CINCINNATI -- The mothers have spoken. Regardless of their age, number of children, family and work situation and general level of tiredness, mothers want two things this Mother’s Day: Time away from all of you and to hear “thank you.” Here’s how different types of local moms recommend celebrating.
The working mom
The working mom is tired, and not sure if she’s succeeding at work or at home.
According to a PEW research study, 56 percent of moms are “feeling stressed about juggling work and family life,” especially in a society where only 16 percent of people say that the ideal situation is a full-time working mother.
A dilemma for working mothers is how to balance self care with parenting during the hours they are off work. For example, fitting in a workout may mean less time with kids that evening.
Heather Cope of Cheviot is a teacher with a 2-year-old. She “struggles daily with not being there enough for my kid and for feeling like I’m choosing my career over my son for nine months of the year.”
She, and other working moms, want to “just chill” on Mother’s Day.
Working moms are feeling the split between their desire to get some alone time and their desire to spend time with their kids.
Andrea Granieri, director of development and marketing at Envision and an Anderson Township resident, says for Mother’s Day she wants both: “a day to myself and a day with my kids.”
To accommodate a busy mom’s desire to both pamper herself and hang out with the family, consider breaking up the day into two activities or give her a gift that helps her take time to herself -- even if it is a kid-less trip to Target.
The adoptive or foster mom
For many blended and untraditional families, the mom who needs recognition this Mother’s Day is the stepmom, foster/adoptive mom, family friend, aunt or other caring female figure.
Jessica Ball, a single working mom of seven children -- two biological and five foster -- in Fairfield calls herself a “non-traditional kind of mom.” Along with handmade crafts and pictures, she loves a necklace she received one Mother’s Day that has each child’s name on it.
“It’s getting kind of full,” she said of the necklace.
This type of personalized jewelry can make a heartfelt gift for anyone honoring a non-traditional mom.
For others, this is a time to acknowledge the process that brought them their children.
Julie Crainich of Monroe has an adopted 11-year-old son, and a special tradition on Mother’s Day.
“I say a prayer to his birth mother because without her, I wouldn’t be a mother,” Crainich said. "I have an appreciation for both his birth mother and birth father -- it could not have been an easy decision and I am thankful for them each and every day, but I send a special prayer to them on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and my son’s birthday.”
The solo mom
Single moms and moms whose spouse or partner is away may struggle with lack of recognition on Mother’s Day, especially with little kids, as there may not be someone encouraging the children to do something or buy a present.
Kaelynn Harpe, Marine wife and mother of a 3-year-old from Batavia, is spending Mother’s Day without her husband, who is away at training for three months. Her advice to military wives on Mother’s Day is that it’s OK to ask for help. She says it’s important to also remember that “even though your spouse isn’t there, it doesn’t me he or she isn’t wishing they were.”
A workplace, extended family, and friend group can rally around a solo mom to help her feel important on Mother’s Day by assisting her child in creating a gift or special moment, or offering to help in a variety of ways. For more ways to support a “solo” mom, including offering early morning babysitting when she just needs one morning to sleep in, click here.
The grieving mom
Mother’s Day can be very difficult for those who have lost a mother. In fact, a school in British Columbia recently “canceled” Mother’s Day-related activities after a sensitive “trauma” faced by a student.
A day filled with loving remarks to a mother who isn’t there can have an adverse effect for some children, and even adults.
If you are looking to support someone who has lost their mother, planning a special small activity or event to honor the person who has passed can acknowledge the pain and awkwardness the day can bring. Plan a visit to the cemetery, a ceremonial lantern lighting or balloon release, a cookbook of the deceased mother’s recipes, or another token that can help honor their memory. For more ideas, check out this list of ways people celebrate their mothers.
Samantha Lipps of Delhi lost her mother in 2014. She recommends that others appreciate their mom on Mother’s Day “regardless of your differences.”
“I have a stepmom, but your real mom, whether biological or the person who raised you, can never be replaced. And you can’t get back lost time,” she said.
In addition, Mother’s Day can be an emotionally stressful time for women who have endured a miscarriage or infant loss. While mainstream culture may not spend much time acknowledging this group of women on Mother’s Day, their brief time as mothers is significant for their support system to honor as well. For those interested in ways to honor the grief process of miscarriage, click here.
The stay-at-home mom
The stay-at-home mom may want a break from, well, staying at home.
A perfect Mother’s Day might entail not doing anything she usually does as a mother on a weekday -- no cleaning, cooking, coordinating or taxiing.
Jessica Lehmkuhl, mom to two young boys in Verona, says her ideal Mother’s Day would be her husband renting her a hotel room in town where she could “lay in bed and watch TV and sleep.” She added, “I just want a break from my kids!”
In a recent Redbook survey, 49 percent of stay-at-home moms’ “dream hire” would be a house cleaner, followed closely by a chef (22 percent) and a nanny (7 percent). Some stay-at-home moms desire time with their children that isn’t intertwined with their daily tasks at home and around town.
“Honestly, I would really like the day to go smoothly; I want a day where my boys get along and don’t cause me to raise my voice,” said Randi Milligan, mother of five sons ages 16 months to 12 years old, in Fairfield. “I want them to thank me. I want them to hug me. I want each of them to tell me something I do that makes them happy. Most of all, I want to actually spend the day with them.”
Regardless of the flowers, gifts, brunches, pictures, hand-painted pots and other meaningful gifts, it’s abundantly clear that Tri-state mothers are wishing for one thing this Mother’s Day -- a thank you from their spouse, child, partner and anyone else who can acknowledge, validate, and applaud the meaningful job of mothering.