Happy Mother’s Day – With Teenagers?

On behalf of your teenagers, let me say, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You are doing an amazing job.” Pour yourself another cup of coffee and go wake them up. You’ve got Mother’s Day to celebrate!

Ahh, Mother’s Day! Flowers, breakfast in bed, sweet hand drawn cards, matching Mother/ Daughter Outfits, cooperative kids posing for pictures ……

Not if you have teenagers!

Heck, it wasn’t even my reality with little kids. I would like to say that’s how it used to go. I’d like to say that we have the most gorgeous photos of my kids and I. But I can’t. Years ago, my mom gave me photo album with the most beautiful words inscribed. Something about you’re going to be a great mom, blah blah blah.

I was supposed to have one gorgeous picture each year with my babies to remember our special bond through the years. Um yeah. I think I have two years. And those two pictures are pretty hideous. One kid had a snotty nose and the other was going through a hair thinning phase.

Now my kids are teenagers. Mother’s Day means no flowers unless I text them and tell them they have to get some. I shudder at the thought of them making breakfast in bed because they are far too old to be making that big of a mess in the kitchen. It’s no longer cute.

I got this text the other day from the teenager in charge of heating up dinner…
burndt 2

Um, No. And thanks for not burning down the house!

What about handmade cards? This generation hasn’t hand written anything since kindergarten. I might get a text or a post or a status update with my name mentioned, but I assure you, no crayon will hit paper in the house of a teenager.

Oh and matching outfits? Every once in a while I get a, You look okay” WITHOUT an eye roll. Sad part is that I’d take it as a compliment most days.

The good news about teens: they finally sleep in.

They will sleep in all day, every day, but that’s not the point right now. To all the moms of little kids who wake up at crazy early hours, someday your kids will sleep in.

I’m not going to lie, it’s amazing. But just so you don’t get too excited, as soon as they are old enough to finally sleep in, some automatic switch gets thrown in your body, and you can no longer sleep past 7am. You are just “done sleeping.”

What the heck! I’ve been looking forward to sleeping in for so many years. Now that I can, I’m suddenly a morning person. Like my grandmother? At least mornings are generally pretty quiet. And that is as awesome as it sounds.

Those early pictures with the snotty noses, crazy hair, and postpartum mom body are beautiful memories.

What I’ve learned through years of failing to keep up with the Mother’s Day album is that my expectations are rarely the reality. Those early pictures with the snotty noses, crazy hair, and postpartum mom body are beautiful memories.

We weren’t that put together, we weren’t that cute, we weren’t always at our best. But we survived those years as best we could. We made memories, we grew, we learned, we were bored and we were tired. But we are family.

And I know for certain I will look back on the Mother’s Days when they were teenagers and find an appreciation for this time in our life! They are moody, irritable, sometimes rude, but mostly growing up into beautiful people who will someday happily sit next to me for a picture in slightly color coordinated outfits!
Not this year.
I will continue to see the beautiful potential. I will embrace the day to day messiness of teenage life!

So on behalf of your teenagers, let me say, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You are doing an amazing job.”

Pour yourself another cup of coffee and go wake those teens. You’ve got Mother’s Day to celebrate!

The Parent.co Team Solves Mother’s Day

Ed:  Today the Parent.co team is gathered to discuss Mother’s Day. We have three dads: Mike, Ed, and Justin. And three moms: Angela, Sara, and Autumn. And two women who don’t have kids, but do have moms who they’re close to: Amanda and Katrina.

Many people – including moms – have mixed feelings about Mother’s Day. We accept that it’s kind of a Hallmark holiday, a manufactured obligation to get us to buy stuff like cards and chocolate and flowers.

But then again, Mother’s Day does provide an opportunity to focus on the moms in our lives, to celebrate and thank and appreciate them.

Angela: I think that’s my fundamental problem with Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Anytime there’s the one day on the calendar it almost creates an implicit excuse to forget about that appreciation the rest of the year.

Autumn: We are sort of teaching our kids to experience the stress of this thing you have to do – ‘hurry up and get the crayons and feel guilty’ – and feel all these other things around it.

I don’t really care if my kids spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. I don’t want my husband to be like ‘You gotta make something for your mom!’ and they’re like ‘We do?!’

Sara: There’s a Buzzfeed article of kids’ Mother’s Day cards. In one a kid wrote ‘I am writing this so I can eat.’ At school they were like, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this before lunch.’

