A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. – Tenneva Jordan

Our moms always looked out for us even when we didn’t know it. What we do remember is how lucky we were, but we weren’t aware of the sacrifices our mom’s made for us. But that’s the way they wanted it. They wanted us to grow up happy and not face the sacrifices they had to make. Thanking them for this is essentially what Mother’s Day is about.

Today it’s a worldwide celebration across dozens of countries, but do people think about the true meaning of Mother’s Day besides buying a card and flowers?

What should we be saying to our moms on this day? Flowers are the go-to gift, but what does Mom want? If your mom is older, what other things can you do today?

What if you’re out of town? How do you make your mom’s day special?

We will explore the answers to these questions and more. First, what IS Mother’s Day all about, and who in my life do I thank for being that “Mother” figure?

What Mother’s Day is all about

The mother of the family is the glue that holds us together and binds us to one another. The maternal figures in our lives, who traditionally provide nurturing, care, and attention as we grow, helped give us the confidence to take on the world. Your mom made many sacrifices to ensure you were cared for, and you may live your whole life without knowing them all.

Mother’s day gives us the ability to celebrate the mother figures in our lives collectively. To demonstrate the love and respect we have for them and to thank them for the sacrifices they made for us.

What about other mother figures?

“A healthy stepmother knows that some days she’s a stagehand, somedays she’s the leading lady, and some days she’s the audience…and she plays each role with style and grace.” ~ Author unknown

Mother’s Day is an amazing day where we celebrate our mothers and mother figures. Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, as well as relationships. As many people with step-moms know, you don’t have to give birth to gain recognition on this special day.

“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a grandmother.” —Unknown

Mother figures could be anyone who helped raise you as a kid. Mom, grandmother, step-moms, foster moms, aunties, mom’s friends, a best friend’s mom, a teacher, and the list can go on. These strong women in your life would listen to you, give you advice, and stand by you during your moody phases and they’ve consistently been there for you and have always had your back.

“You are a gift from God, a friend that I can count on and a wonderful model of a mother.” —Unknown

We celebrate and recognize all of those amazing women who helped raise you.

What meaningful thing do I tell her?

Whether it’s your mom, grandmom, auntie, teacher, or friend, the women in our lives who have guided us and helped us shape our lives in ways large and small deserve recognition on this day. Think back on the women who were influential in your life and helped make you who you are.

Pick one of the things they did that influenced you. When you buy or make your Mother’s Day card, before you write “Happy Mother’s Day’, tell them how that event changed your life.

The more personal the reference to their contribution to your development as a strong person, the more meaning it will carry. But if you still have writer’s block, here are some suggestions.

I’m terrible at words. What should I say?

“When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.” —Erma Bombeck

Everyone wants to be a poet and be able to convey how they feel with words of prose that delights as well as communicates. But it’s not as easy as it might seem. It can be hard to say what you want or put your thoughts into words. Typically the hard part is starting, and many times you need some kind of hint to get started, so you take that idea and add your connection to it. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Thank your mom – Don’t underestimate a thank you. It’s about sincerity and that can go a very long way. Thank your mom for their presence in your life, and tell them about specific things you remember that helped you become who you are.
  • Be thankful for them – Something moms don’t hear enough is having someone tell them, “I am so lucky that I have you as my mom.” If I could go back in time and pick moms, I would pick you every time.
  • Remind them that they are still beautiful – Many moms grow out of being called beautiful simply because society only recognizes beauty up to a certain age. Remind her by taking her to the beauty salon or getting a mani-pedi together.
  • Let her know things she taught you were key to your development – Talk to your mom about the things she taught you and tell her about some examples of situations you took care of by using your mom’s advice.
  • What mom doesn’t love shopping – Let’s face it, moms rarely shopped for themselves when they were busy raising kids. So tell her, “let’s go shopping,” and hit her favorite stores. Just being there with her would be a fantastic gift.
  • Apologize – Yes, moms have long memories, and while you may have forgotten something that you did when you were far younger that embarrassed her, was rude to her, or hurt her feelings. It’s never too late to acknowledge and apologize for it. You’ll be surprised at how something seemingly small can uplift a mom.
  • Let her know she’s your hero – In this day and age, we see heroes on TV and in movies all the time, but the real heroes, the unsung ones. They are the moms who juggle raising kids with one or two jobs, marriage or being single, pets, school, cooking, and a million other things. So you can honestly tell your mom she’s your hero and why.

What about gift-giving on Mother’s Day?

When Mother’s Day started at the beginning of the century, children would typically pick flowers on their way to church to give to their mothers. Mother’s Day was a time for families to unite, much like Thanksgiving. Family members who had moved away would return so they would be home on Mother’s Day, and the family could celebrate together, with the kids bringing gifts.

