Mother’s Day is the perfect chance for today’s supportive, nurturing dads to show off their skills. And it is great training for thoughtful kids: Figuring out how to make someone else happy is a valuable life lesson.
We asked some of our caring fathers what they have done to make their wives’ days on Mother’s Day. Each of the ideas is easy to personalize for all different kinds of moms—and the kids who love them.
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Dad’s advice for Mother’s Day: Create a soundtrack for the day with playlists full of Mom’s favorite songs.
One of our family’s favorite things to do together is to take turns playing songs for each other: personal favorites we want to convince the family are as good as we say, family greatest hits that everyone already loves, and sometimes songs you just gotta hear. We call it the Song Game…and everyone wins. (Unless I play ’80s hair metal.)
Wife and mother extraordinaire, Katie, often plays songs that fall in the last category—songs that she just needs to hear, songs that for one reason or another feed her soul and make her heart happy. And every note of every song is well deserved. Because in our family, she’s the one that always knows what we need to hear, the one who feeds our souls (not to mention our bellies), and always makes our hearts happy.
She’s a stay-at-home, do-it-all, music-lovin’ mama, so this Mother’s Day, our boys and I are going to make three playlists for her, one from each of us. We’ll listen as we celebrate her, cook for her, and generally try to make her day a worry-free and happy-hearted serenade. And I’ll even try to keep the metal to a minimum.
Dad’s advice for Mother’s Day: Plan an overnight escape from everything and everybody.
My wife’s favorite Mother’s Day? Probably the year she got to spend it by herself. Whaaaaaaaat?
Yep, it might sound a little strange at first. But bear with me, because it won’t sound strange to the moms. Especially the ones who love their alone time and have little kids.
A few years ago, when ours were baby and preschooler, chaos was the default household setting. Commotion! Tumult! Etc. It’s exhausting to have small kiddos—somehow even when they’re napping.
It didn’t help that my wife, who balanced parenting with freelance editing, was also an incredibly light sleeper. She got up with them throughout the night for months and months on end. (I got up, too—just not as often, let’s be honest.)
After kid number two came along, I thought we needed to try something completely different for Mother’s Day. What she really needed was to not, you know, be needed. At least for a while.
So I booked her a room in a nice hotel (doesn’t have to be crazy fancy, but it helps!) and asked the preschooler to help me make a restful care package. Then we drove her there, said farewell, and heard a rather joyful click of the latch. I half-expected to hear angels singing from behind the door.
She’d have most of the day, that night, and a morning of the blissful solitude and silence she’d been lacking. She was off the Mom Grid. It wasn’t everything, but it was enough.
Dad’s advice for Mother’s Day: Take a hint from the activities toddlers love to do with Mommy.
My boys are a little too young to really understand what Mother’s Day is, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be involved.
For my two month old, this mostly means dressing in a cute outfit and smiling for photos.
But for my 2½ year old, it means finding something that he loves doing and figuring out a way to help him do it for his mommy. This will help him stay engaged in the process and make him proud to show off the final product, and ultimately it will let my wife know that he really was involved and loved doing it for her. If it has some special significance to their relationship, even better.
A few of my son’s favorite things are baking, reading, and putting stickers on everything in sight. His very first baking experience was helping his mommy make a piecrust by pounding a bag of Oreos into submission, so maybe I’ll help him make her a dessert with crushed Oreos. Maybe I’ll make a video of him reading their favorite book to read together, so she’ll have a way to preserve his adorable mispronunciations forever. Maybe I’ll have him put stickers all over all of her shoes. (Hey, not all my ideas are good ones.)
If you’ve got little-little kids who love their mommy but don’t quite understand what a holiday is yet, it’s not hard to get their help. What do they really like to do? What are some special parts of their relationship with Mommy? And how do you combine the two? What you come up with will be totally unique to your mommy-kiddo combo, and that’s what will make it meaningful.
Dad’s advice for Mother’s Day: Ask Mom what she wants—and make it happen.
When my kids were under 18 months old or so, Mother’s Day was easy. I’d tape a card to the youngest and they toddle Mom-ward and it’s adorable and then we try to make sure Mom gets in a nap or two. Easy.
But once the kids got older, the stakes went up. That’s where Mom’s Dream Day came in. It can be tailored to any budget, and any age kid can help. It works like this…
From the moment Mother’s Day dawns (whenever Mom would like that to be, and you get up earlier to organize), the focus is 100% on Mom. The day becomes a series of easy, great, fun, etc. choices, all decided by Mom and then brought to life by Dad and kids.
Does Mom want breakfast in bed? Perfect! Old-enough kids can help cook and younger kids can deliver, but that’s not even close to where the special ends.
Does Mom want to start the day with some calming and centering yoga? We namaste out of her way and let her do it!
Does Mom want some gentle background music playing? Maybe recorded bird sounds, or ocean waves? She picks, you play.
Does Mom want a walk in the park? Alert the squirrels! She’s comin’ through!
Does Mom want to go out to dinner? Her choice! Even if it’s someplace that doesn’t come with paper word-find menus!
Does Mom want to marathon home improvement shows? Fluff the throw pillows and fire up the DVR!
See all the “Does Mom want” statements? Mom chooses. Dad and kids make it happen. That’s how you do it. Mom gets to choose, kids get to help, and Dad gets the credit. Also works for birthdays, and, of course, it’s a natural for Father’s Day…if you want to start laying the hint groundwork now.