I don’t direct my posts to you very often (you vaguely fall into the “and More” category), but I thought I’d offer you some last minute Mother’s Day advice that will likely score you big points with your wife. This is especially pertinent for those of you with young children.
I’ll keep it simple. If you want to knock your wife’s socks off on Mother’s Day, here’s how to do it:
1) Make sure the house is clean on Sunday morning.
That includes most of the laundry being done. It doesn’t really matter who does this. If your wife does it, because she already does that stuff on Saturdays, so be it. If you can do it, all the better. (Just FYI, when we say things like “I don’t mind folding laundry–it’s therapeutic!” that’s just a lie we tell ourselves so we don’t lose our minds matching socks for the hundredth time this month.) Just make sure there’s no major housework that needs to be done on Sunday.
2) Take the kids out and do something fun for a few hours.
Not for the whole day, but at least a few hours. Let your wife know what time you’ll be back so she can do something special for Mother’s Day with the kids afterward. Or let her do something special with the kids first, and then surprise her with a few hours “off” that she can spend however she pleases. Make it fun for your kids, too, so that she knows everyone is happy. It may seem counterintuitive to take the kids away from their mother on Mother’s Day, but let them know that it’s part of their gift to her, too.
Bottom line: The best gift you can give a mother with young children is a slice of time that is hers alone, without any responsibilities, worry, or guilt.
Maybe she’ll use that time to go out for coffee. Maybe she’ll go shopping. Maybe she’ll go for a peaceful walk. Maybe she’ll sit in her clean house and revel in the fact that it’s going to stay that way longer than five minutes. Maybe she’ll meditate, or read a book, or write some poetry, or do her nails, or any of the 500 things she wishes she had time for each day. Don’t ask her what she’s going to do. Just tell her that time is hers, take the children, and leave. (If you hand her an envelope with $50 cash in it on your way out the door, all the better.)
3) When you get back, tell your wife how much you enjoyed being with the kids. Don’t tell her about the colossal fit that Tommy threw at the park, even if he did. Don’t tell her that the reason Junior’s wearing a brand new outfit is because he blew out his diaper and you forgot to bring a change of clothes for him and had to make an emergency Target run. Don’t burden her with any of the parenting woes you fielded during your time away. Just give her a kiss, tell her what a great job she’s doing, and how much you appreciate everything she does. Then let her enjoy some special Mother’s Day time with her kids.
We don’t need flowers, though they’re nice. We don’t need candy, though that’s nice, too. We will love and appreciate whatever sweet cards and crafts our children give us, but we really don’t need a gift from you.
Time alone. That’s it. Trust me.