Angela: I think the only gift that I’ve ever gotten my mom that I felt pretty good about was a bouquet of flowers delivered every month for a year. That was an opportunity for us to have a monthly exchange about how much I appreciate her and care about her. Anything to stretch out the appreciation for the whole year.

Ed:  Maybe Mother’s Day can be seen as another opportunity to teach kids to understand  gratitude, how to express it.

Autumn:  Basically, I think that we – moms – want to be recognized. We want to be seen. We want to be seen and appreciated.

Then there’s a bigger conversation of how do we help our kids and our spouses understand that a big part of getting through life is saying ‘thank you.’ 

Someone saying ‘I know it was kind of a pain for you to leave that thing to go do that other thing to pick up the kids and that wasn’t the plan but you did it and that’s really awesome. That’s really helpful.’

Angela: It’s an opportunity to express those things that you feel like you don’t get to express. That’s a positive. It helps us remember.

Autumn: There’s also that other layer that’s becoming a little noisier year to year. It’s a corporate driven, sort of saccharine holiday that puts women without kids into this crappy space.

Either they chose not to have kids or can’t have kids or have lost a child. I know you can’t be responsible for every person every second of the day, but what does this feel like to these other women?

Sara: That’s what it’s like these days being on social media. Before, you’re might have those feelings on your own, but no one is throwing them in your face every second.

Ed: It’s something to be thoughtful about. I wonder if that’s another reason why Father’s Day is so much more muted than Mother’s Day. Most single parent families are kids living with a mom.

Autumn: I heard Howard Stern say one year, and it’s so true, ‘Why are we doing this whole Father’s Day thing, because for many people Father’s Day is the day you go and look for your dad.’ It’s cruel but true.

Justin: Unfortunately that probably is true.

Ed: What makes a great Mother’s Day gift?

Angela: If my kids have spent time on something and taken care when they’re doing it, I don’t care if it’s functional or not. I would just be thrilled to get it.

But then I would feel guilty when I threw it away. They would say “Mommy, where’s that thing I gave you?”

Sara: And you’d have to say, ‘Here’s the truth: it was kind of crappy.’

Angela: I guess for me it’s about time. It’s showing time and appreciation. Either giving me time or spending time doing something, or in some other way a gift of time shows appreciation to me. I definitely don’t want or don’t expect my husband to get jewelry for me.

Ed: Autumn looks incredulous. Autumn is giving the skeptical look.

Autumn: That’s the tricky part of these holidays, aside from the schlock and the cheese and the precious stuff. There’s often this expectation that you need to do something.

Then, I think there’s this dynamic where moms are approached by their partners and it’s like ‘Well, hey, so I didn’t really do anything yet.’

Then it’s your responsibility to either let them off the hook or be the a-hole that’s like, ‘Well you’re supposed to do something.’

I know I definitely don’t want to know that nothing has happened yet, and he hasn’t really done anything.

That makes it even worse. Because it puts it on the other person. The same with Valentine’s Day. The same with birthdays. The same with all holidays.

Sara: I think that is kind of a crappy dynamic. It exists because the holiday exists.

Amanda: I wish I could go back to being able to make my mom something for Mother’s Day that she would appreciate and love and just coo over.

The biggest thing for Mother’s Day – even in Google Search Trends – is this whole concept of brunch. I like the idea of making food and spending time together, but I don’t live near my mom. So I’m left with sending flowers I guess. I still want to make popsicle stick art for her.

Mike: In our household, Mother’s Day is ironically about relief from being a mother.

It’s kind of an interesting thing. ‘You can get away today. Here’s a spa day – take a break from your responsibilities as a mom. I got the kid. See ya! Take the day and do whatever you want.’

Angela: Autumn and I were talking about this last week. My perfect Mother’s Day would be to spend the morning with my kids and my husband and to have family time, and to also have some time to myself.

But even better than having time to myself would be to have time with friends. To have time with other female friends.

Sara: I feel guilty when I’m out indulging just myself but if I’m out with my friends and we’re shooting the shit there’s really nothing that’s more fun than that.

Last year in my daughter’s preschool class they sat down and the teacher took time with each little kid asking a series of questions about the mom. It was so sweet – except for the part when my daughter said my job was “vacuuming.”

It’s just a simple piece of paper. I’m sure I still have it somewhere but I also took a photo of it. That’s something that is going to be a part of our life. That’s a gift.


