What to do when Mother’s Day is Mothers’ Day: How to celebrate two moms

An illustration of two moms side-hugging as they each hold one of their two children.

We announced we were pregnant on Mother’s Day.

It was the first time my wife Cady and I realized we were about to be in The Club: I’m going to be a mom. You’re going to be a mom. We’re going to be moms. Up until then, Mother’s Day was an occasion we planned and put together for our moms and grandmothers.

What we didn’t know yet—what there was no way to know until we became parents—is how profoundly new and incredible it is to love each other as moms. How important it would be to take a day to recognize and affirm each other. And how surprisingly different planning Mother’s Day can be when the two moms you’re celebrating are each other.

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Why Mother's Day for two moms is such a big deal  

As a couple, then a married couple, it was like, “Yeah, I know she’s the love of my life and the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.” But then your wife becomes a mom and a whole new identity blossoms in front of your eyes. And now it’s, “What? We’ve been doing this for a decade and I’m going to love you in a whole new way now. Are you kidding?”

Like every couple with little ones, you don’t always get around to saying that. We make it to the end of the day and then start all over again when a little one wakes up and you have to make a lunch and go to work and clean up the puke.

So you want a pause. You want to just take a break and say, “Being a mom can be ordinary and relentless and you do it every day…but it’s Mother’s Day and we’re going to pause and say, ‘It matters. You’re excellent at this. You mean everything to me.'”

And, you know, have brunch (or not) and get a manicure.

Mother’s Day is a megaphone to amplify what you’re thinking every day. But when you’re both moms—in our case, Mama and Mommy—who plans it? What do you do? How do you take that pause when the two of you want to celebrate and be celebrated on the same day?

Deciding how to celebrate both moms on Mother's Day  

An illustration of two moms at a Mother's Day breakfast table; one is feeding a toddler in a high chair, the other is passing a plate of pancakes to their little girl, who is feeding a piece of bacon to the family dog.

Thinking back on childhood, holidays and special occasions were the rhythms and the markers of the year. When my grandmothers were still around, the extended family did a big brunch on Sunday morning and everybody got dressed up and the women got corsages. It was fancy for fancy’s sake, but we have so many great pictures from those days.

When you’re little, it feels like you’re the one doing Mother’s Day—you’re throwing the party and Dad’s just, you know, driving and footing the bill. You never really think about Mother’s or Father’s Day as something the family or the partner is making special or the thought and care that goes into creating traditions and memories.

Our first couple of years as moms, we got cards for each other while we planned a bigger celebration for our mothers (and grandmothers and aunts). We thought, “These are supposed to feel like bigger days than this,” but we both got why they weren’t.

This year, we’ll have a six-month-old and a toddler—so, you know, excellent party planners. (Get it together, Kids.)

So for a while, at least, it will be up to each of us to facilitate celebrating the other. And for us, it’s not just about what we want to do this year: It’s about what we want to do about Mother’s Day, forever.

Because we’re queer, our family doesn’t fit all the scripts for holidays and special occasions. I don’t experience our exclusion from these norms entirely as a burden. The writer/poet Ocean Vuong said, “Often we see queerness as a deprivation, but when I look at my life, I saw that queerness demanded an alternative innovation from me, I had to make alternative routes.”

I love that being a queer parent requires innovation and makes room for expansive definitions of family and family rituals. And because we are new to having a family, we get to think about how all the big and little rituals and traditions are going to go.

How we'll celebrate each other on Mother's Day  

An illustration of two moms side-hugging as they each hold one of their two children.

I’ll admit it: Though we’ve had a few conversations, we didn’t think too hard about our solution for Mother’s Day for two moms until I got the assignment to write this. So we’ve thought it through, and here’s where we’ve landed:

  • We want to celebrate when the world is full of messages about motherhood and the shelves are full of Mother’s Day cards. We both identify as women and moms, so we want to be part of the universal festivities.
  • Turn the day into a weekend. We initially thought, “Great—we’ll each take a day.” But what about our extended families? We want our boys to know Mother’s Day is about celebrating all the moms and mom-figures in our lives. So we’ll take Saturday for us and make Sunday about everyone.
  • It should feel like more than just any other dream Saturday. Special activities and traditions will help make this weekend intentional and special.
  • Make it memorable. We’ll find something our boys will genuinely look forward to—and come home for—as they get older.
  • Take some time off. For at least part of the weekend, we hope to relax and revel in what we love doing.


Right now, we’re thinking we’ll do something special at the beginning and end of the day, with fun activities in the middle. (Having an infant means limiting activities and destinations and planning them around naps and feeding—for now.)

This is probably the first Mother’s Day our toddler will remember. He already gets that having two moms is a special thing: He even made up “Mooms” as his own plural for us.  So for us, Mooms’ Day Weekend might begin like this:

  • Start Saturday with a big family breakfast.
  • Head to a giant plant nursery with an on-site coffee shop.
  • Play outside. (Cady built me a bench in our backyard garden last spring so I could have a comfy place to sit. So she’ll probably plant some new veggies with our toddler while I chill with our baby.)
  • Magically, both the kids take a nap at the same time.
  • For dinner, we’ll order something freaking delicious so the Mooms don’t have to cook or do dishes. It will definitely involve cheesecake.


Of course, we’ll find cards that say how we feel about each other and add heartfelt handwritten messages. (And yes—Hallmark makes Mother’s Day cards for two moms.) We know our toddler will be encouraged to make two Mother’s Day cards at school.

For Mother’s Day gifts, we generally do “upgrades” of something we already have and use a lot. Those dinky mittens you wear excessively? I’m gonna upgrade ya to a fancy, bougie pair. That broken comb you use ’cause you don’t have another? Here’s a new, handcrafted one. (That, or jewelry—jewelry is always the all-star fallback.)

Tips for starting new Mother's Day traditions for two moms  

It’s never too late—or too soon—to try new Mothers’ Day activities. Here’s what we’re learning as we figure ours out:

  • Start the conversation with each other: What do you expect from the holiday and want for yourselves? How do you want to honor your roles and relationship?
  • Bring in your loved ones: Talk to the folks you typically celebrate with about changes you want to make—or new ways you and your family would like to participate.
  • Involve the kids: Littles can color or make cards, drawings and simple craft projects. Older kiddos can play a bigger role in planning. If you establish a family Mother’s Day vibe and your own traditions, they can look forward to a day when they take over the organizing and you can just enjoy yourselves.


Mother’s Day should be meaningful for every mom—and when there are two of you, it should be twice as special. This year, we hope you’ll make it a celebration of everything it means to be a mom, to love a mom and to be moms together.