How to Survive Mother’s Day

By: Bored in Vernal
May 8, 2011

I am the proud survivor of 26 Mother’s Days as an LDS mother, and they haven’t all been easy! Today’s the day I share some of my survival tips with all of you.

1. Learn that Mother’s Day is not about you. I’m not sure exactly what Mother’s Day is all about. But once I learned it wasn’t about making me happy, I enjoyed it so much more. The disappointment was gone and I could flow with whatever happened (or didn’t happen!)

2. Help your family succeed. The husband and the children may have difficulty making this day a success on their own, as mine do. The younger children often become disappointed when they are caught without anything to give. By all means, go out and buy yourself some lovely things to give to your husband to pass out to the children.

3. Forgive your mother, just for this one day. My mother and I had issues all of my life. One year, as I was reading “Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood,” I had an epiphany. My mother had done the best she could. She wasn’t actually trying to hurt me or be a horrible mother. She had done what she was capable of.  Remember: there is no place in your psyche that you can escape your mother. “A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.” Make peace with that inner mother, for today.

4. Celebrate your mother, grandmother, and other mother figures that you know. Do something special and meaningful for them. Try sending anonymous gifts to the elderly or shut-ins. Little gestures are best. Don’t put too much time or money into this. Make it fun for yourself. If it’s not fun, don’t do it.

5. Don’t make Church too personal. Be detached. Think: “That was probably a comforting talk for Sister Jones to hear.” Think: “Brother Fry’s talk really honored his mother. How nice that he remembers his childhood fondly.” If someone wants to give you a flower, take the flower. If they don’t give you a flower, let it pass. Just let this be one of those screwy Sundays that happen sometimes.

6. Do the planning yourself. Announce ahead of time: “For Mother’s Day, we are all going on a picnic!” or, “Let’s go to that new Italian restaurant.” or, “After Church I’m going to spend three hours by myself in my room reading.” Then thank everyone profusely for giving you the kind of Mother’s Day you wanted.

7. Grieve for your deceased mother. After my husband’s parents died, he felt like an orphan, even though he was in his 40′s. Mother’s Day is a sad time for him. It helps when I encourage him to tell the children stories of his mother. He enjoys remembering her in this way. Others might visit the cemetery with flowers, light candles in front of her picture, or write memorial poetry and thoughts.

8. Ignore the day. Some women, for a variety of reasons, may find Mother’s Day excruciatingly painful. If you are having a hard year, don’t feel obliged to be a part of the holiday. Skip Church, head out into nature, go to a movie. Extend an invitation to some friends who don’t have children to come over for dinner and game night.

9. Don’t succumb to the commercialization of Mother’s Day. Make your cards. If you don’t have much money, don’t send expensive floral arrangements! Instead, make phone calls, send free e-cards, or make a personal visit.

10. Enjoy whatever you are given. Most mothers are wonderful at this. We love flowers in plastic cups, homemade cards, gifts that are too expensive, things that we don’t need or want. One year a friend received the gift of a plunger and toilet bowl cleaning set from her husband. She received it graciously and saved her laughter and groans for her best friends the next day. We have laughed hilariously about this gift so many times over the years!

Please add any of your Mother’s Day survival tips if you feel so inclined. Happy Mother’s Day to all my blog friends!


12 Responses to How to Survive Mother’s Day

  1. alice on May 8, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    Great advice and a truly lovely illustration.

    My favorite? “By all means, go out and buy yourself some lovely things to give to your husband to pass out to the children.”

    On my very first Mother’s Day, still pregnant, I bought myself a big hairy Kitchen Aid mixer that we couldn’t afford (BUT it was on sale). I knew it was something that my husband would never think of. I took it to the gift wrap station at the store. I paid for the premium wrapping with the gaudy bow. I sat there and enjoyed it while some young woman huffed and puffed through lifting and turning the massive box to wrap it. Then I took it home and opened it.

    I enjoyed the whole experience enormously.

    I don’t remember today whether my husband remembered to get me an Almost-Mother’s Day present or not. But I’ve still got the mixer and I’ve still got the husband and kids and I’ve always thought the love and regard I get all through the year are what really count. So every time there’s an occasion I go out and buy myself something I’ll really enjoy and then just enjoy the attention and whatever thing the hubs and kids buy too.

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  2. CatherineWO on May 8, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Best Mother’s Day post ever, BiV. Wise words.
    Mothr’s Day is difficult for me on so many levels, not the least of which is because I miss my own mother so very much. Thanks for helping me put things in a different perspective today.

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  3. Stephen Marsh on May 8, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    My mother had done the best she could. She wasn’t actually trying to hurt me or be a horrible mother. She had done what she was capable of.

    I really wish more people understood that about their parents.

    The entire post was great. ’nuff said.

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  4. E on May 8, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    Words of wisdom. Great post!

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  5. ZD Eve on May 8, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    Excellent advice, BinV. But I think my favorite line may be this:

    I’m not sure exactly what Mother’s Day is all about.

    I’m not sure, either.

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  6. hawkgrrrl on May 8, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    What a terrific post and reminder for us all! I was fortunate to have one of the best Mother’s Days ever yesterday, and it’s because I followed these same types of tips. I got a homemade vase from my daughter, a rose at church to put in it, both my sons gave talks at church (bonus – I didn’t have to help write them given the topic!), my husband let me take an uninterrupted 2 hour nap in the afternoon, and I made brownies while we watched Harry Potter on DVD. A nearly perfect day.

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  7. Course Correction on May 8, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    Mothers’ Day is about me and I make sure of that by following your step #6 and do the planning myself. We participate in the Susan Komen Race for the Cure the Saturday before, then have a family BBQ–with the daughters and their dad doing the cooking.

    Sunday our daughters honor their mothers-in-law and I lounge around in pajamas all day. No, I do not attend church to hear sappy stories about angelic mothers. I have a wonderful time for 2 whole days!

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  8. Troth Everyman on May 8, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Lovely advice!

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  9. Mike S on May 9, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    Great post. Thanks for the ideas.

    My favorite quote from today’s “Mother’s Day speaker” in sacrament meeting: “I’m a procrastinator, so I’m going to have to stop at the grocery store to see if they have any flowers left to pick up on the way home today.”

    This said with a member of the stake presidency on the stand, as well as a member of the First Quorum of Seventy :-)

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  10. shenpa warrior on May 9, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    My DW found this post on her own, read it, and LOVED it (and she’s an outsider to the bloggernaccle). If you can draw her in to a blog and make her laugh, you did pretty good. :)

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  11. kmillecam on August 23, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    I know I’m several months late here, but I really appreciate what you wrote here BiV. I always think of my complicated past on Mother’s and Father’s Day. This post is just right :)

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  12. Frank Bruno on March 20, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    Being a mother has been an important part of your life. This post shows your sensitivity to the needs of mothers on Mother’s Day. As your husband I want you to know of my gratitude to you of being involved with me and our children throughout the thirty years you have been at home with us as a mother. Your role as a mother is important and you set an example for us of the love you have for motherhood. I read recently of your desire to have given your children a stable environment as you listed breastfeeding your eight children. That was not easy that was difficult and unselfish. Your children need you in their lives on a daily basis so that your influence can continue to be felt throughout their formative years. You are valued by me and I know by your children as a caring and nurturing mother. Thank you for your twenty-seven years of dedicated motherhood.

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