The Dad’s Guide to Mother’s Day

  by Chris Horst

Mother’s Day is an insufficient holiday. All dads know this. That’s not pandering—it’s a simple fact. A 24-hour commemoration is entirely insufficient, but it’s important, particularly for your kids. This day allows you to celebrate her with them, to acknowledge that their mom is a hero.

Each year brings unique dynamics to this celebration. Different seasons call for different approaches in loving her well. After talking with my wife and other moms, there are three general categories that moms fall into with their ideals for the day. Some moms need respite. They’ve labored tirelessly and simply need a break. Other moms need a boost; a chance to do something really special to sharpen their momcraft. Finally, some moms need nostalgia. They want to cherish the moments from the past year.

To ensure the two of you are on the same page, I suggest you broach the subject directly. Don’t skirt the issue: Ask her directly how to best love her on the one day in which our culture celebrates her uniquely. We suggest you present three categories (respite, boost, nostalgia) to your leading lady, and plan accordingly:

1 – Motherhood Respite

Many moms need a break from the relentless demands of motherhood. Simply put, they don’t want to change a single diaper that day. A few ideas to get you started:

    • Combine any gift certificate (e.g., bookstore, shopping, spa) with a specific time on your calendar where she can get out kid-free.
    • Pick a few less desirable household chores and get the kids pumped about doing them. Engage the tiny troops to take care of the tasks she finds the most taxing.
    • Send her out to dinner with friends. A night out with her closest friends can help to take the edge off mothering.

2 – Motherhood Boost

Other moms are ready for a gift that will up their mothering game. When my wife was adjusting to life as a mother of two, I gifted her a Kiwi Crate subscription, which allowed her to be a crafty, intentional mom in the midst of constant feedings and sleepless nights.

    • Set up individual dates with each child, planned by the kids (e.g. my son wants to take her to his favorite pizza shop).
    • Gift a membership somewhere she and the kids would love (e.g., the local aquarium, zoo, children’s museum, etc.).
  • Buy her shoes to help her keep up with the kids and look fashionable.

3 – Motherhood Nostalgia

Finally, mothers want to hold onto these remarkable years. Amid the grind, actually remembering the joy of these moments can be tough. A few ways to ensure she can hold onto memories, even when she’s in the trenches of motherhood:

    • A locket filled with a secret note or picture from the kids.
    • Have the kids make her a book outlining all that you love about her or favorite moments from the year.

These three paths aren’t mutually exclusive, of course. With her and your kids, mix and match to best serve her on this insufficient, but extraordinarily important, day.


Whether on Mother’s Day or any other day, don’t forget what not to text your wife. And considering providing Mom with respite while boosting your dadcraft (and perhaps creating a few memories) by foraging up some grub.

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Photo courtesy of Kelly Lapp, with permissions from Laurel Greer. Amazon links are affiliate links.