Ed: What is everybody doing for their mom or their wife on Mother’s Day. Be honest. I’m taking Erika to see “Captain America.”

Sara: I cross my fingers that a statement necklace shows up for me. And maybe I’ll call my mom instead of throwing her a text.

Amanda: I’m on the fence this year. I may make a surprise trip to see my mother. Even though she’s been an empty nester for a while, for some reason it’s really hitting her hard this year. Out of nowhere. I think it’s because we’re calling her a lot less. Even though we’re texting more. I mean she really has a grasp on emojis!

She’s starting to feel more of a physical distance that’s unnerving her so I might just make a surprise visit. She will love it because I will have to catch up on like three months of conversations.

Justin: I’ll be in Montreal so we’re gonna have a whole weekend up there.

Autumn: You’ll be in Montreal with your wife?

Justin: With my wife and my kids. My mother and father. Sunday when we come back we usually do a barbecue and so I’ll do that.

I usually have the boys pick out a way that they can help mommy on Mother’s Day and carry it through the week. So it’s a chore that they pick up through the week. Something to help their mom out.

I have a hard time subscribing to the gifts. I think the thing is kind of a Hallmark holiday. So instead I try to show her how much she’s a great mom every day and not just for Mother’s Day.

Mike: My wife sent me a link to some sandals. She was like ‘This is what I really want,’ and I’m like ‘Okay. I’ll get them for you.’

That’s how it is every holiday. It’s fantastic –  it makes it a lot easier, and it takes the stress out of it. We’ll go out to dinner, or I’ll make dinner for the family and Dominic will do something nice for her.

If she wants the day on Sunday she can do whatever she wants. We don’t make a big deal out of it.

Autumn: I was thinking of sending a link for the gift I want to my husband. He doesn’t like it because it takes the surprise away. I’m like ‘Why are you fighting me on this?’

Mike: My wife is like ‘Wouldn’t you rather know that you’re getting me exactly what I want?’ And I’m like ‘Yes.’ She’s like ‘Remember the mixer?’ And I’m like ‘Yeah. I remember the mixer.’

She’s like, ‘Just stick to the plan.’

Sara: I’ll never forget the mixer.

Autumn: I don’t know what’s going to happen. I won’t be home for most of the day because I’m going to New York for a girl party. I’ll be home mid-afternoon Sunday.

I want to be like, ‘Hey cool, now we’re together but I kind want to go from the airport to yoga and then come home and then have dinner. Great, that’s it!’

I think probably that.

Angela: My husband is going to be gone for work. I don’t think he even knows, honestly, that it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday. I’m going to be at home with our kids and my mom. And I’m happy that my mom is going to be with me on Mother’s Day.

Ed: You look convincingly happy.

Angela: I am happy. She likes Mother’s Day. The big take away: no special plans except to spend time with my mom and my kids.

Ed: What are you going to do with your mom?

Angela: I don’t know. I really meant to make freaking brunch reservations.

Katrina: Freaking brunch, that’s a good one for home.

Angela: I don’t like cooking.

Katrina: I’m hosting a Mother’s Day brunch thingy or dinner, I guess. Dinner with my mom and Andy’s mom. My grandmother.

Amanda: Growing up, it was important to my aunts that they were around their nieces and nephews on Mother’s Day. To recognize that they were participants in their lives and had appreciation in that day as well.

Angela: I think when used properly Mother’s Day relieves symptoms of neglect, disconnection, the sense that you are not seen. That sort of invisibility thing that we sometimes feel.

I think it’s a really good idea, and it’s sad when it turns into a stressful occasion; when there’s commercial pressure, or consumerist pressure.

What Amanda just described, that sounded fantastic – generations of women together with their children and their nieces and nephews just to celebrate.

A celebration of the women in my family – that sounds beautiful.

Mike: I don’t think Mother’s Day is bullshit. It creates a focal point for your appreciation throughout the year.

Ed: It probably teaches kids how to show thanks and be appreciative.

Angela: It all comes down to time and sentiment and intention.

Autumn: Wow, we worked it out didn’t we?

My Kids Have Two Moms To Celebrate On Mother’s Day

My mother-in-law asked my partner and me what we would be doing on Mother’s Day. Our answer: we’ll be mothering on Mother’s Day.

My mother-in-law asked my partner and me what we would be doing on Mother’s Day. Our answer: the same thing we do every day. We’ll be mothering on Mother’s Day.

