What mom really wants for Mother’s Day? Hint: It’s not breakfast in bed

A year of pandemic-related stress and immersive 24/7 family time might mean moms want something different this Mother’s Day, but an informal survey reveals winning gifts might be time, space and gestures.

Author Susan G. Groner conducted a small poll that asked: “Tell me what you want.”

Groner is the author of the book “Parenting with Sanity and Joy: 101 Simple Strategies.”

Respondents had three options:

  • A — Leave me alone and give me a day to be by myself.
  • B — Looking forward to breakfast in bed, flowers and homemade crafts.
  • C — I want to hang out with my good mom friends and not my family.

“And, almost everyone said A and C, and really just want to be by themselves or with their friends,’” Groner said.

Giving mom a break might include someone else taking care of the kids, everyone leaving the house for a while or letting mom disappear free from care for a day.

Rethinking Mother’s Day gifts, Groner’s suggestions for partners and children:

  • Set up a surprise: Arrange with mom’s best girlfriends a day or evening for them to hang out. That might include arranging for child care.
  • Create coupons: Take on some extra responsibilities, create coupons mom can cash in for someone else to be responsible for dinner, order takeout, clean the kitchen or give her time off from other typical duties.
  • Family field trip freedom: “If it’s a hike or going to a museum or going wherever — nobody gets to complain. And, make mom feel good about doing that thing.”
  • Make a top 10 list: “The kids and the partner make a list of the top 10 things they appreciate about mom. And then the kids read it out loud. It would make me feel really good, if my kids did that.”

Moms should also speak up about their wants and needs. Groner said you shouldn’t depend on loved ones to figure out what you want or need.

“Ask for help … always know you can ask for help. Don’t expect, as a mom, that you’re doing a bad job or you’re a failure if you need help,” Groner said. “It’s totally acceptable and warranted and a good thing to do. You’re setting a good example for your children when you ask for help.”

If you’re exhausted and need a 20-minute nap, or stressed out about something that needs immediate undivided attention, or whatever the need might be in a particular moment — say so.

“Express it and you’re going to teach your children to be able to do that, too, instead of slamming a door or having a tantrum, knowing that we’re not going to judge them for feeling that way either,” she said.

To hear about challenges and solutions some other parents are experiencing and learning about, you can check out Groner’s new podcast “The Parenting Mentoring Sessions.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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