Here’s to good women:
May we be them.
May we know them.
May we raise them
.   
(Anonymous)

Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you- single moms, remarried moms, stepmoms, and all fine women everywhere who love, mentor and help raise successful women in their capacities as teacher, aunt, businesswoman, and community volunteer.

As the quote above suggests, it’s not just mothers who raise good women, it’s all the other women in our lives as well. Knowing and being a good woman makes you a role model, and on Mother’s Day, I’d like to salute all women who know, love and/or raise young women.

Mother’s Day also gives us pause.

I’ve watched over the years as mothers that I know hold their breath to see if their children “remember”.

It’s tough. You are supposed to be celebrated, but the waiting is just a killer.

At the same time, I know women who don’t have great relationships with their mothers, and who get “guilted” at this time of year by their mom. That’s not good either.

What is a woman to do? I have 2 suggestions for you.

If your children are in pre-school or elementary school, chances are they are being helped with making a gift for you, and you probably don’t have to do much.

But if your children are older than that, then you will need to let them know that you are looking forward to Mother’s Day, and what they will be giving you.  If your children ask you what you want, tell them. Teach your children what to do and how to celebrate you. But do make it easy for them to celebrate you with simple purchases or homemade gifts. Make sure to ask for what is age appropriate for the child.

And no, I don’t believe that a phone call by itself is only enough for Mother’s Day. Teaching our children to just call us or just say it– doesn’t teach them how to give gifts and sets us up for a lifetime of wishing we had done it differently when our children get older. It’s okay to require our children to make an effort.  It is actually good for them (even though it may seem uncomfortable to you).

When my daughters ask me what I want for mother’s day a few years ago, I told them I would plan the day and they would have to do what I want. We went to a movie, and then, they cleaned up their clothes off the floor in their rooms (at ages almost 13 and 15, this was a gift).  After a few years of telling them what I wanted, now at 16 and 19, they know to do something for me, and it will be a surprise.  (I actually did tell them that there was a certain thing I wanted this year, and I have already been informed that they have their own ideas and want it to be a surprise for me. Okay, I’m in with that too :).

My Mother doesn’t care what I get her, she just wants it to arrive on time (Monday does not count!).

Many moms just want something their child made for them. I know a single mom who gave her older kids money and sent them to the local grocery store. She asked them, “Please buy me a card and some candy”. She got what she wanted and her kids did the right thing, and learned how to do it on their own in the future. When I was a single parent, I asked a friend to assist my young daughters in finding or making gifts for me or sometimes a family member helped. If you know a single mom, help her kids get her a gift!

In any event, it’s important to help your children learn how to gift you. Teaching your son how to buy gifts for you will benefit his future wife. Teaching your daughter how to buy gifts for you means she can teach her own children someday, and she learns how to make requests from the people in her life that she loves.

A special note to stepmoms- you often fall in the cracks on mother’s day. But you play an important supporting role in your stepchildren’s lives. When my stepchildren were younger, they actually would make me something in school, but as they are now teenagers, I don’t ask or expect gifts from my stepchildren. Sometimes, teenage stepchildren need you to give them some slack because they are more aware of any conflicting feelings by their biological mom. But I make sure to acknowledge to myself that I’ve done a good job, and do something special for myself as stepmom. Your partner/husband can celebrate your stepmom accomplishments with you.  You can too.

And last, but not least, CELEBRATE YOURSELF!

That’s right. You heard me. Stop sitting around or waiting or feeling sad because you may not be recognized.

Go out there and plan your day.

If you feel that your children aren’t enthusiastic enough, go out and gift yourself. You aren’t perfect and that’s okay, but you are doing the best that you can. And that is good enough. Gift yourself because you deserve it.

Some of you may feel I am stepping on some “important mother toes” here by not encouraging the “time honored tradition” of “mother’s who sweat it out”, but that’s okay.  If you want to sweat it out, then be prepared to not necessarily get what you want.  It takes all kinds of mothers to make the world go round.

A toast in your honor for Mother’s Day! Here’s to you and whatever role you play as a woman in being, knowing and raising good women.