Our five-year-old daughter and almost-three-year-old twin sons are too young to fully appreciate what Mother’s Day means; we have no expectations of gifts, Hallmark cards, flowers, or even their best behavior.

My partner and I don’t buy things for each other, and we don’t celebrate one mama on Mother’s Day and then the other on Father’s Day. We believe Father’s Day should be reserved for dads.

We share the second Sunday of every May with each other and all of the other women wiping their brows after a long day of someone calling them mom.

However, our daughter has been not-so-secretly working hard all week to prepare for the Mother’s Day breakfast her preschool is hosting. That will be where the celebration happens.

Our daughter will shower us with the surprises she has made, parade us around her classroom, [su_pullquote align=”right”]Having our children feel confident, loved, and accepted by their classmates, teachers, and strangers is what my partner and I want for Mother’s Day and every day. [/su_pullquote]and smile proudly as she sits between her two moms. And that will be what makes Mother’s Day—or in our case Mothers’ Day—special. Having our children feel confident, loved, and accepted by their classmates, teachers, and strangers is what my partner and I want for Mother’s Day and every day.

We began planning for our first child two years before she was born. Drafting legal paperwork, researching sperm banks, saving the money to purchase sperm from said cryobanks, and then the actual process of my partner receiving fertility clinic-assisted intrauterine inseminations in order to get pregnant took time. But all of this effort and waiting made holding my daughter for the first time that much sweeter. Parenthood felt good on us, so we went through the process again and welcomed twin boys into our family the second time around. Twins. Three kids. It was and still is more than we bargained for.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and couples who are in their own stages of family planning. They were looking for legal advice, tips about second parent adoption, options for surrogacy, and testimonies from people who have adopted children through the foster care system. I reminded them that it takes planning and then more planning when the first plans don’t work out.

But the best advice I thought I could give, even at the risk of scaring them, was to tell them to be prepared to have motherhood and fatherhood be amazing, but really hard.

I love being a mom. It is the most humbling and rewarding thing I have ever done. But it takes a toll on your relationship, your friendships, and yourself. With the added layer of identifying as LGBTQ, being a parent will break your heart in both the best and worst ways possible. Our country has shown signs of improvement, but there is still so much hatred toward and ignorance about LGBTQ families that it makes me doubt that the love I have for my partner and our children will ever be universally understand or accepted as just love.

Having kids has only strengthened our resolve to be honest and open.

My partner and I live as openly as possible. We have not shied away from our sexuality or from the way our family was made. We haven’t made a production out of our lives (our kids make everything we do a production, though that’s another story) but we live as out and proud as our straight neighbors and friends.

Having kids has strengthened our resolve to be honest and open. Skirting the truth or avoiding situations will only make our kids feel like there is something to be ashamed of for having two moms. And there absolutely is not.

That point will be validated on Friday when I sit down for my special Mother’s Day breakfast prepared by five year olds. My daughter, and her two brothers who will be there too, will only feel happiness not in spite of, but because she has two moms who love her so, so much.

It is not within my young kids’ ability to fully comprehend how much we love them and how many sacrifices we make for their happiness, how much thinking we do about protecting them from unkindness, knowing full well we can’t. The truth is that they will never really know the depth of our love or understand the selflessness of parenthood until they have kids of their own. While we would welcome a Mother’s Day of pampering and being spoiled by our children who only show gratitude and self-sufficiency, it’s not going to happen. Not this year.

But we will watch our daughter mingle with her classmates as we mingle with the other mothers in the room, and we will feel safe and supported. And when we wake up on Sunday, on Mother’s Day, we will feel loved. Just like every other day, within the tantrums, uneaten dinners, middle-of-the-night wakeup calls, giggles, tiny arms squeezing us with hugs, and unprompted manners, we will feel the depth of their love for us. And that is all we have ever wanted.

Kid Made Recipe: Everything You Need to Pull Off An Impressive Mother’s Day Brunch

You don’t need to plan for weeks to host a delicious, beautiful Mother’s Day brunch at your place. One trip to the market and minimal prep will set you up.

Moms deserve to be celebrated every day, obviously. But Mother’s Day can really sneak up on you (dads, I’m looking your way).

Relax. Just because you haven’t been planning for weeks doesn’t mean you can’t make it special – and super delicious.  You can totally host a killer brunch at your place, with one trip to the market and minimal preparation.

