Mom! So, remember that love is the key idea on Motherís Day. Holding onto anxiety, anger, or frustration may lead to avoidance that, in turn, leads to less harmonious relationships. If this is an issue for you, take a moment to reflect on how you might be able to honor the mothers in your life. Think of simple acts of loving kindness you can offer. Then, before you change your mind, act on those loving thoughts!
6. Be Creative: Consider treating your wife to an outdoor "breakfast in the garden" as an alternative to breakfast in bed. Your wife might even adore a relaxing, candlelit evening bath while you put the kids to bed. A gift certificate for a manicure could be just what delights your too-far-away mother. A light cafť lunch might be a perfect idea for your stepmother. If your grandmother lives far away, a box of chocolates or thoughtful card might do the trick. Donít forget the power of a simple, loving phone call to let those special moms in your life know you didnít forget them on Motherís Day.
7. Shower Her with Love: Take a few moments the week before Motherís Day to create a list of those special mothers in your life. Remember that love is not found in "things," but in the way we express our love and appreciation for those who are special to us. If your schedule, geography, or finances limit you this Motherís Day, you can still shower those special mothers in your life with the time-honored gift of a personal note. All it takes is a few minutes, a postage stamp, and a piece of paper. For each lovely mother in your life, write out a thoughtful, simple list of the things you appreciate about that person. Write "Open on Motherís Day" on the front above the address, pop it in the mail, and youíll surprise a very special someone with the greatest treasure of allófeeling your love on Motherís Day!
Celebrations, big and small, give us the opportunity to reflect on the many ways that our loved ones are woven into the fabric of our lives. Occasions such as Motherís Day give us one day in the entire year to reach out and demonstrateóin simple, heartfelt waysóour heartfelt love and admiration. So, give from your heart with abandon, and let those moms in your life know how much you care!
And, a personal, special message to all those mothers out there: Thank you for doing all that you do to model love, grace, and kindness. Thank you for nurturing, cherishing, and loving your children. Most of all, thank you for being you! Happy Motherís Day!
Dr. Carla Marie Greco has her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a private practice in Santa Rosa, California. Dr. Greco specializes in the treatment of anxiety, trauma, depression, grief, and life transition issues. Her greatest goal is to offer services to those in need, offering select appointments on a "sliding scale" for those who have serious financial constraints. Pro bono services, including EMDR, are available for our veterans suffering from issues such as combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex PTSD. Dr. Greco is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Redwood Psychological Association. For more, visit www.drcarlagreco.com.