What’s that? You haven’t planned anything for Sunday? Wait, remind me what’s on Sunday? OH! Is it Mother’s day already?!! Heck yeah it is! Don’t pretend you forgot because I know you’ve been counting down the days! I know I have and i’ll admit, I look forward to it every year. Yes, yes…everyday is Mother’s Day. But come on! Is it really? Can I, unapologetically, take “off” any day I want and ignore the million obligations as a mother, just because I feel like it? Yeah right! So yes, i’ll take the one day specifically designated for me, created to “appreciate” me for a 24/7 job well done.
It’s the one day mothers can look forward some good ol’ appreciation. Wait, scratch that. Praise is overrated. Just hand over the flowers and gifts. Oh and i’ll take that day pass to the spa thank you. This is the day we expect to be pampered, served breakfast in bed, showered with flowers, cards, and if we’re lucky, a full day of free babysitting by our well meaning husbands. Oh yeah! Bring it on!
This is me…on mother’s day…
…feeling zero guilt for not cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, homework or chauffeuring around little people! No guilt. None.
But in the midst of celebrating our day of freedom, some of us tend to overlook celebrating our mothers, who never became accustomed to being pampered or appreciated. There was no Mother’s day in the old country. No one ever made a fuss over them tirelessly raising an army of strong, intelligent children. They probably never uttered a single word of annoyance or anger out loud. Mother’s Day for most of our mom’s seems silly, and maybe even, an unnecessary holiday.
If your mom didn’t grow up in the West, chances are, she shies away from any sort of appreciation or recognition. She probably cringes at the thought of an entire day of pampering. I bet your mother has refused presents she’s deemed “too expensive.” My mother has refused countless gifts and has forbid me from buying her flowers. And like every obedient South Asian daughter, I refuse to listen and do whatever I want, even to my mother’s annoyance! Why? Because I know my mom could use some down time but will never ask for it. Because I know she would enjoy a new purse but would never spend the extra money on herself. Most of our mothers never learned to take a break or indulge themselves. They aren’t even comfortable asking for help, forget being pampered.
Every year on Mother’s day, my mother restates her position,”I don’t need these gifts! Don’t buy me flowers. Save your money beta. Just be happy, that’s all I want from you.” Every year, I smile, promise not to do it again, and then do it all over again next year. Over the years, she has stopped resisting as much. She’s started feeling less embarrassed by the attention and praise. Is she even starting to enjoy it a little?
So if your mother remotely resembles mine, I encourage you to pamper her, despite objections. She will discourage you but don’t give in! These are a few simple ideas that will help ease your mom into being celebrated and maybe even looking forward to the next Mother’s Day.
Simple ways to celebrate your mother on Mother’s Day!
- Invite her for brunch. If she’s reluctant to leave the house, bring the brunch other. Either way, don’t let her do a single thing in the kitchen. When is the last time someone cooked just for her? Take the time to learn and cook her favorite dish for her. Encourage your kids to sit and listen to some stories of her childhood without being on their iPad. Tell them to give their grandmother their undivided attention.
- Get her a massage. Is she refusing to go? So do what I do. Schedule a massage for her. Get her into your car under false pretenses and drive her there yourself to ensure she actually gets the massage, like I did last year. #TrueStory
- Host a small party for her and her friends. Let her enjoy herself without worrying about all the cooking and cleaning.
- Encourage her to buy herself a gift. Ask her to help you shop at mall and then encourage her buy something she likes. If she resists, tell her you’re going to buy her a gift regardless and then it might not be the style, color, fragrance etc that she’d prefer!
- Hire a cleaning lady for your mom. Even if it’s just once a month, i’m sure she could use the downtime. Remind her that even her mom had a cleaning lady in the old country.
- Encourage your dad to make more of an effort in the house, however uncomfortable he might feel at first. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind your dad helping out with the dishes or doing his own laundry once in a while without being asked.
- Does your mom live out of state or back home? You can still send her flowers with a hand written letter expressing your gratitude for all that she does. If your mom has passed away, i’m sure you have an aunt, mother-in-law, or neighbor that has been an inspiration and force for good in your life. Make this day special for her.
- Celebrate all the women in your life! If you know of someone who never had children of her own, try to include her in your celebrations or lunches. I know of many women who themselves couldn’t have children of their own but have been positive role models in our community. Let’s celebrate all the women in our life inshaAllah.
- Spend time with her. Sit and talk to her. Remind her how important she is to you. Express your appreciation for her countless sacrifices. Like all mothers, our moms do need to hear how much we respect them, how valuable their endless guidance and advice is for us.
- Write her a heartfelt letter. If you’re not comfortable communicating your feelings verbally, just write it down for her to read. Ahem, i’m Pakistani so I UNDERSTAND! For some of us, it’s not so simple expressing our feelings with our moms so try to put your appreciation into words. Maybe give her a hug after she’s read the letter…that is if she lets you! This also allows your kids see how important it is to express our appreciation for our elderly relatives. Let them read your letter to your mom. Maybe that will inspire them to write heart-felt letters of their own instead of signing generic cards when they’re all grown? I hope it will inshaAllah.
Below, i’ve shared some of my favorite easy brunch recipes that my mom has enjoyed in the past. All of the prep is simple and can be done the night before so you’re not slaving over the stove on your own day of freedom. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!
My Favorite Brunch Recipes
- Baked French Toast An absolute favorite every single time I make it! I have zero kitchen skills but still found this to be a no brainer recipe. This is from last year. If I can do it, you can too! Please use Challah bread. It makes all the difference. I also add some cream cheese in the mixture. You can thank me later.
- Frittata I just prepare the mixture the night before, refrigerate overnight, and cook in the oven instead of stovetop. See a pattern forming?
(Image from Pioneer Woman)
- Breakfast Potatoes I love Pioneer Woman’s recipes! They are easy and always taste good. Just sauté the vegetables the night before. Ask your husband to peel the potatoes for you 🙂
- Kashmiri Chai or Turkish Coffee. Kashmiri Chai is green tea, popular in Pakistan. This might be the most difficult recipe in the list. If you’re afraid you won’t get it right, just make regular tea or coffee. Whatever your mom prefers. Kashmiri chai also refrigerates well for a few days. Add milk when serving.
- Cut some fruit, make it look pretty, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for next day.
- Buy some croissants, cookies, jam. Don’t sweat it. Just keep it simple.
- Flowers of course! Put in a little extra effort to create a beautiful table for her. Take out the fancy teapot and teacups she only uses for company. Get her used to being pampered! I hope inshaAllah that with a little extra nudging and effort on your part, your mom will start looking forward to Mother’s day just as much as we do.
What do you have planned for your mom this Mother’s Day? Share your ideas for how you celebrate your mom every year!