Here’s a list of easy brunch hacks that will help you impress the heck out of any mom in your life and show her how much you appreciate her, even if you wait until the last minute.


If you’re hosting Mother’s Day brunch at your place, get some flowers. Not to give as gifts, though that’s nice, too, but because they’re a quick way to add some beauty and style to the table. Several inexpensive bouquets from the grocrey store will do the trick. Get lots of one single kind – daisies! roses! – or a mix of colors and shapes, and arrange them in a few different sized vases on the table.


It is brunch after all. Plus, fancy drinks always take a party to the next level. My hack? Make a mimosa bar. Provide champagne (and/or seltzer) on ice and a few juice choices. Mango, cherry,  orange, strawberry-kiwi, pineapple – go for it.  And don’t forget the garnishes: lemon, lime, and strawberry slices, and fresh cherries with stems.

The Food!

Here are some go-to recipes that are easy, but still fancy and delicious enough to qualify as party food. Make them all, or mix-and-match depending on the number of folks you’re feeding.

Potato Scallion Frittata (serves 8)

  • 1 lb small yellow potatoes (like fingerlings) washed and sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, green parts only, chopped
  • 18 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • a few Tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Add the potatoes to a medium saucepan of salted water, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a fork but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together until frothy. Set aside.
  • In a 10-12 inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent and starting to brown – about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and mix to combine, careful not to break up the potatoes too much.
  • Add the egg mixture and cook, using a rubber spatula, carefully lifting the edges once the bottom sets a bit to let uncooked egg run underneath. When the eggs are slightly set around the edges sprinkle the scallions over the top and put the skillet into the preheated oven, Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is set and just starting to brown. Let cool slightly before cutting.

Sweet corn bread

  • 1  cup yellow corn meal
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk just add a splash of white vinegar to the same amount of regualr milk)
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • Preheat oven to 450
  • In a large bowl, sift together corn meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In another bowl mix the milk, buttermilk, egg, and melted butter.
  • Slowly add to the dry ingredients and mix gently until they’re all incorporated. Add the honey and corn kernels and fold gently. Don’t overmix!
  • In a 10-12 inch ovenproof skillet, melt the 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat. When it’s all melted and the skillet is hot, add the cornbread batter. It should sizzle a little! Cook for just 2 -3 minutes until the bottom sets and looks slightly crispy around the edges, then pop it in the preheated oven, on a rack near the top. Bake for 20 minutes or so, until the top is golden brown. Let cool 10-15 minutes before cutting.

Breakfast flatbread (Serves 8)

  • 1 package store bought pizza dough, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 eggs
  • Preheat your oven to 450.
  • Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Using lightly floured hands or a rolling pin,  stretch the pizza dough out the fit the pan into a large rectangle or oval.
  • Brush with the olive oil, then sprinkle the minced garlic and pepper slices evenly around.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Spread the grated cheese around evenly.
  • Carefully crack the eggs, keeping yolks intact, and place them on the dough, avoiding the edges.
  • Carefully place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until the crust is golden brown, the cheese is bubbly and the eggs are set.
  • Yolks will still be runny.
  • Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and more salt and pepper if desired.

Lemon garlic asparagus

  • 1 lb asparagus, washed, and trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 large lemon,  sliced into rounds
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • Preheat your oven to 400
  • Spread the asparagus on a large rimmed baking sheet and gently toss with the olive oil, salt, lemon juice, and pepper to taste.
  • Scatter 5 or 6 lemon slices over the asparagus.
  • Roast for 12-15 minutes or until bright green and just beginning to soften – you still want the spears to have a little bite.
  • Serve with extra lemon slices.

Puff Pastry Berry Shortcake (makes 9 shortcakes, recipe can be doubled)

  • 3 cups mixed fresh berries
  • 3 cups sweetened whipped cream ( 1 1/2  cups heavy cream if you’re making it yourself)
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry , thawed and cut into 9 squares
  • Preheat your oven to 400.
  • Arrange the pastry squares on a parchment lined baking sheet and set aside while the oven heats.
  • Gently mix the berries, sugar, honey, and lemon juice in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Bake the pastry for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.

Don’t forget the card!

This is important. Store bought Mother’s Day cards can be cheesy, but handmade cards from the heart are always great, even if your elementary school years are far behind you.

Now pull up a chair, raise a mimosa, and tell that mom you love her!

Capture your family’s unique story with the StoryCorps app

The beauty of StoryCorps is that it makes clear everyone, in fact, has a story.

