Recognize and Refresh: A Guide to Mother's Day

(Ladies, feel free to forward this post to your husbands. We wrote this for them.)

Gentlemen, M Day is fast approaching. And we know that celebrating the mother of your children for being the mother of your children is…complicated. It doesn’t have to be, but it has become so. Maybe it’s Instagram’s fault? Perhaps un-communicated expectations are to blame. Maybe there is just too much pressure to eclipse the holiday victories of years past. Whatever the cause, Mother’s Day can sometimes become We Don’t Speak to Each Other Day, I Hate my Mother-in-Law Day, On What Planet Does this Qualify as A Gift Day, and even, You’re Dead Serious Aren’t You Day.

Anna Jordan said it best: “Mother's Day has the tendency to be like New Year's Eve. The expectations are high, but often it doesn't live up to the hype. What I think husbands often don't realize is that they have total control when it comes to making sure the day isn't a flop, and honestly, rocking Mother's Day isn't that hard.”

Dads, we’re here for you.

This is not patronizing. This is not a pat on the head. This is a group of women who have all experienced one or more of the aforementioned Days, saying to you: it doesn’t have to be this way. The ladies of Coffee + Crumbs want to take the pressure off well-intentioned dads, and help couples to have meaningful celebrations of all that mom does for the family. Like Jenn Batchelor said in a team discussion about flop Mother’s Days of yore: "We are all married to really good, decent guys, and we still each have a story about them screwing up Mother's Day. It can happen to anyone."

But this year, it doesn’t have to happen to you.

So here it is. The mothers behind C+C present you with two simple words to help guide you toward Mother’s Day domination (which is not really a thing, but why not aim high): Recognize and Refresh. Recognize what the woman in your life does for your children. Create space for her to find refreshment.

Let’s get right to it.

Some ideas for recognition: buy a card (sometimes a pretty, blank card is best) and write down the things she does you especially appreciate. Don’t worry about being poetic. If you need to make a bulleted list, do that. Just as long as you communicate a variety of things she does for your family, you are in business. It is nice to mention not only areas where she spends a significant amount of time (ie, you always make sure the laundry gets done) but also to highlight areas where she puts forth great effort (ie because of you the kids have such great memories of Christmas) and even things that seem like a superpower only a mother could possess (ie you never freak out when the kids start puking). You could have your children make a poster (you can get poster board at most grocery stores) that displays all the things mom does for them during the day, according to them. It’s okay if these are off the wall -- mom cuts my waffles -- those details will be especially touching.

Want to go big and make a video that captures your appreciation? Have 12 floral bouquets delivered with matching cards attached highlighting a different, wonderful way she serves her kids? By all means, do those things. But simple plays win games too, gentleman. You taking the time to thoughtfully inventory what this woman does is a home run, no matter how you hit it.

Some ideas for refreshment, also known as, send your wife to: a day spa, a bathhouse (Sacramento dads: Ashlee highly recommends Asha Urban Baths), an art museum, the movies, a class she has been wanting to take, a day of shopping at her most favorite but least kid-friendly stores. If she has mentioned how much she enjoys alone time at home, think about what she loves doing during the alone time she has (cooking, reading on the patio, organizing, long baths, painting) and get her a gift that corresponds with that activity along with a card explaining you’ll be taking the kids on a fun adventure while she has the house to herself.

Lesley put together the most lovely (and easy!) day that perfectly incorporates recognition and refreshment: Give your wife a really nice card telling her why she’s a great mom and include a $10 Starbucks card inside. Tell her you want her to spend 2-3 hours alone that day, and then give her an idea of how to spend that time. Write: “I want you to go get yourself a drink, read your favorite book, and hang out at your favorite spot at the beach.” Other ideas: tell her to get a pedicure with a friend, or peruse the aisles of her favorite bookstore (and buy herself a book while there). And then MAKE HER DO IT. Even if all hell breaks loose around the house, make her leave. And have a smile on your face when she returns.

All of us at C+C agreed Mother’s Day is not about receiving a wildly expensive gift we can humble-brag about on Facebook. It’s not a competition between other women for who has the most indulgent day. It’s not about outshining our mothers-in-law or about aging our husbands by ten years. We look forward to Mother’s Day because on that day in May we hear from the man we love, the father of our children: I see you, I love you, you sacrifice and serve this family tirelessly, and you are a wonderful mother. Mother’s Day matters because the person who matters most is celebrating the work we do that means the most.

It matters because of you.

Now go forth and conquer Mother’s Day. (If you’ve read this far you’re halfway there.)

P.s. If you're feeling extra generous and want to present her with a gift, we've compiled a few ideas below. 

We also want to acknowledge that Mother's Day can be extra sad or difficult if you're experiencing grief of any kind (a recent miscarriage, ongoing infertility, the loss of your own mother, etc). If that is you: all of us at C+C want you to know that we see you, we love you, and we will be praying for you Mother's Day weekend. 

We've got a corresponding podcast episode out today, including wise words from Sonya Spillmann on how to allow celebration and grief to coexist on Mother's Day as a motherless mother. Listen here