By Sharifa Stevens
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]other’s Day is like a minefield, fraught with opportunities for disaster and possible maiming. It’s not as dangerous as, say, Valentine’s Day, but the lingering effects of a badly thought-out gift can be pretty uncomfortable.
This list certainly is not exhaustive, so let’s keep the dialogue going—leave your Mother’s Day gift ideas online…or your warnings.
For the Introverted Mother
You don’t have to buy a to fulfill this request. Introverted mothers (like me) want desperately to be known, and desire space to express themselves. Compounding this desire is a possible sense of loneliness that comes from feeding, clothing, diapering, cajoling, mentoring, cheerleading, chauffeuring, disciplining, cooking, cleaning…and seldom being asked a genuine “how you?” Children can be inquisitive, too, by asking their mom what she was like at their age. Ask her about herself or give her a questionnaire.
A Kindle. Reasonably priced, lightweight, and a treasure trove of literary possibilities. If your family already has an Amazon Prime membership, there’s the added benefit of a free lender’s library.
For the Mother with Wanderlust
And that can be in a hotel that you bid on that’s five miles away. Somewhere she doesn’t have to wash the dishes that she just dined on, or make the bed after she leaves it. Drop off the kids at your folks’ house and traipse happily away for a night.Breakfast in bed…somewhere else.
Dinner with a theme. If you can’t get away for the night, take her on a culinary journey. Ethiopian, Moroccan, Japanese, Thai, Italian–take her senses on a trip. Bonus points if the family can pull this off with costumes and decor. (Don’t forget to clean up and do the dishes.)
For the Motherless Mother
. Even if you say nothing but “I know you must miss her,” or “I wish your mother could be here with you,” she will be grateful that you care.Tissues and a hug
For the Timeless Mother
. Because when I wrote “timeless,” I meant that literally. You’d think that all of life’s conveniences, from indoor plumbing to iPhones, would make time to pray, to sleep, to accomplish an easier thing to grasp. Instead, we’re just more distractible, more prone to comparison and failure, and more likely to burn out. Help that timeless mother to carve out nooks of space for exercising, prayer, hair-washing (that takes time for me!). Then guard those nooks so she has space to just be. Time nooks are good.
Multiple Mother’s Days. Who says Mother’s Day should only be once a year? Make it once a month! And preferably on a Friday or Saturday, so half the evening isn’t spent prepping for the following work/school day. A friend told me that if she was in charge of Mother’s Day, it wouldn’t be on a Sunday.
For the Not-Yet Mother
Mother’s Day Sunday (with some exceptions, I’m sure) can stab at an already tender unfulfilled desire for children. Those who are not mothers can be made to feel invisible or inadequate. If it’s too excruciating to go, skip it for a Sunday. If you’re in church leadership, please, I beg you; watch your words while celebrating mothers on Mother’s Day. I think it’s great to celebrate mothers. Women, however, are complete not because of who they marry or whether they give birth; they are complete because they are gifted and sealed by the Holy Spirit, saved by Jesus and beloved of the Father. Any other gospel is anathema.A day off from church.
For the Mother with Wry Bible Humor (OK, maybe this is just for me…)
all the verses in Proverbs that mention mothers. You can use for a quick search by book with the keyword “mother.” Don’t miss Proverbs 6:20 and Proverbs 30:17.Gather the children and readnet.bible.org
For the Unspoiled Mother
. I don’t know one mother who would refuse a good Swedish massage or a mani/pedi. If you’re treating your wife and you don’t have bank for the spa, husbands, it can actually be more special if you . You can find instructions online. (But don’t skimp, dude. Mediocrity is worse than long toenails.)Spa daydo it yourself
A long, luxurious nap. Oh, yeah. All the mothers of newborns and toddlers are with me on this one. Nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day!” like taking on all of Mom’s responsibilities so that she can nestle under the covers and rest for a while.
For Every Good Mother
. The best gifts are those that are chosen with attention and care and given with joy. As in, don’t give a gym membership to the mom who gave birth last week. Also, cleaning appliances, pantry items, and other stuff that will help her to serve you better are not thoughtful gifts.Recognition–personalized.
Room to be. Mothers, especially good ones, are not completely defined by that role. Allow mothers room to be professors, postal workers, writers, artists, engineers, daughters, sisters, friends, wives. Give mothers room to be women.
Respect. Her work directly impacts the quality of the people around you. Ignoring her value may be common, but not correct. Good mothers (and you don’t have to birth a child to be a good mother!) reflect the creative, watchful, ever-loving, correcting, life-giving, nurturing glory of God. Respect is due.
Sharifa Stevens is a wife and mother, singer, and writer. She earned a B.A. from Columbia University and a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. She lives in Dallas.