I’ve always loved StoryCorps. I don’t remember the first installment I heard on Morning Edition, but over the years, I’ve fallen in love with feisty grandmas in New York,  janitors in California, and a bank robber in Texas. A few weeks ago, I ugly cried listening to a 4th grader ask his father just a few simple questions.

The beauty of StoryCorps is that it makes clear everyone, in fact, has a story.

Since 2003, over 80,000 people have shared 50,000+ stories and conversations which are now archived in the American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress. Some are extraordinary, a few minutes that could easily play out on a movie screen. Some stick with you because they feel like you could have told them yourself.

It’s humbling to think that each person we honk at in traffic, brush past in the grocery store, and work with day after day has a story to tell. Most, you’ll never know.

But what about your family? What do you know about the people who have shaped who you are? How many stories have you been told about the people closest to you? How many stories do they have that are waiting to be told?

Last month, StoryCorps released an app to record your own oral history. With categories including “parents,” “grandparents,” “remembering a loved one,” and “war,” it provides anyone the opportunity to conduct their own interviews, anywhere. The interviews can be shared through the app to Storycorps.me and archived for future generations at the Library of Congress, joining the largest assembly of human voices that has ever been collected.

This weekend may be a good time to download it yourself and preserve a story or two with a mom/grandma/rockstar lady in your life. She’ll have plenty of them.

Get the Storycorps app on iTunes.






8 real moms dish on their ultimate Mother’s Day

Not surprisingly, we know a lot of (awesome) moms. We asked a few of them what they consider the ultimate Mother’s Day. You might think, given the opportunity to fantasize about anything under the sun, that the answers would be something only The Duchess of Cambridge could realistically expect. The truth is, most moms want something quite simple.

Not surprisingly, those of us at Parent Co know a lot of (awesome) moms. For reasons that were not entirely unselfish, we asked a handful of them what they would consider the ultimate Mother’s Day. You might think, given the opportunity to fantasize about anything under the sun, that the answers would be something only The Duchess of Cambridge could realistically expect. The truth is, most moms want something quite simple.

(Hear that, lovers of moms? SIMPLE. You can do this.)

Sarah, mom of 2 ages 9 and 13

Ok- dream? My kids are old enough that we have fun together, and we all work a lot, and any moment when we step outside of the pace and requirements of our day we just enjoy each other’s company- feeling lucky. So, my mother’s day wish would be us all in the east village for one weekend, eating cannoli at Venieros and borscht at Veselka and long hours in the aisles of The Strand- happy.

A close second is a day in the garden with them and then walk to dinner at Leunigs and creemees at Burlington Bay. I don’t ever wish for time apart. I just wish for time to be with them deeper. One little jewel of a day.

Elizabeth, mom of 1, age 2
I would like a Kitchen Aid mixer in the most basic color possible. Just kidding…. I would like to sit in the sun and read my book uninterrupted and a gift card to Mirror Mirror or J Crew.

Nicci, mom of 2, ages 5 and 7

I want a morning of exploring in the woods with my guys, followed by coffees and downtown meandering as a family. Then, I want to go off by myself to an awesome yoga class while my boys work like a rock-star team to plan and make dinner—something healthy and delicious—served on a table that’s set strategically with our brightest plates, coordinating (not necessarily matching) napkins and inexpensive flowers (too bad our peonies won’t have bloomed yet).

I want drawings made especially for me and board games with sweetened mint tea. I want to do the bedtime reading and back-scratching and tucking in—but delegate the subsequent bedtime wrangling to my husband. So basically, nothing much (ha!)— just a picture-perfect day.

Laura, mom of 2, ages 5 and 2

-To actually sleep in (not have the boys running in and out from 6am on and hear them yelling downstairs)
-To have the boys make breakfast AND clean it up
-To do something fun together AND then be granted a few hours of guilt-free time to myself (to hike Philo, get a pedicure, go to a movie, anything)
-And though I don’t need anything, I’ve always loved the idea of having something that my kids picked out (with a wee bit of guidance from their dad); I’d love to wear something that they picked out for me, whether it’s earrings, a hat, you name it (again, within Dad guidelines)

Every year when M-Day rolls around I have the same conversation with many mom friends… that there’s a delicate balance of what makes a perfect mother’s day. You want to spend time with the sweet people who made you a mom, you don’t want to clean up after them for once, and you’d love to have a nanosecond of time to yourself. And then come back to them. But not be the default for the day.

