In popular culture, mothers are often revered as both the backbone of our families and vilified as the source of all our problems. For better or worse, mothers shape who we are. And this Sunday, we honor them. It’s been said that motherhood is the hardest job on the planet— a bit of hyperbole, perhaps, but difficult to dispute. For moms of six year olds or sixty year olds, the day-to- day tasks are different, but the concern, worry, and love never change. Who wouldn’t need a break from that kind of responsibility?

Here are some ways to deliver some emotional wellbeing along with the flowers and cards to your mother this Mother’s Day:

  1. Brunch or dinner out – or in.

Restaurants are a popular choice for Mother’s Day celebrations for good reason. They allow Mom to relax from the normal meal prep, serving, and cleanup. They also allow those with her to relax, so the time can be spent on socializing rather than cooking and cleaning. If you find restaurants to be crowded and hectic on this most popular day, having a special meal at home can be relaxing, too. Just keep a few things in mind. Choose a simple menu, with food that can be made or prepped ahead of time, and remember the focus of the day is quality time with Mom, not a perfect soufflé.

  1. Mindfulness practice.

Special days with loved ones are most special when you are fully present in the moment. Mother’s Day is a time for setting aside past hurts or future worries. It is an opportunity to see, acknowledge, and appreciate Mom for all of who she is. Mindfulness can take the form of a yoga class, a meditation, a scenic walk or hike, or any activity where you are focused on being together.

  1. Capture memories.

From favorite recipes to those stories you think you’ll never forget to things about her that you may have never known— recording Mom’s history is great way to honor her and make her feel special. Interview her and write up her story or record a conversation about her childhood or other important times in her life. Another way to capture her memories is to gather her photos, recipes, and other memorabilia into an album or scrapbook.

  1. Create a garden.

Studies have shown that experiencing nature reduces anxiety and improves mood, as well as memory and cognition. In many parts of the country, Mother’s Day kicks off the spring gardening season, so rather than giving Mom a bouquet this year, why not start a garden? Even here in Colorado, where early May is typically premature for planting, you can still plan or prep a garden. Have Mom choose some plants or flowers that she will enjoy looking at all summer long, then set a date to purchase and plant them. Who knows? Spending time maintaining your shared creation might make for a more frequent, regular activity together.

  1. Help around the house. 

Everyone has those projects that just never seem to get done. Find out what’s on your Mom’s to-do list and help her out by taking care of some of those things. Crossing items off that list is sure to bring some relief and ease to her day.

  1. Watch Mom’s favorite movie.

Have a special movie night with one of Mom’s favorite classics, or that Oscar-winner she missed in the theater, or simply a guilty pleasure pic. You bring the popcorn and movie candy.

  1. Spa day

Mani-pedis, facials, and massages are Mother’s Day pampering staples. If you can’t afford the spa price tag, why not create a fun at-home spa experience? There are loads of DIY spa tips online. Throw in a simple, healthy lunch, some relaxing music and you’re all set.

  1. Go for the unexpected

Getting out of the usual routine to do something fun frees the imagination and inspires creativity. Is there a class your Mom has always wanted to take, a museum or gallery she’s wanted to visit, a play she wants to see, or an adventure she’d like to try? Find something your Mom has wanted to do, but just hasn’t gotten around to – and then take her to do it!

  1. Take your Mom’s advice

Give Mom one less thing to worry about. Choose something she has wanted you to do— some way she wants you to take care of yourself— and do it. Then let her know that you gave it your best shot. Who knows? It could be good for both of you!

Whether you are a mother, have a mother, or both, we wish you a happy, healthy Mother’s Day…however you choose to spend it.

The mother-child relationship is one of the most complex human relationships there is. If you are having difficulty navigating that terrain, there is help available for understanding this unique family dynamic, improving communication, and dealing with conflicting emotions. For more information contact Maria Droste Counseling Center.