Does anyone else feel like Mother’s Day is more about what your kids want to do for you than what you might actually like? It feels wrong just saying that. I know I should be grateful for what they do.

Sure, I love the chance to “sleep in” while hearing them making me breakfast in bed. Yes, I treasure the homemade cards and gifts. I save them to look back on. I even enjoy whatever activity or place they plan for the day. I love it all. And yet, there are things I want to do that might look different from what my kids think I want.

For years, I didn’t say anything. I simply enjoyed the blessing of the day. Truly. But then I did something radical. A few days before Mother’s Day, I told my family one thing I wanted. It wasn’t big. It was a simple request for what to have for dinner. And guess what? I got it. That night, my husband and kids made me exactly what I asked for. And it felt great.

Before you think you couldn’t possibly do that or that your family wouldn’t be able to make you dinner, stop and consider how you handle their special days. Do you ask them what they might want? Does it help you when they tell you? I know it helps me. When my kids tell me the dinner they want for their birthday, it saves me the trouble of guessing, hoping that I will pick the right “favorite” for that day. What if telling your family something you want helps them too?

Three Tips for Creating the Mother’s Day You Want

If Mother’s Day is about you, shouldn’t it make YOU happy? Here are three simple tips to try to help you create a day that makes you (and your family) happy. And if you’re worried it won’t work, tip three has you covered!

  1. Plan Ahead

    Before your family can know what you want, you need to know what you want. Take some time to think about something that would make you happy for Mother’s Day. Is it a certain gift? Do you want to sleep in? Is there somewhere you want to go or a special meal you’d like to have? Don’t try to plan the whole day; just think of one thing you want. This allows your family to do things they think of while still giving you something that will make you happy.

    Identify one or two things you want for Mother’s Day. Consider whether your family can make it happen. If so, plan when you’ll talk to them about it. Ideally, this is three to five days before Mother’s Day for simple things and one to two weeks ahead for gifts. If it’s not something they can realistically do, save that idea to make it happen yourself and think of something they can do.

  2. Ask Clearly and Kindly

    This is usually the most awkward part, especially if you have a hard time saying what you want. You need to tell your family. Many moms feel uncomfortable expressing something they want. They often think they should just leave it up to the kids or their spouse. Then, they wonder why they feel let down at the end of the day. You don’t have to do that. You can express your request clearly and with kindness.

    Remember, this is not a time to drop hints. You need to be direct so they listen to you and understand what you are asking for. A great way to do that is by saying,

    I’m excited for Mother’s Day. I always love it when you ______ (Say something they do that brings you joy. For example: surprise me in the morning, make a homemade card, take me out, etc.)

    One thing I would love this year is ______ (Say what you want. Make it clear and something they can do. For example, to have Thai takeout, go for a hike, have an hour to read my book, etc.)

    Can we make that happen?” 

  3. Have a Backup Plan

    I would love to say that your wish will be granted. But we’re moms, and we know better. Sometimes your family won’t do what you ask for. They may not understand. They may get wrapped up in their own ideas. The best way to handle that is two-fold:

    • Be grateful – Do your best to enjoy however the day unfolds. Wallowing in disappointment or getting angry won’t be enjoyable for you or your family. Take whatever they offer as a gift and express your gratitude.

    • Do the thing you wanted – It may not happen on Mother’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do what you asked for. If you want a certain type of takeout, get it the next night. Need some time to relax and read your book? Take an hour to yourself this week. Rally the troops for that hike you wanted. Buy your favorite flower. Whatever it is, you can make it happen and enjoy it.

Remember, the day may not go completely as you hope. Your family may do exactly what you ask for, or they may drop the ball. But at the end of the day, you can enjoy what your family offers and do the thing that makes you happy. While Mother’s Day is a day for your family to celebrate you, it’s also a great day for YOU to celebrate YOU!