Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom really means when she says she doesn't want anything on Mother's Day, so if you're unfamiliar with this super secret language then, well... you better start educating yourself, my friend.
Because when a mom says she doesn't want anything on the one day a year we're all encouraged to shower our mothers with gifts, what she really means is that she does't want anymore stuff. Why? You know why. It's because the mom is the one who handles all of that stuff. She will be the one planning brunch, the one taking care of gifts, and the one making any appointments to whatever spa you're decided to send her to this year. She'll take care of it all, because she always does, and, well, she's kind of over it.
Thankfully, my family has deciphered what I mean when I say I don' t want anything for Mother's Day. But I know not all mothers are as lucky. So with that in mind, here's what a mom means when she tells you not to give her anything on her "special day." Pay attention, people.
"Let Me Sleep In"
She hasn't had a decent night's sleep since she was pregnant, people. She can no longer recall the last time she slept long enough to dream, or remember a morning when she wasn't the first person awake. Do the honorable thing and let her sleep in as long as she needs to.
"Cook All The Food"
When a mom says she doesn't anything, she means she doesn't want to do anything. That, of course, includes cooking. From breakfast to dinner to every meal in between, keep mom out of the kitchen and feed her constantly.
"Clean The House Without Me Asking"
There's absolutely no reason why house duties can't be divided evenly every other day of the year to start, but on mom's day she deserves a complete break. You can vacuum, you can do the dishes, and you can throw in a load of laundry. Mom, on the other hand, can sit back on the couch with a nice book.
"Take Care Of The Kids"
It's not that mom wants a complete break from the kids. (Unless, of course, she does... and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, either.) It's just that she wants a break from all the kid duties that can grow mundane after a while. A dirty diaper? That's your business. Spit up and a necessary change of clothes? You know where the onesies are.
"Let Me Have Some Time Alone"
Let mom spend a lunch alone at her favorite coffee shop. Give her a few minutes of uninterrupted time with a great book. Watch the kids while she takes herself to that one movie she wouldn't be able to watch any other day of the year.
"Tell Me I'm Doing Great"
Every human being needs a little validation, and moms are no different. And since the mommy wars and mom guilt are definitely a thing, telling mom that she's doing an incredible job is the least you can do on Mother's Day. In fact, in so many ways that's more thoughtful than an expensive gift.
"Thank Me For All The Work I Do"
I rarely, if ever, hear a "thank you" for the work that I do. And you know what? I don't expect to. I'm not a mom for the accolades, to be sure, and so much of what I do is a personal choice: I want to be my babies' mom. I want to be the person they run to when they're scared, hurt, happy, sad, and everything in between.
But every once in a while, a thank you is appreciated. So when a mom doesn't want anything for Mother's Day, at least thank her for all the unseen work she does on a daily basis.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.