Okay, I can admit it – I’ve totally done the thing where I don’t give much thought to what I’d like my Mothers’ Day to be like, I just know I want it to be AWESOME. Then I expect my family to know exactly what to do to make it happen. They should know me well enough to figure it out. Or read my mind. Right?
Well, you probably know what that got me. A nice Mothers’ Day with my loving family – with a side of disappointment that is all my own doing.
That disappointment feels awful. Momma, you love your family and they love you, too. We moms don’t want to feel let down any more than our families want us to feel let down. In fact, they have a huge desire to make the holiday special for us.
So, in May 2016, after 10 “nice” Mothers’ Days, I learned that getting what you want isn’t as passive as it sounds. I decided the next year was going to be exceptional.
And it was.
Here are my three steps to getting the Mothers’ Day that I wanted. We still have almost two weeks before MD2020. Plenty of time to prepare for the day you want and deserve.
1. Decide exactly what you want.
It might sound obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. Getting what you want starts with knowing what you want. So take a few minutes and think about what it is you hope to get out of this Mothers’ Day. What do you want to feel at the end of the day? Pampered? Energized? Appreciated? Make a list of any goals you have for the day. Are there things that you need to have happen to make it feel successful? Maybe a successful Mothers’ Day means you get to take a nap in a quiet house. Or you spend the day making pottery with your kids. Some people don’t feel the day is complete without visiting their own mom, mother in law, grandmother… every mom they ever met.
When I made my own vision I imagined a Mothers’ Day where I was able to enjoy my family, feel their love, and not feel obligated to do any work – at all. That means no cooking, no cleaning, no grocery shopping, no kids’ bath time or bed time. The whole day. I’ve accomplished this the past three years by planning an overnight trip to our nearest Big City where we see a children’s play and spend the night in a hotel within walking distance of the theater. It means I’m not home feeling obligated to take care of a few chores and we’re dining out for every meal. Which, in turn, means the responsibility of cooking doesn’t fall on the rest of my family – a neat little bonus.
Dream up your day and make your list. Be sure to write down the way you want to feel when you drift off to sleep that night. Then, brainstorm ways to achieve that feeling in your family’s time frame and budget, taking into account the abilities of who you need to ask to carry out your vision. And the current quarantine constraints, of course.
A pandemic may keep me from traveling, but it won’t force me to cook and clean. So this year I need to be thoughtful about a different plan to meet my vision.
2. Tell your people.
If any part of your plan requires assistance from someone else to pull it off, you’ll need to tell them what you want. Chances are, your loved ones want to love on you and make you feel special, just like you strive to do on their important days – but that doesn’t mean they’ll know what to do to make it happen. Go ahead and tell them what you want from them that would make your day feel super. They’ll likely feel happy to have some direction and you’ll get something much closer to what you really want. Win – Win!
Okay, that made it sound pretty easy. I do hope that it is just that simple to get the day you have been dreaming about, but depending on how much you’re asking for and who you’re asking it of, you may meet some resistance.
If you’re making requests of a male partner- like I am- and getting some push back, it might help to remind him that Fathers’ Day is right around the corner. If you’re willing to return the favor when it’s his turn to have a holiday, you might get some extra leeway on your own list. Just make sure you hold up your end, of course 😉
3. Prep Ahead.
Now you can get down to action to make your day take shape. Yes, you’ll be doing some of the work to create your Mothers’ Day celebration. Trust me on this, it won’t be hard but the future you that has everything she wants for celebrating will thank you. This little bit of prep work will take your day from great to exceptional.
Think through your entire day to be sure you have what you need to pull it off. Are you missing any supplies? Make sure you have oils for that luxurious bath, or all the ingredients for the dessert you’re making with your daughters. You may typically need a reservation for dinner or a hotel booking for a retreat with your friends. This year maybe it’s a takeout menu and a Zoom invitation for a virtual gathering with the special moms in your life. Having everything you need in place by Mothers’ Day Eve keeps you from taking time out for an errand or not being able to accomplish something you were really looking forward to, further ensuring you get the warm, fuzzy feelings you described in your wish list.
I may not be going to the theater and restaurants in the Big City this year but my goal is still the same: Enjoy my family with no obligation to do any work. So, I’ll hit the grocery store a few days ahead of the holiday to pick up breakfast, lunch, and snack supplies my kids can make on their own (or with minimal help from their dad). Dinner could be made easy with a crock pot recipe or appropriately safe takeout. I’ll get enough household chores finished during the week leading up to Mothers’ Day so I can feel good about taking Sunday off from cleaning. All that’s left is choosing activities to enjoy with my family. I’m thinking a board game and movie sound perfectly fun while maintaining the chill factor I’m digging these days.
Here’s one last thing to keep in mind…
Even the most thought out plans rarely play out without a hitch. Expect imperfection and focus on the effort your family is making in your honor. When you look back on the day you’ll remember the love, not the mishaps. And as always, if you are looking for the moments to be grateful for, you are sure to find them.