Whether you are celebrating yourself as a mother OR honoring the mother of your children, your own mother, or mother figures in your life, Mother’s Day is often loaded with expectations.

Therefore, it’s helpful to do some reflection and preparation for a good outcome. It’s important to be authentic and connect with your reality. Why? Because it’s that gap between expectations and reality that can lead to suffering or elation, depending on which direction reality goes. 

In this post, I’ve shared some ways to honor your feelings and needs as well as tips to set you up for a happy Mother’s Day.

The purpose of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a special opportunity to honor those who have nurtured us and provided a maternal influence in our lives. Mothers do all sorts of caring and work that often goes unnoticed when it’s happening. So, it’s helpful to pause and express gratitude and take time to appreciate yourself as well as the mother figures in your life. There is a primal connection we humans feel to our mothers and to people who serve as mothers to us, even if we didn’t get to spend much time with them due to life circumstances. Mother’s Day can be full of many emotions. 


Try RAIN with your feelings: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture

(RAIN credit to Tara Brach)

Mother’s Day is often a wonderful day of being outside, enjoying some fun and relaxation with family, and eating good food. However, it can also bring up memories, feelings, and worries which are worth examining to help us move through them.

Sometimes we have complicated feelings about our mothers –– grief, regret, sadness, or disappointment alongside love, admiration, and appreciation.  Other times, we are mothers ourselves and have confusing feelings about our relationships with our own children if we happen to be going through a rough patch or are feeling distant from or frustrated with our children. We can worry about how the day will be as these feelings arise. 

The ages of our children can impact our feelings about mothering as well. Young mothers might feel guilty about craving a break from their children on Mother’s Day while mothers of teens could feel anxious that their kids won’t want to spend time with them doing something together as a family. Mothers of adult children may feel sad to not get to be with their children due to distance, family dynamics, or other complications. 

The important thing to realize is that whatever feelings you have about Mother’s Day, they are all part of being human. It’s helpful to:

  • Recognize these feelings in your body
  • Allow your emotions to be as they are
  • Investigate your feelings and needs with curiosity
  • Nurture yourself with love and compassion

Then you can more easily focus on living and loving the people present in your life.


If you want to meditate on these feelings to help you move through them, try Tara Brach’s 20-minute RAIN meditation.

Now, let’s find some ways for you to make this Mother’s Day authentic for you!


Tips for reflection and inspiration

For mothers to consider for themselves: 

Check out this Recipe for a Happy Mother’s Day from a previous blog with steps on how to get clear on what you want and communicate your needs to others. Use this recipe to plan for any other special day as well. 

Set aside 10 minutes to check in with yourself and ask the following questions. (You can even do this in the shower, while washing dishes, or sitting in a carpool line – just take some time to look within!)

How do I want to feel on Mother’s Day?


What are three things I would like to experience or do to enjoy myself?


If I could only experience one of those things, what would I choose?


What do I need right now? (Maybe…time, space, connection, sleep, peace, affirmation, excitement, etc.)


Who can help me meet those needs?


What do I need to communicate to my family to help me meet my needs and feel good?

Considerations and Ideas by Age:

Young Children:

Young children often have big ideas about what they want to do for their mom, but they may not yet have the skills to make those expectations happen. Think “breakfast in bed,” or “get mom a present.” It’s helpful to have another parent, relative, friend, or you yourself talk with the children about their ideas so that you can work out a plan together that is realistic and collaborative. For kids who are in the “I do it myself” phase, you can help them “right size” what they can do – whether it be making something or choosing something or carrying something for their mom.

Ideas for young children that work well: 

  • Making cards, crafts or simple items
  • Planning a special meal or outing, decorating the table, setting up a picnic blanket, etc.
  • Doing something fun for their mom – setting up a place for her to nap or read a good book, giving her a back massage, doing something she wants to do, going to a favorite place together, snuggling, or helping to clean something…

Older Children and Teens:

Adolescents are often full of mixed feelings about their parents because of the tensions that are part of growing up. They want more freedom and yet, both want and don’t want their parents to worry about them. They might resent being told what to do or how to be as they try on new identities or new friendships, so there are underlying or overt tensions. Or perhaps they don’t feel like their parents really see them for who they are, and they long for more understanding. Therefore, it is best to focus on the good things that are going on, and on any shared interests. If you’re in a rough patch, trust that things will evolve over time and just do your best to connect. Schedule a Complimentary Clarity Call with me if you need some help.

Ideas for older children and teens:  

  • Make cards that note specific things that a young person appreciates about their mom
  • Figure out a time of day when your kids have positive energy and plan something fun for that time – a meal, an outing, a trip to a favorite family place
  • Get creative in little meaningful ways that might bring out the inner child of your adolescent – Hershey’s kisses with love and appreciation messages taped to them, a scavenger hunt for mom to find a prize she would enjoy, hidden messages that mom can find around the house in places where she spends time. This can be hard for kids who don’t like to plan, so another adult or older sibling can help the younger teens carry this out or come up with something they are excited to do.

Keep it simple and go with the flow

The only certainty we have about life is that it is full of uncertainty and things will keep changing. So, the more we can let go of perfection and ideas about things having to be a certain way, the more likely we are to enjoy ourselves. It is good to plan for Mother’s Day using the ideas above or your own intuition and creativity, but also know that things won’t go as planned some of the time.

When the unexpected happens – it’s literally raining on your parade, someone has a stomach bug, or your kids are in a bad mood – embrace the as is, and shift plans as needed. Bring the picnic indoors and have it in a funny place like under the dining room table, watch a favorite movie while you and/or your child rests, throw an impromptu dance party or get out some crafts and start making them with your kids. Most of the time, things will go right, and when they don’t, go with the flow on Mother’s Day and do something out of the norm. Mothers are made to adapt to the changing needs around them, so the more you can make those changes fun and laugh along the way, the better.


Want more ideas? Check out these related blogs…

Mother's Day Blues


Recipe for a Happy Mother’s Day  – Try these steps on how to get clear on what you want and communicate it to others.





Connection Catalysts for Parenting Well –  Helpful words to turn things around fast so that you can focus on what’s most important





Heart-led Freedom in Parenting –  Learn a tool that will help you in all arenas of your life – personal, parenting, and beyond




Five Ways to Lighten an Emotional Backpack – Try these visual images to help you transcend difficult moments and feel lighter



Who I serve:
I coach parents from coast to coast in the US and internationally.  Thanks to Zoom, I am currently coaching parents from Boston to Seattle, Connecticut to California, as well as New York, Ohio, and Colorado. I’ve worked with parents in Bermuda, Japan, Portugal, and Canada as well. I’m grateful for these global and domestic connections!