The gift tradition started with children creating handmade gifts and handmade cards for their moms on Mother’s Day. To this day, the practice of creating something homemade has persisted because these gifts from child to mom were typically cherished forever by their moms.

In what is now considered modern days, handmade has been replaced mainly by greeting cards, and gifts tend to be purchased instead of handmade.

Giving flowers has remained unchanged in the last hundred years and always seems to bring a smile to a mom’s face when gifted by their children.

Happy Mother's Day from Maxim at Home

Q: What’s the best gift to give mom?  A: It’s time.

“I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then, I want to move in with them.” —Phyllis Diller

Time is one of the most significant gestures we can give, so there really is no better gift a child can give than the gift of time. Material things are nice and can show your mom how much she means to you. However, most moms just want to spend time with their children, recalling memories and making new ones. It’s the one time of the year when giving them our undivided attention is so meaningful.

The problem is that as we children get older, our responsibilities increase, and our daily lives get super busy, making it harder and harder to carve out time to spend with our parents. Usually, we are worrying about our own children, which makes it hard to worry about our parents, much less make time for them.

This is why going the extra mile to make time for your mom when life is hectic is so meaningful because it shows you genuinely care.

Make sure time with Mom is quality time

There is a vast difference between spending time with your loved one and sharing the same space as them, and sharing space is not the same as spending time. The first thing to remember is that when you were a kid, your mom likely didn’t have a cell phone in their pocket, so when she spent time with you, she wasn’t distracted by technology. We need to give her the same respect when we spend time with her.

You need to make sure that when you’re really listening to what she is saying, and make sure she knows that she has your full undivided attention. This is more of a gift than you realize and it also has health benefits associated with it as well. Studies have shown that loneliness is a significant factor in the decline of quality of life. It can lead to depression and cognitive decline, among other health issues.

The lesson here is that you’re not just giving her a gift of your time and attention; you’re actually helping to improve her state of health.

You’ve set aside time for Mom; what do I do now?

First, congratulations for setting aside the time without distractions. You’re on the right path. Now, before you forget, go into your calendar and set a reminder for next year in your calendar. Set the reminder 3 weeks before Mother’s Day and 2 weeks as an additional reminder before Mother’s Day, place a note to yourself to clear your calendar on Mother’s Day so you won’t forget next year.

For this Mother’s Day, the typical plan is to visit your mom wherever she is or invite her to visit you and even her grandkids. It’s time to put the phones down and actually talk to each other, help each other prepare a meal, or plan a picnic in the park. It’s about Mom, so ask her where she would like to go and make that happen.

If you’re still stuck on ideas, here are some suggestions for spending time with Mom or doing some fun out-of-the-box activities together.

  • Hang out at home – It could be your home or her home; the key is ensuring mom doesn’t have to lift a finger. Moms love to take care of their kids and prep and ensure everyone is having a good time. Not on Mother’s Day. She sits in the comfy chair while the family waits on her.
  • Picnic – One of the ideal things about Mother’s Day is that it falls on Sunday, which means everyone should be off work, and since it’s May, the weather should be nice for a picnic. Bring some of her favorite foods and drinks, go to her favorite park, and enjoy the weather together.
  • Spa day – Who doesn’t love a spa day? Everyone loves to be pampered, and mom is no exception so that you can book a spa day for her, a mani-pedi day, or a Mother’s Day massage. It’s all about pampering mom. Just make sure to book in advance. Remember the mention about setting your calendar. Put in an extra note to book the spa day in your 3-week reminder, and you’ll likely guarantee an open spot for Mom.
  • Wine tasting – If mom enjoys wine if you have a winery nearby and the weather is good, it would be a great time to tour a vineyard and sample some options.
  • Food tour – If your mom is not into wine or doesn’t drink alcohol, find a food tour where you sample specialties from various restaurants. It’s a nice gesture to the woman who fed you during your formative years.

Regardless of what you choose to do with her, make sure it’s something that she really enjoys, and even better is if she enjoys it but rarely gets to do it. But most importantly, you spend time with her, giving her your full and undivided attention.

What if my mom is older and not as mobile?

Mother’s Day can be a bit different if your mom is a bit older and doesn’t get around as much, and your part or full-time role in her life is ensuring she is looked after. The picnic, spas, and wine tasting might be overwhelming.

If that’s the case you have to remember that Mother’s Day is still centered on spending time together, sharing, and making memories together, and you don’t need a day at the spa to do that. Here are some simple ways to make Mother’s Day great for moms who may have difficulty getting out and about.

