How to Avoid Being Disappointed on Mother’s Day

If you have felt disappointed on Mother’s Day, you are not alone.

feeling disappointed on Mother's Day

Over the years, I have had many candid conversations about the holiday. Each of the stories was quite different from the next. Yet the underlying emotion was the same. These mothers did not feel fully appreciated.

The conversations prompted me to conduct a quick poll on this subject several years ago. (Thanks to the kind and loyal newsletter subscribers who participated!) I didn’t have a large representative sample to be able to say, “x% of mothers were satisfied with their Mother’s Day.” (Self-selection bias prevents me from making such claims.) But enough moms answered with such descriptive detail that I was able to glean a few important observations.

What Mothers Want For Mother’s Day

  • What mothers seem most happy with, and desire the most, is genuine appreciation and acknowledgment of their hard work as moms from their spouses/partners. Please feel free to forward this to your partner or spouse.
  • Mothers prefer to receive gifts from their children that express love and joy and show forethought. We can tell when something is slapped together at the last minute.
  • Moms enjoy escaping/avoiding the routine rush of their everyday lives. Those who got a chance to slow down or do nothing enjoyed their Mother’s Day. Some appreciated their kids’ good behavior.

Other Suggestions

  • Grandma and other mothers in the family can put a damper on one’s own Mother’s Day. Mothers have the burden of planning festivities, purchasing gifts, and making their children make cards for other mothers in the family. For example, one mother felt overshadowed by her mother-in-law and didn’t enjoy having to “share” a celebration with her.
  • When asked what they might want to do differently next year, some said they would be more specific about what it is they wanted. Whether it is doing something outdoors, doing less, or providing gift ideas, mothers felt giving some suggestions or doing some of the planning would be helpful in making their day more enjoyable.

A Suggestion for a Different Kind of Mother’s Day

A comment from one mom really intrigued me. She said one thing that could have made her holiday better was to be with friends.

Researchers have been telling us how important adult friendships are. So, what if, for Mother’s Day, mothers could come together and express appreciation for themselves and one another?

After all, who understands better than another mom the tedious nuances of figuring out what goes into bag lunches and quick dinners, and getting the kids out the door each day? Who else can relate to the feeling of rage when children won’t go to sleep, only to be replaced moments later with a heart melted by those same children’s sleeping, angelic faces? Who can better share the heartache you feel when seeing young children holding their mothers’ hands because your teen now rejects yours?

Sometimes simply being around mothers who “get it” helps you feel more appreciated. So here are some Mother’s Day suggestions:

  • Tell a mom what she is doing right. It will make her feel good and you feel great.
  • Ask a mom you admire to have coffee with you. Then just chat.
  • Make plans to spend time with other like-minded moms on a more regular basis. Whether it’s being part of a book club or walks in the park, fit it into your schedule.

Your turn

How will you avoid being disappointed on Mother’s Day? How will you celebrate?

I’d love to hear. Please let me know.

This article was first published on June 14, 2011, and on April 24, 2019.

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