It’s Mother’s Day. Chances are, you’ve got it covered. Nay, you, I daresay, have crushed it. You picked up your cards—one from you, and one from the kids. You got a nice gift. You bought some flowers or some chocolates or something else your wife would really enjoy.
Now you’re ready to sit back, relax and Instagram it with hashtag #NailedIt.
Unless you’re freaking out inside about what you have or haven’t done, of course.
This is Emily’s ninth Mother’s Day. Of those nine, I’ve been home for all but one.1 So this year, I wanted to make sure she had a good day. That’s why we actually did most of our Mother’s Day celebrating on Saturday, instead of today.
We gave her cards, bought her chocolate, and gave her a gift card so she could go shopping. Then, we dropped her off at the mall and let her know to text when she was done.
And that was probably the best thing we could have done.
A couple of hours to herself, to let her try on clothes, and hear her own thoughts instead of the seemingly endless stream of “MommyMommyMommy…” To sit down and enjoy a coffee and a cookie without having to wipe anyone.
Now, not every mom might feel like she needs this sort of gift. Maybe she gets enough alone time in her regular day-to-day. Maybe she doesn’t like lots of alone time. But here’s why it was right for Emily:
It’s because it was the right kind of gift for her.
This is something that took me a while to figure out. I like to get inventive. I often feel like I have to escalate and one-up from the year prior, whether with birthdays, Christmas or anything else. And sometimes it can distract me from the fact that what I’m planning might not actually be what Emily would want.
She likes simple. She likes fun. She likes opportunities to dress up all fancy, but also enjoys just hanging out and watching movies where an American President is in danger and/or has to give a moving speech that motivates the world to act.2 She likes quiet and time alone.
So when I start thinking about gifts, I start there.
It’s not terribly profound, I know. But it is helpful (I think). It’s easy to get consumed with finding the perfect gift for any occasion. It’s easy to feel ashamed when you hear about what someone else has done to celebrate Mother’s Day, or an anniversary or birthday. And there’s something about the marketing around, well, everything that is intent on making guys generally feel like failures in this area. So that doesn’t help either.
But here’s the thing: When you do something special for your spouse, is whatever it is based on her unique likes and dislikes? Was it something chosen with her in mind? If so don’t worry about what I did for Emily this year. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, either. Chances are, it’s already the best kind of gift she could ask for.