Mother's Day is great, don't get me wrong. However, as much as I love flowers and homemade paperclip pots, there are ways that my family can make me feel special every day of the year. Whether it's acknowledgement from a teenage child, inclusion from adult kids or a father teaching his children respect for their mother, all children have something to give their moms. Here are 10 things I would love to receive from my children, no matter their stage of life.
Say, "I love you, too." I know that you roll your eyes when I tell you I love you every time you walk out the door, but I sincerely mean it every single time. Make an effort to control the eye roll and say it back.
Notice what needs to be done. No mother wants to nag, in spite of what you may think. However, when you fail to notice the mess in front of your face, it puts me in a tough position. Cut me some slack and open your eyes to the little chores that need to be done then complete them without asking.
Tell me I look good. There are times I feel like a piece of old art on the wall, pretty but unseen. When I get a new haircut, wear a new outfit, or try a little harder on my appearance, it would be lovely if my family noticed. Tell me I look great, and you'll put a huge smile on my face.
Pitch in while I work. I don't always need you to do the dishes or clean the bathrooms all by yourself. I would love it if you'd pick up a rag and help me out while I do something nice for our family. You could even talk to me during it. Turning chores into quality time? Magical.
Give me the benefit of the doubt. You'll assuredly go through stages where you're convinced I'm out to ruin your life. I'm not. I want what's best for you, even when our idea of what that is differs wildly. Listen to my advice and at least promise to consider it, whether you initially agree or not.
Solve your own problems. One of my greatest parenting goals is to raise independent children, so help me out by actually looking for your missing backpack before asking me where it is. You can also keep track of your own appointments and prepare some of your own meals. It'll make me feel like I'm succeeding in life.
Surprise me with a little treat. I've lost count of all the little things I've picked you up at the store over the years. Do you know how excited I would be to get a little something from you? It doesn't have to be big. A candy bar on my pillow or a single flower stem may well be the highlight of my month.
Show gratitude. The best gift you could ever give me are words of gratitude. I harp on you relentlessly to send thank-you notes, but how about sending me one from time to time? Saying thank you is great, but writing it out would be truly memorable.
Acknowledge me in public. I love spending vacations together, taking you out to ice cream and shopping at the mall with you. I know I'm probably not your favorite person to spend time with, but include me in your plans from time to time.
Never stop being my baby. It doesn't matter to me if you're five or fifty, you'll always be my baby. What I need from you, at every stage of your life, is for you to love and respect me. Find ways to include me in your life no matter how busy you get or how far away life takes you.
I give my all to my children with varying degrees of success. Like most moms, I do my very best, and all I want is for my children to grow into happy adults. While it's nice to have Mother's Day once a year to celebrate my contributions, it's much more important that my family respects me each day. The best way families can show love to the mom of the house each day is to live and love in a manner consistent with her diligent teachings.
Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan, mom to two crazy boys, and wife to one amazing husband. You can learn more about her eco-conscious lifestyle at moderatelycrunchy.com.