All You Want For Mother’s Day: Ideas to Make it Your Own


There is one simple and lovely reason we celebrate Mother’s Day: to pay tribute to mothers. But like many things associated with mothering, it can be complicated!

Do you usually enjoy Mother’s Day? Are you sometimes disappointed or is the day filled with conflict? Maybe you’re not interested in celebrating at all, which is also fine.

Here are some ideas to help make the day suited best to you.

Mother hugging young daughter, reading a Mother's Day card that the daughter has given her.

Unless you enjoy and embrace surprises, be a part of the planning

Take a few minutes and think about what your ideal Mother’s Day looks like. Is it quiet, with a few hours just to yourself? Or would you rather be at a busy restaurant with your spouse or partner, your kids and your entire extended family?

If you have an idea of how you’d like to spend Mother’s Day let your family know ahead of time. There is much less of a chance of a mismatch between your expectations and theirs.

Having input on how to spend the day doesn’t mean you are squashing everything your family might be planning. Young children in particular may have strong ideas of what they would like to do! But there can be a balance.

Decide ahead of time who will be part of the day

I really wish that every family got along, but that is not reality. I’ve had great relationships with my family and extended family but I’ve heard so many personal stories of family experiences that are incredibly difficult.

And holidays like Mother’s Day can intensify the conflicts that simmer during the year.

On the other hand, maybe you do have good relationships with your mom and mother-in-law but want to spend the day with just your kids and spouse or partner.

Whatever the reason, you can decide who will be part of the day. It may mean spending time on a different day with your mom or not going when your spouse visits theirs. Or, enjoy having everyone together! There is no one right way to spend this or any holiday.

You don’t have to go to brunch – unless you want to!

Brunch, flowers and jewelry are the customary Mother’s Day gifts and outing. But there are many other personalized ways we can feel appreciated as moms.

My husband had a great Mother’s Day routine when our son was little. They would take my car to the car wash, vacuum and clean it, then return with coffee and a bagel, cream cheese and lox sandwich.

This was my idea of Mother’s Day heaven! Some quiet time alone, a car cleaned of all the stuff and sludge and a lunch that I adored with my favorite guys. It was simple, but they listened and understood what would make me happy.

Elaborate plans and expensive gifts aren’t necessary to feel appreciated. I’m sure I’m not the only mom who still loves every gold-painted-macaroni-doily-covered card ever received.

It’s OK if you don’t want to celebrate

After both my mother and mother-in-law passed away in the same year I felt unmoored. They both dealt with very difficult illnesses before they died and it took me a long time to get over the sadness and stress. I don’t remember what we did on Mother’s Day that first year without them.

Celebrating Mother’s Day can seem trivial or even impossible if you are facing loss, illness, fertility issues or any number of challenges. Regardless of societal pressure, this can be just another Sunday on the calendar. It’s more than OK to spend the day in any way that works for you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms

With great appreciation for everything you do, wishing you a Mother’s Day that is perfectly suited to you.

A quiet place, busy restaurant & bagel sandwiches on the Seacoast

Wagon Hill Farm

Roundabout Diner

The Works Cafe

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Hello, I’m Nancy! I’m a New Hampshire native and have enjoyed living in the Seacoast with my husband, stepdaughter and son for quite a while, decades in fact! I’ve been a software engineer, home stager, a school and community volunteer and a stay-at-home mom. I wrote a weekly running column for Seacoast Sunday/Foster’s Daily Democrat/Portsmouth Herald for many years and reported on road races including my dream assignments at the Boston Marathon. Not surprisingly, I’m an avid runner and am happiest outdoors! Nothing beats the sweet exhaustion after a long and active day spent outside in every season. Our nest is now generally empty with both kids navigating their own adult lives and my husband and I are enjoying our time together and with our two great cats. Motherhood (and life) is ever-changing and I’m adjusting to this new stage and reflecting on how lucky we’ve been.


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