Sarah, mom of two, ages 4 and 7

I want to wake up refreshed from a full night’s sleep (8 hours). The sun is peeking through the curtains and I have a kid tucked under each arm, but my back doesn’t hurt. My husband is frying bacon in the kitchen. We lay around for a while (1 hour) and then have breakfast on the sun-warmed porch with really good coffee (1 hour). Then we go for a walk on the waterfront and the kids are lovely and don’t fight and the sun is warm and glorious (2 hours).

Then we come home and my husband takes the kids somewhere for a really long time. I spent two hours drawing on the porch in the sun. Then I go for a long, leisurely run along the lake for and nothing hurts, not even my lungs or my illacal spinae migratis, and the music is really, really good (1 hour). Then I take a long hot shower (30 mins). Then I lie down with a really good book and fall asleep because hey, I just ran for an hour (2 hours). Then just when I start to miss the kids, they come home and climb all over me and make me laugh. But then they leave again. (30 minutes).

Then I konmari my entire house, top to bottom and say goodbye to clutter forever (4 hours). Then I take another shower, because dust and grime (30 mins). Then my husband takes me to Misery Loves Company for dinner (3 hours) etc (1 hour) and we fall asleep (2 hours). Then somehow the kids come home and they’ve already been fed so we have movie night (Harry Potter, 2 hours). And then they brush their own damn teeth and we all tumble into bed (30 mins) and sleep a deep dreamless sleep. Except my husband, who has gone shopping and made both dinners and lunches for the week while doing all the laundry (3 hours). And somehow, magically, there is still time to get 8 hours of sleep before starting the week.

Erika, mom of 1, age 7

If we are talking pie-in-the-sky, then I’d want to spend the day in NYC by myself looking at art all day and stuffing my face.

Or stay for a night at an inn on the beach where I can read and write all day and take long walks on the beach by myself.

But if we are talking realistic and simple, then breakfast in bed and a day to myself to read, write or explore sounds perfect too.

All I want from my kid is a handmade card and snuggles.

Kali, mom of 2 ages 3 months and 4

Number 1: Acknowledgement and appreciation. It’s nice to feel as if the day-to-day things you do for your kid(s) aren’t going unnoticed. Having the whole family involved would be my ideal treat-whether it’s a day together, a special meal, or something homemade. (And since both my kids are under 4, they need all the help they can get from dad.)

Any of those things would provide a great memory to look back on, which is something I know I’ll do in the not-too-distant future while muttering, “where did the time go?”

Sara, mom of 2, ages 3 and 9

I’ll forever be enraged by the Mother’s Day a few years when the sky was gray, and snow flurries flew like little flecks of spite. First of all, it’s May. Knock it off. Second, of all days, SERIOUSLY? In stark contrast, last year was glorious. The sun was shining, my husband and I spent the afternoon getting the yard and flower beds ready for summer.

My kids pattered about, entertaining themselves outside, and whether I’ve blocked it out or it really didn’t happen, I refereed no disputes. I remember lounging in the shade, watching the sky with each of them tucked under my arms and thinking, “Nailed it!”

So, basically that again. With morning baked goods, handmade cards that took longer to make than finding the markers, and something special to plant in the garden. (And a dessert that looks expensive.)

The Unexpected History of Mother’s Day

A quick look at the strange history of Mother’s Day, from ancient times to today’s $20 billion commercial bonanza.

While our American version of Mother’s Day is just 101 years old, there are far more ancient holidays celebrating motherhood.

In spring festivals, the ancient Greeks celebrated maternal goddesses like Rhea, mother of the Olympian goddesses and gods. (Rhea was married to Cronus –  you know, the god that ate most of his kids.)

Ancient Romans also celebrated mother goddesses like Cybele, Great Mothofer of the Gods, with festivals of games, sacrifices and “war dancers delighted by blood” during the Ides of March and early April.

Early Christians celebrated Mary during Lent. By the 1600’s, this evolved into Mothering Sunday in England. (Admit it, ‘Mother’s Day’ is a better title.) After church on Mothering Sundays kids would bring small gifts home to their mothers.

Years ago I read that Mother’s Day was founded by poet, songwriter, pacifist, feminist and intellectual badass Julia Ward Howe with her “Mother’s Day Proclamation.” Her version was actually called “Mother’s Peace Day” and it was intended to unite mothers against war. It gained a bit of traction, but never became official.

