SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 9, 2014

Dr. Kate's Parent Rap: Best Mom’s Day gift may be time with kids

Dr. Kate's Parent Rap
Dr. Kate Roberts

---- — Mother’s Day is one of my favorite days during the year. Not for any reason other than the role that I cherish the most in my life is celebrated by families everywhere.

Many mothers celebrate every day that they are in the role as someone’s mom. Other jobs and roles come and go; thankfully, the job as mother is permanent, and that’s beautiful.

Being someone’s mother is a daunting responsibility. That responsibility includes being in charge of someone else’s life and development. It’s that intense obligation and pledge that makes the role also the most rewarding.

Mother’s Day is a time for moms to step back, take a deep breath, and acknowledge to themselves how much they have sacrificed and will continue to sacrifice out of love of their children. Hopefully, moms everywhere give themselves a daily pat on the back for serving their children so well. Mother’s Day is a time when others join in and do it, too.

There’s no right way to celebrate the day. And some mothers don’t even get to decide how their Mother’s Day is spent. Children’s sports games are scheduled and played on Mother’s Day, homework needs to get done, kids get sick, and someone, maybe even Mom, has to go grocery shopping. Some moms have to work. Wouldn’t it be better to embrace the reality of our society and accept that fast-paced life continues even on Mother’s Day? Many moms view watching a child participate on a team and have fun with other kids while learning a skill as a great Mother’s Day gift.

It’s worth considering that the most meaningful Mother’s Day may be one where moms get to spend some time with kids and family and, hopefully, perhaps at least part of day will be spent focused on only Mom and celebrating all she does.

Here are some thoughts for moms to consider on Mother’s Day and every day:

Moms can control their actions and by doing so maybe even those of others. Moms aren’t magicians but can operate like one. More often than not what makes or breaks a day with the kids is how a mom reacts when things don’t go as planned or aren’t as easy as everyone had hoped. Even without real magic, a mom’s ability to manage strong emotions and handle setbacks can set the tone for the family and appear magical. It’s amazing how powerful moms are!

Moms can keep expectations low. Children will try to make Mother’s Day and most days “perfect,” and yet, invariably they will often fail at least in part or at times even miserably. It’s OK. Moms can validate a child’s effort and relish it. Children want to please mom because they love her.

Moms can enjoy the moment. When moms stay in the present and do not worry about how the rest of the day is going to go or how things happened in the past, everyone has a better experience, most of all the mom.

Moms can put aside ongoing family or parent-child conflicts or disagreements. Moms can give themselves a special chance to reconnect in positive and meaningful ways with their children when they begin with a clean slate every day.

Moms can consider establishing new family traditions. Moms and others in the family can suggest new traditions for celebrating Mother’s Day this year. That doesn’t mean giving up past ones; it just means establishing new traditions for the family. Allow the children to have input into these and see what sticks.

Moms can allow children to shine in their gratitude for her. Whatever little gifts the kids offer on Mother’s Day, be it a warm smile the first thing in the morning or an extra-long hug, or maybe that awesome sweater they know mom adores, moms bring joy when they relish the little and big gifts kids put forth.

Moms can celebrate their children’s unique qualities. Children will have their ups and downs and strengths and weaknesses, and moms grow with their children’s unique challenges.

Have fun. Mother’s Day might be a day with humor where moms get the center stage and a chance to remind the children of all the messes that mom has cleaned up, and all the times mom has bailed the kids out and how they’ve come out on top because of her. Look at family photos and videos and enjoy how the family has evolved — all because of mom’s love!

I know many mothers who feel that every day is special just because they’ve had the opportunity to be someone special’s mother. Mother’s Day is just a more celebrated version of that. Enjoy it!

Dr. Kate Roberts is a psychologist and parent coach on the North Shore. She can be reached at www.drkateroberts.com, www.twitter.com/DrKateParenting, www.facebook.com/Dr.KateRobertsParenting or www.pinterest.com/DrKateParenting.