  • Cook for her – Family meals are more than just the food. Try cooking your mom’s favorite meal together at her place or yours. Enjoy the time and conversation that goes along with cooking together. It’s a great time to reminisce about how she cooked this meal for you. This is also the time to use family heirlooms like a specific tablecloth, silverware, or centerpiece. Also, don’t forget her favorite dessert.
  • Save her stories for posterity – A great way to spend time with Mom is to reminisce about old memories and have her recount family stories and history with you. You can take notes, but video is a great way to capture the storytelling. If you want a cool story passed down to your grandkids, now is the time to record it as a family heirloom and posterity.
  • Spring upgrade her garden – If she has plants or a garden, this is an excellent time of year to check on and refurbish her plants or garden. Clean and prep planters or gardens, and start some fresh plants for her. If she has trouble caring for plants, go online and find plants that need minimal care.
  • You can still pamper – While a spa day might be too much for mom, a trip to the salon for a wash and set or mani-pedi is usually a great option. Plus, you can do them together!

There are great suggestions and a great start in helping to make your mom smile. But if your mom is older and living alone or living in an age-appropriate living situation, there’s another gift you should give her, and that’s checking to make sure her daily needs are being met if you’re not there.

Reassess your mom’s needs while you’re visiting

While you’re visiting Mom on Mother’s Day, this is an excellent opportunity for you to reassess her living conditions, her overall health, and her day-to-day routines. Making sure your mom is happy and living well is not a once-a-year event, but Mother’s Day is an opportune time to double-check her quality of life.

Here are some things to check on and look out for when you’re visiting on Mother’s Day.

Evaluate her daily routine. Does she have trouble with any part of it? For example, if her food is a bit dated because she doesn’t get out enough to buy fresh groceries, she may need extra trips to the grocery store.

Is she physically able to take care of her plants or garden, or does she need help? If you or another family member isn’t available to help, you may look for someone like a friend or companion who can check on her and help with the plants and garden.

Does she have a lot of social interaction with other family members besides you? If she has a small social circle, she may need some help expanding it. Check your local community center for different activities she can participate in.

Is she generally happy with her day-to-day? While you’re checking all these other things, one of the most important questions is whether she is happy. Does she have daily activities available to her that she enjoys? Does she get enough company to keep her socially active? Does she have hobbies that she can work on at home?

Mother’s Day is far more than just celebrating your mom. It’s also about making sure that she is taken care of and that she is enjoying a positive quality of life.

What if Mom is too far away to visit?

If you live far away from Mom, it may be hard to stay in touch on a regular basis. Then Mother’s Day approaches, and you want to make that day all about Mom, but you can’t be there in person. The struggle is real, and you’re not alone. Thankfully some digital options can bridge the distance between you two.

Web Chat – If your mom is digitally inclined and has a smartphone or PC in the house, you can set up a video chat. You can coordinate the time so you both can talk over a cup of coffee or tea.

Send Flowers – If you’re in a rush or can’t chat in the morning, sending flowers or a fruit basket would be a great way to start their day. Then you have breathing room to schedule a call or just a call later in the day.

Send a care package – A care package is great because you can fill it with so many diverse things; it will be like Christmas all in one package. You can fill it with books she wanted, scented candles and soaps, framed family pictures, and cookies or chocolates.

Send a companion to spend the day with her – If you are unavailable on Mother’s Day, you can always schedule a companion service to send a kind compassionate companion to spend time with her so she is not alone. If you’re unaware of these services, check the bottom of this article when you’re done reading.

Senior companions specialize in friendly, interactive socialization and can also drive your mom around town. It’s a great option if you’re unavailable, but you still want someone there to make your mom’s day special.

Finally, no matter what you do, don’t forget to do this

No matter what you do on Mother’s Day, there is one thing that you absolutely must do on this day. If you’re in town, tell her face-to-face; if you can’t make it face-to-face, then get her on the phone.

The important thing is that she hears your voice when you say, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.”

“To the world, you are a mother, but to your family, you are the world.” —Unknown



The Maxim at Home team is here to help

Do you need help with a loved one?  Then consider Maxim at Home’s homemaker and companionship services. Our team of friendly, compassionate Companions takes great pride in serving people in their own community who need light assistance with daily chores, some company and conversation, or convenient transportation for errands, appointments, or trips to the store.


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Reference Links:

What about gift-giving on Mother’s Day?

The Best Gift for Mother’s Day

What if Mom is too far away to visit?

It’s Hard Being a Mama

What meaningful thing do I tell her?

What about other mother figures?

Meaningful Conversations with Mom

I’m terrible at words. What should I say?

Your go-to guide for a Happy Mother’s Day