We didn’t talk to your mom or your kids’ mom, but here’s some wisdom from a group of ladies who are probably a lot like the moms in your life. We asked these moms, “What happened on your best Mother’s Day ever?”

Here’s what we learned: Gifts are fine, but most of all …

A mom wants to know that her kids have thought about her and appreciate her on Mother’s Day.

We heard quite a few specific ways to show that.

When it comes to honoring your mother, your efforts can be less about gifts and more about time—brunch, dinner, coffee together, or just time catching up, even if it’s over the phone or video chat.

Your children’s mother is another story. Our panel of moms gave us some great ways kids (and husbands) have honored them, but again, it’s mostly about knowing that her kids thought about how to appreciate her and make her feel special. Often, the best part for mom is seeing the expressions of love in the kids’ handwriting, or the excited look on the kids’ faces as they present her with that unique, handmade card, or that breakfast only they (and Dad) can fix.

Here are some specific ideas from this panel of moms:

  • A whole weekend (or at least a whole day) of being served, with other family members taking over all mom’s household responsibilities: cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. Washing her car and other special things are welcome too.
  • An album of family photos or a mother-kids portrait.
  • Singing a special song for mom. (A surprising number of moms mentioned this.)
  • Freedom! … freedom to rest and not feel guilty. Freedom from whining kids, from being needed for little things, from dealing with sibling conflicts, from a noisy house, from “Honey, have you seen my …?”
  • Time to spend with her mom.
  • A handmade coupon book of small favors to be done for Mom: a massage, doing the dishes and other household tasks, hugs and kisses, etc.
  • A family activity together: planting the garden, attending an event she enjoys, a picnic, etc.
  • A big block of time where she can do what she wants, uninterrupted.
  • Get more ideas here.

You probably noticed that some ideas definitely don’t fit with others: Some moms want to celebrate with family activities; others want a break from responsibilities for a day.

So, in order to really know what she wants, ask her!

Every mom is different (and sometimes we dads miss obvious cues), so find out what makes her truly feel honored, and then let that guide your plans for Sunday. Just make sure your kids are actively involved in the whole process.

Are you no longer married to your child’s mother? Make sure you still help your children find ways to honor her. Here are some more ideas.

Here are a few more Action Points for giving your kids’ mom the best Mother’s Day ever. Please share some ideas of your own at our Facebook page.

●   Consider starting a new Mother’s Day tradition based on what Mom told you she enjoys most.
●   Reinforce for your children why it’s important to honor their mother all the time—not just this Sunday.
●   Take your children to see their grandmother and let them hear her stories about when you (and/or their mom) were young.
●   Choose a day several months from now to thank your kids’ mom again for all she does. Set a reminder for yourself so you’ll make sure and follow through. 

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