I’ll never forget my first Mother’s Day. My seven-month-old son gave me the best gift – he said, “Mama” for the first time. My heart was full. Nothing can prepare a mom for the wild ride of emotions she will experience. From pregnancy (hello stretch marks and LBL) to midnight feedings, to waiting for a teen to come home in one piece after getting his driver’s license – mothering isn’t always easy.
When I became a mother, I gained a whole new appreciation for my own mom. She had three teenagers when (surprise!) I came along. Today, at 89, she stays active and keeps up her interests. (She just learned to scan photos into her computer and put together her own DVD slide show!) Every mom has unique qualities that make her special. Doesn’t it seem like she deserves more than just one day a year to be appreciated? If you’re a mom, or you’re celebrating a special woman in your life this Mother’s Day, make the most of it. Here are some ways to show your appreciation.
Tell mom what you appreciate about her. I’d be willing to bet there isn’t a mom in the world who gets TOO MUCH appreciation. Here’s a gift that is sure to touch her heart. Write down a list of everything you appreciate about her. If you want to get “high tech,” get your family together and video tape everyone’s appreciations. (You can even upload it to YouTube.) It will be the kind of gift your mom will take great pride in showing her friends. I have a friend who gave each family member ten strips of paper and asked them to write a happy memory about mom (or grandma) on each strip. She folded each strip of paper and placed it into a memory jar so that mom could pull out a happy memory every day for several months. It was a big hit.
Amp up the authenticity My girlfriend Laurie (who is in her fabulous ‘40s) was spending some quality time with her mom. During their visit she mentioned that I write for a blog about light bladder leakage. Her mom said, “I’m so glad I don’t have that problem.” “I do,” Laurie admitted. “Well . . . maybe I do, a little bit,” her mom said. Laurie and her mom shared a big laugh. Her mother’s generation didn’t feel as free as we do today to talk openly about matters like LBL. Laurie’s willingness to be open helped her mom to open up too, and it brought them closer.
Be a supporter of self-care Many women find themselves caring for their children, and then their elderly parents. Sometimes they do both at the same time. The more a mom gives, the more important it is to take time out to recharge. Rest is not selfish. Rest is preparation. You aren’t being lazy when you take time out; you’re preparing yourself to be a better giver. No one enjoys spending time with a stressed-out person, so you owe it to the people you spend time with to nurture yourself and de-stress regularly. The truth is, it’s selfish to deplete yourself. You deny your family the best of you. Encourage yourself (and your mom) to ease up the pressure and practice good self-care.
Have you opened up the conversation about LBL with your mom? If so, please share - what did you learn?