Over the past year, the pandemic has affected every group of Americans, and even with the lower case numbers and increased vaccinations, many are suffering from economic or mental health challenges. Much has been written about the toll this has taken on mothers in particular. Many women have been forced to leave the workforce to take care of children remote learning at home. There is also the added pressure of trying to keep our families and ourselves safe both physically and mentally. This month, we celebrate Mother’s Day, and if there has ever been a year to make sure Mom is celebrated and given some time and space to recharge, this is the year. Here are some tips for taking care of Mom:
GIFTS TO EASE STRESS
Traditionally popular gift ideas for Mom include a massage, facial, or a manicure-pedicure. These are always great options and a wonderful way to support our now-open local businesses that have suffered so much this past year.
Small, simple things can also bring great joy in helping to ease stress. One of my favorites is a new water bottle. Staying hydrated is such an important part of our health, and it’s always easier with a fun new bottle. Eye masks also make great gifts. I had no idea my sleep could improve so much by simply wearing an eye mask to bed. They also work great if you want to just grab a few minutes midday for some deep breaths. I also love a good candle. Currently, my favorite is the signature candle from Hudson Grace on Sacramento Street. My kids now know when that candle is lit it means Mom needs a moment. I also recently received as a birthday gift a weighted blanket. These blankets are meant to relieve stress, ease anxiety, and improve sleep and, I can attest it does do all those things.
THE GIFT OF TIME
The other gift moms love and could always use more of is time. This could mean offering to do some things that Mom usually takes care of, such as grocery shopping, laundry, or cooking so she can have time to do something she enjoys.
One thing I have come to appreciate is how good a long walk or hike with friends makes me feel both physically and mentally. These have become very therapeutic, and it is also a nice way to connect with friends.
This year has also made me appreciate a quiet house. With everyone working and schooling from home, I have a whole new appreciation for some quiet time in the house by myself. A good gift could be taking the kids out for a bit so Mom can take a nap or have some quiet time to enjoy her new blanket or candle.
GIFTS THAT SHOW APPRECIATION
Another important way we can let moms know they are appreciated is by showing or telling them. Modeling for our kids how to give and receive appreciation is so important. Recently, my 8-year-old son knew I was tired and feeling overwhelmed and stressed, and he went upstairs and made my bed just the way I like it with the pillows fluffed. It was a small thing but because I didn’t ask, it was a wonderful surprise and a sweet gesture.
As children get older some of these sweet and unexpected gestures can be a little harder to come by. They don’t always come in a big bear hug or a snuggle before bed like when they were little, but they still happen. My daughter recently sent me a text out of the blue thanking me for waking up early to drive her to water polo every day. It brought a smile to my face.
Another fun idea is an appreciation jar — for the month of May everyone writes on a slip of paper why they love Mom, and each day she can pull one out and read it.
The goal is for moms to feel loved and appreciated every day of the year. Remember, by and large moms are pretty easy to please, and little things are sometimes appreciated the most. For me, there is no greater joy than coming home after a long day and seeing all the dishes have made it into the dishwasher. So whether the gesture is big or small, take the time to tell the mom or mother figure in your life how grateful you are for all she does.
Liz Farrell is the mother of three young children and the founder of TechTalks, a consulting group to help schools and families have productive conversations around social media and technology. Email: [email protected]