When it comes to celebrating Mother's Day, husbands come in three varieties. There's the "Oh, it's today?" type who dashes out for a gift card on the day of; the play-it-safe guy who opts for the flowers, candy, and maybe a dinner out; and the best husbands who do Mother's Day right by really thinking about what would make their wives feel cherished.
There's a Berenstain Bears book about Mother's Day that I've always found infuriating beyond belief. True, Papa Bear and the cubs serve Mama her favorite breakfast in bed as a surprise. But (WTH?) Mama has to do all the legwork beforehand: "She had a lot to do if her family's Mother's Day surprise was going to be a success." So she scrapes the caked-on goo from the bed tray and fetches all the ingredients for her special honeyed French toast (which involves trips to the supermarket, farm and Grandma's house, thank you). Why isn't Dad the one running to Trader Grizzly's or wherever? Then comes the real "surprise" at the end: When Mama goes to clean up the kitchen, she's amazed to find that Papa and the kids have done it already. Why should she even have to doubt that they would? And of course, no one says, Hey, Ma, thanks for knocking yourself out for three days so that we could give you two pieces of toast and a cup of tea.
Give Papa Bear credit for making the effort. But the best husbands know that making Mother's Day a success takes a little extra time and thought... with no work on Mom's part. Here are the ways we hope our guys will show their love on this special May day:
1. They Ask What We Want
Communication is key to a successful relationship, as all the marriage books and talk shows remind us repeatedly. That goes for gift-giving occasions, too. We don't expect our guys to be mind-readers (at least, not all the time). A great husband finds out firsthand how we want to spend the day and follows through, rather than running out to buy yet another scented candle the night before.
2. They Take Care Of The Chores
Unlike Mama Bear, we shouldn't even have to think about touching a vacuum, bleach wipe, or dirty diaper on this day devoted to us. And the best husbands wouldn't dream of letting us.
3. They Don't Believe Us When We Say, "Don't Do Anything Special"
We know how to talk a good game. We say, "Don't make a fuss" or "Just being with you and the kids is enough." Then, when our husbands take us at our word, we find ourselves on Mother's Day night enviously looking at our friends' Instagrammed pictures of bouquets, restaurant dinners, and gifts. A good husband knows how to read between the lines. "Don't do anything special" is mom-code for "Please do." Sometimes it even means "I feel so inadequate as a mom that I don't think I deserve to be celebrated." Those cases call for extra TLC.
4. They Skip The Restaurant Brunch
The Mother's Day brunch is a lovely idea, at least in theory. In reality, it usually involves a long wait to be seated, an even longer wait to be served (leading to restless kids who whine and drop the silverware), and a ridiculously jacked-up bill. The best husbands don't fall for that racket. Either they make brunch themselves (without expecting us to shop for the ingredients), or they think outside the box and take us out the day before.
5. They Give Us Alone Time
We love being mothers. We cherish our time with our family. But we also need a break from our kids once in a while. A good husband knows that a happy Mother's Day should include at least an hour, if not more, of solitude. Ideally, they're proactive about making it happen: taking the kids out for a ride, or giving us a gift card for a mani-pedi and sending us out the door.
6. They Give Us Family Time
Mother's Day should be a day for making family memories, too. A smart husband thinks of ways to make it happen: planning a picnic in the park; going for a group bike ride; finding a local kid-friendly winery (you sip while he and the children play cornhole).
7. They Provide Our Favorite Drink
Mimosa, hibiscus tea, double espresso, La Croix lime, Maker's Mark neat...whatever our preference, a wonderful husband makes sure we have it, with plenty of refills.
8. They Give Thoughtful Gifts
When it comes to Mother's Day gifts, it really is the thought that counts with us. We want our guys to recognize that we're amazing women as well as moms, and we still have the same tastes we did before the kiddos entered the picture. Smart husbands don't even stop at the shelves with the "World's Greatest Mom" mugs, and they don't choose a child-birthstone necklace just because a TV ad said it was the perfect keepsake. A wise man knows if his wife is more into Mets tickets or Fortnite Funko Pop! figures than jewelry. ( For the record, Papa Bear bought Mama a new bathrobe to replace her fraying one. That might not be everyone's idea of a great present, but hey, Mama seemed happy with it.)
9. They Don't Wait For Mother's Day
Finally, the truly best of the best husbands (like mine!) know that moms shouldn't have to wait for one day out of 365 to be honored and treated. They do a fair share of housework, plan surprises and gifts for no particular reason, and most of all, they let us know on the regular how much they love us and how much they admire the job we're doing as parents.