I have saved every single homemade card my children created for Mother’s Day. What mom doesn’t love art by their littles? And can I get “woot-woot” for all the beautiful bouquets purchased from a florist, farm bought or backyard picked flowers served on a tray next to breakfast. These Mother’s Day treasures are looked forward to by moms everywhere, every year. We truly do love the energy, time and sweetness put into these traditional gifts of love. When Mother’s Day rolls around, the mom jokes start in earnest for wanting a nap for Mother’s Day or wishing for a mental mom break. Occasionally, we will make that nap happen. But it takes strategic planning to get a nap if you’re a mom. And a mental mom break, oh well, we get those in the car after we drop the kids off at daycare or school. That counts, right? The mental and physical load of motherhood takes its daily toll on us. That mental break we get during the car ride post-drop off or the nap we got after getting the kids set up with enough snacks and activities for an hour? Not enough.
What we need is a consistent, reliable way to give our minds quiet. We constantly worry about not just our children, but everything surrounding them and our families. The thoughts are incessant. It can be debilitating to manage these thoughts 24/7. Without the proper self and community care, a mom’s mental health is sure to suffer. Some moms may know right away what freeing their mom mind looks like (exercise, cooking, meditation, reading, etc.) Other moms may not be able to remember what gave them peace before kids (yoga? baking? writing? etc.) For children, husbands, brothers, fathers, friends and more looking for what to surprise the moms in their life with, it’s not as much about knowing exactly what the mom loves to do for herself and more about how to help her make that happen on a regular basis.
Ok, so what does answering “how” look like? Let’s say the mom in your life loves some kind of exercise that is best done out of the house or without littles around such as spinning, boxing, running or yoga. How can you help her achieve a weekly or monthly class? Or maybe she loves to read or meditate at home. Either way, the gift needs to involve a means to allow her to access the mental health break without her getting hung up in planning how she can go. This may involve a regular babysitter or regular playdate. Some phone calls or organizing by the gift giver. And yes, it’s different. With the increase in maternal mental health awareness and with Mother’s Day falling in the same month as Maternal Mental Health Week, it’s the perfect opportunity to open a conversation on how we can support mom’s mental health this Mother’s Day.
Let’s think for a minute about motherhood. It’s a constant game of mental Tetris, scheduling and canceling, rushing and hoping. I see the mom dressed in her spin gear or yoga outfit, looking at her watch as she tries to rally her kids from school so she can get to the gym in time. I see the mom with that new book everyone is talking about hanging out of her purse, hoping she will get time to read it. I see the mom with a cart full of fresh spices, veggies and wine hoping to cook a meal without a child hanging from her leg or the “Gummy Bears” song playing in the background. For some moms, the best way to achieve a mom break is to be given the ability to give all her focus to the act; however, this includes a consistent plan for ensuring this activity can happen. And that consistent plan, not to be drafted by mom; but by the giver, who loves mom, recognizes her worth and has gifted her with a pre-planned way to achieve her deserved mom break. I look forward to seeing the happy mom headed to the spin gym on time. And the calm mom who just finished that bestseller. Or the mom in the kitchen cooking a recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s latest cookbook, listening to 2000’s hip-hop and not shouting “Don’t touch that! It’s hot”.