Does your mother need anything else, really? After all, she has you.
I got a call from my mom earlier this week letting me know that instead of the flowers I typically send her each Mother’s Day, all she wants this year is a bag of soap. Yay, mom.
Years ago, when I lived in Brooklyn, I took my mom shopping at a great local Middle Eastern market on Atlantic Avenue. Along with all kinds of delicious and healthy foods, they also sell many household items including bags of individual bars of pure olive oil soap. I introduced my mom to them and anytime she comes to visit, a trek to Brooklyn is always on the agenda.
If your mother has not made it easy for you by calling up and requested soap, here are some suggestions for mindful gift giving. That way, you don’t clutter up your mother’s life just to avoid a little guilt — always better to opt for less stuff and more love where mom is concerned.
Below are ways to make that happen.
Few things are more memorable than the smell of something baking in the oven on a special occasion. And the best part of memories like these are that they aren’t really about stuff. You may have enjoyed the dish, but your senses remember the entire experience much more deeply. Embed new memories into this Mother’s Day by taking mom somewhere special.
- Spa trip nearby
- Movie day at a drive-in theater
- Concert headlining her favorite performer
These are just a few ideas, so tailor the experience to the woman you’re celebrating. Maybe that means a picnic (assuming Spring weather shows up in a city near you) or a trip to look at art or a street fair across town. A quick scan of the local paper or online will give you dozens of destinations to choose from. Pick one you think she’ll enjoy and that she probably wouldn’t to to by herself. The possibilities for opting against stuff and opting for fun are almost limitless. Bonus points for inviting any of her female friends who are also moms if your mom is ok with that.
You’re not in grade school anymore, so cold cereal doesn’t count as cooking. Instead, make a meal for the special mother(s) in your life. Whether your mom was the primary cook in the family or not, she’s sure to appreciate the gesture and the meal itself. Use the recipes below as guides.
- Savory Breakfast Crepe Pockets
- Bacon, Avocado, & Brussels Sprout Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette
- Wolfgang Puck’s Tomato Risotto With Shrimp
If you want to go all out, plan the menu for the entire day. Have the house stocked with mom’s favorite snacks and drinks and let her relax for the day. It’s a simple way to show your love, be creative and leave the extra stuff at the store.
If cooking is not your thing, help mom unstuff her life.
Maybe there’s a surface that’s got some accumulation or an entire room or floor that could use some love. If you still have stuff in a parent’s home that you’re no longer living in, that would be great place to start. Even the tidiest mom has a household task that could be checked off her list.Whether it’s in the garden, the kitchen, a closet, or the garage, take some time to scope out what could be a fun or simply necessary task to do together. What would alleviate stress from mom’s life with a bit of organization?
- Organize the pantry
- Organize her desk and paperwork
- Declutter her closet
Maybe organizing isn’t something your mom comes to naturally or often has time to do. Your help may be a pleasant surprise and may just change her life. There’s nothing like being able to find the essential tools of life every time you need them when everything is organized. Take the next couple weeks–or days depending on when you see this blog–and figure out where mom would feel the biggest impact from unstuffing her life.
Get to Work
Now that you have several ideas on how to make Mother’s Day special besides stuff giving, start planning. Set a timer for 10 minutes and explore the idea of mindful gift giving for all holidays and occasions. This could shift how you celebrate people, lifecycle events and even your own accomplishments. Adding more stuff into our lives may be exciting in the moment but inevitably just leads to more things to care for and eventually dispose of. Since you can’t take it with you when you leave, why not leave stuff alone to begin with and enrich your life and the lives of those you love through shared experiences. No one ever regretting spending more time with the people and activities they love.
One of the pioneers of professional organizing and productivity, Andrew Mellen is the best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!. He travels the world speaking, teaching, and coaching individuals and global brands including the New York Mets, Genentech, American Express, Time, Inc. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.