Moms, picture the perfect Mother’s Day morning:

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You wake up a little later than usual on Sunday, having gotten a full night’s sleep, and feel completely rejuvenated yet totally relaxed. Your kids come into your room, having made you perfectly plated eggs benedict with your favorite freshly brewed tea. Your husband walks in with the purple orchids he bought you when you first dated. Then you happily eat as your kids read you the heartfelt poems they wrote you and clean up after you finish. Before you know it, you’re being driven to the beach for a beautiful hike with the family, no arguments among the kids, no complaints to report, just a hike filled with laughs and joy.

This is an optimal Mother’s Day morning, filled with thankful thoughts and grateful gifts. But this is often not how most people’s Mother’s Day morning plays out, at least not that flawlessly... But how come? And why is it difficult to have one perfect morning? Maybe more importantly, what can we do to make sure we’re all getting the most out of this Mother’s Day?

Well, let’s start with the primary difficulty, the one that almost every mother is neglected of everyday. GRATITUDE. “Thank you” for their tireless efforts are far and few between. It’s one of many things mothers learn not to expect from family on a day-to-day basis because “They’ll thank us in the long run”, and “We love them so we’ll do it anyways”. Well, on Mother’s Day, the tables have turned my friends! It’s the one day out of the year that we expect our families to shine the spotlight on us, and express the gratitude we definitely deserve. When that doesn’t happen on the one day we expect it to, it doesn’t feel like the perfect day. 

So what can mothers do to make sure that doesn’t happen, and that everyone is getting the most out of this Mother’s Day? Well, for starters it’s important to make your wishes known before the big day. A little nudge from mom expecting the extra effort, and a more giving attitude orients the rest of the families mind that it’s time to be grateful. So start putting the spotlight on yourself! For example, if you just want your kids to write you a meaningful and thankful card this year, let them know! It’s not that kids don’t notice their moms’ efforts, it’s that they’ve become habituated to it, and expect it without showing their gratitude. So be vocal, and let them know you expect those “thank yous” to take shape through the mediums you’d like!

You see gratitude is about bringing the good things to light, and appreciating what you have. If you nudge your kids to be more grateful on Mother’s Day, and everyday, you will all benefit. Gratitude researchers such as Jeffrey Froh and Giacomo Bono illustrate in their book, Making Grateful Kids, how kids who practice gratitude show many positive benefits such as improved mood, more optimism, and stronger social relationships. More so, grateful teens are more engaged with school and hobbies, and thus have better grades and greater satisfaction in life. Gratitude is good for all of us.

I’ll leave you with this tip about making Mother’s Day the most it can be: It’s about YOU, so maybe keep the celebration with family short and sweet. After all, everyone knows some small argument is bound to break out if you’re spending the whole day with family. So, for the second half of the day block out some TLC time for yourself! This could entail anything from going for a spa & massage treatment, meeting up with your girlfriends (without the kids of course), and/or just closing the door and reading, meditating, and contemplating what you are grateful for. 

Happy Mother’s Day.