Our official version of Mother’s Day was founded by a pioneering businesswoman named Anna Jarvis. Her mother had been a pacifist and community activist during the Civil War, she founded  “Mothers Friendship Day” to bring together families from the North and South.

Anna Jarvis first had the idea of a day for mothers in 1876. However, her campaign to create a “Mother’s Day” (with an apostrophe deliberately marking the singular possessive) didn’t begin until 1905, the year her own mother died.

Anna Jarvis’ concept of Mother’s Day was time spent at home with your mother, where you’d sincerely give appreciation for all she did.

Almost instantly, of course, the holiday became a commercial frenzy of candy, printed cards, and cut flowers. Jarvis was furious about this, saying “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”

Indeed, she spent the rest of her life desperately fighting what she saw as a perversion of the holiday she had created. She organized boycotts and lawsuits, crashed various conventions and hectored prominent charities. She was arrested for disturbing the peace during her protests.

Jarvis kept up the battle to redeem Mother’s Day until she died, broke, in a Philadelphia sanitarium in the late 1940’s.

Americans now spend over $20 billion a year on Mother’s Day ($640 million on cards alone.) An average $170  is spent per mother. Very far from a simple day of appreciation and gratitude.

At least we’re not still celebrating with “war dancers delighted by blood.”

Also read: “Why ‘mama’ is the most common word.”

The ‘As Seen on TV’ Gift Guide for Mother’s Day

These aren’t the worst Mother’s Day gifts available. Actually maybe they are.

Still in the market for a Mother’s Day gift? DO NOT GET THESE.

Neck Genie Elite $12.95

It’s safe to say that no woman on the planet wants to receive a gift that “tones,” “tightens,” or “lifts” anything that’s “sagging.” Also, it’s unclear how exactly this device achieves such amazing results. It could be shock therapy. You’ve gifted a torture device to someone you sleep next to.


Buy this gift if: you enjoy sleeping with one eye open

Gray Away $9.95

Here’s a better idea, big spender- how about an actual salon appointment? And see that face she’s making? That’s the smirk of someone who knows exactly how much arsenic can be effective without detection.


Buy this gift if: You’re a cheap bastard.

Personal Pedi $19.95

Nothing says “I appreciate all that you do for us, your loving and devoted family” quite like a device to chisel her horse hooves.


Buy this gift if: you want to find out how it feels to exfoliate your nether regions. 

Jeaneez $19.95 ON SALE FOR THE BARGAIN PRICE OF $14.95

According to one reviewer, she would be “embarrassed to be seen with them in public”. She was talking about the pants. Fittingly, the statement could apply to her spouse. “Jeaneeeeez!”


Buy this gift if: you want every single one of her friends to know you’re an idiot. 

Hurricane 360 Spin Mop 2 easy payments of $19.99

Oh! How thoughtful! “Never touch dirty water again!” If you purchase this utilitarian treasure for the mother in your life, assume that every salad she ever serves you from that day forward took a ride in that there basket.


Buy this gift if: you’re drunk shopping.

Zip Sox. A stunning double offer! 2 pair for $19.99.

The prevention of varicose veins does not a Mother’s Day gift make.


Buy this gift if: you’re wearing a cup and want to test its performance. 

Eggstractor $14.95

No one eats enough hard boiled eggs to warrant this device. Also, most people were born with two decently performing egg peelers attached directly to the ends of their arms. WE CALL THEM HANDS.


Buy this gift if: You want to eat those disgusting things for the rest of your natural life (which won’t be long if you keep buying shitty gifts like this one.)

Hot Jewels $10.00

The metallic nature of this product does not elevate them to something more impressive than the temporary tattoos you get out of a skanky gumball machine at Kmart.


Buy this gift if: Your wife is 12. 

The Reacher $9.95

Perhaps this is romantic if you’re an octogenarian. I don’t know. Otherwise, as a short woman, all this says to me is “I’m tired of my tallness giving me more work to do around here. Help your damn self.”


Buy this gift if: you want a divorce, but don’t know how to tell her.

Long Reach Comfort Wipe $9.95

According to the listing for this item (which does exactly what you think it does), it comes with a return policy that is “unconditional, satisfaction guaranteed”. Hopefully this policy applies to whatever ties bind you to the poor woman on the receiving end of this abomination.


Buy this gift if: you never liked sex anyway.