In 1961, the Peace Corps adopted the slogan “The toughest job you’ll ever love.” No offense, Peace Corps, but that adage is more appropriate for motherhood — a job that is ever-changing and frequently exasperating. Moms don’t get days off, nor do they receive handsome salaries or generous pensions. Instead, their rewards come in the form of sticky kisses, necklaces made of elbow macaroni, and the satisfaction of seeing their children grow up to be happy, healthy adults. That’s probably not adequate compensation—so give her an extra hug or twelve on Mother’s Day, just in case, and follow our guide to giving back to the woman who gave you life. This year, Mother’s Day falls on May 14: celebrate it with us!
Why We Love Mother’s Day
A. We love our mothers, of course
Like so many constants in our lives, we sometimes take our parents for granted. After all, we’ve known them all our lives. Yeah, yeah, we know that Mother’s Day can feel somewhat commercialized and obligatory, but if you can think outside the checkbook and do something truly special for (or better yet, with) your mother, then why not do it?
B. Without Mom, who would we be?
For the first couple of years, she fed you, bathed you, and read you “Goodnight Moon” until she knew it by heart. After that came the lessons in how to share, to try new foods, and to not wallop your brother over the head with a metal Tonka truck. She encouraged your curiosity, indulged your interests, helped form your sense of humor. In other words, she made you you.
C. It’s a chance to be inclusive
Maybe the woman who gave birth to you isn’t in your life—but it’s a good bet that there are other strong, influential women in your life. Mother figures come in many shapes, so don’t take Mother’s Day too literally. Say thank you to any or all of the women you know who work hard and love others, since that’s essentially what mothering is all about.
How to Celebrate Mother’s Day
1. Try a little togetherness
Know how your mom always says she doesn’t want expensive presents? Believe her. She just wants to spend some time with you (yes, it’s a cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true). So take a hike or plan a picnic. Help her in the garden or hit the town. Even if it’s no more creative than a big bowl of popcorn and an X-Files marathon, Mom will enjoy the QT more than any tangible present. Don’t live close enough to get together IRL? Get thee to FaceTime.
2. Flip the script and urge her to eat for once
Find a hole-in-the-wall diner with amazing corned beef hash, or simply wait until the sun’s over the yardarm and treat Mom to a mimosa or three. Planning on taking her out later? The sky’s the limit for lunch and dinner options. Well, technically your VISA limit is probably the limit, but you get the idea. Just take the woman out for a meal she wouldn’t make for herself.
3. Listen up
Listening is an act of love. So with that in mind, take a break from talking about your own problems and listen to her talk about her life, her dreams, or her favorite memories. If you have siblings, get the family together and tell stories!