As my kids get older, Mother’s Day becomes more delightful and decadent. I sleep late, wake up to smiles, and am surprised with wonderful handmade books, pretty paintings, and gourmet treats. My daughter whips up my favorite iced coffee concoction while my sons treat me to a deluxe neck and back massage… heaven!
As the annual celebration of motherhood rolls around, it’s fun to find new and inspired ways to mark the day, both with your kids and without. This year, my family is branching out with a whale-watching excursion and I’m looking forward to a day of sunshine, wildlife, and perhaps (if my hubby is on the ball), lunch at a charming, beachside café.
Here are 21 ideas to inspire your Mother’s Day. However you spend it — crafting, cruising, biking, or baking — may it be filled with laughter and love. You’ve earned it!
1. Plant a tree or flowers in the yard. Have your kids make a garden plaque out of wood or clay featuring a favorite quote. It's a wonderful tradition to continue year to year.
2. Get inked. Take this day to honor your amazing self with a tattoo — girly or glam, subtle or showy, whatever best symbolizes your journey as a mom. (Find beautiful, feminine designs here.)
3. Teach your kids how to make an old family recipe that reflects your heritage. Whether you’re Italian, Irish, Mexican, or some fabulous combo, dig into your family history and cook some cuisine that conjures up the flavors of your ancestors.
4. Make silhouette portraits of the whole family — so easy and fun! (Check out the step-by-step here.)
5. Start writing your memoir. As mothers, we all have amazing tales to tell, so grab your laptop and start typing!
6. Frame pregnancy pictures for each of your children and write a secret note or memory on the back for their eyes only. Kids never tire of hearing about their time in "mom’s belly” and reliving that magical time is the ideal way to celebrate.
7. Summon your inner Frida Kahlo and paint a self-portrait. It doesn't have to be museum-quality, it just has to be you.
8. Interview your children and husband on video. Ask questions about family, home, love, friendship, and of course dear old mom!
9. Create a gallery of kids’ art. If you’re like most moms, you have a pile of artwork collected throughout the year. Frame some of the gems and fill a wall in your home with mini masterpieces.
10. Write a short story or poem about your grandmother, mother, sister, or daughter. Translate a special moment or memory into words and verse.
11. Why limit your celebration to one day? Create 12 Months of Memories for your mom. Search for a printable calendar online (you can find plenty of freebies or shop around Etsy). Fill each month with small black-and-white photos, kids’ artwork, favorite family quotes, significant dates and anniversaries, and other things that will brighten all 365 of her days!
12. Interview your mother on video. Ask questions about your childhood as well as hers. Interview your grandmother, if possible, and capture three generations of motherhood. (For ideas, check out this terrific list of 52 questions.)
13. Build a Mother's Day time capsule. Collect a handful of items that symbolize your year of motherhood. Place them in a small tin, tube, or envelope — then tuck them away to be opened years later. Be sure to include a recent family photo along with personal notes from the kids and Dad.
14. Choose three things your mother has helped you achieve in life. Did her love of books turn you into a writer? Did her second job pay for your college? Did she sew your clothes or make elaborate Halloween costumes for you as a kid? Find a photo, diploma, postcard, piece of fabric, or other memento to represent each thing and frame them as a set. On the back, include a note letting your mother know you wouldn't have been able to do it without her.
15. Spend an hour or two writing letters to the remarkable moms you know. No emails! No Facebook posts! This special occasion calls for an old-fashioned, bonafide, paper letter. Tell each woman how unique and inspirational she is. Get specific and let her know what you've seen her do or say that has helped you in your own life as a mom. Add the finishing touch by creating custom postage stamps featuring a photo of you and your mom.
16. Create a shadowbox for each of your children. Frame a piece of infant clothing, favorite toy, pacifier, or other special keepsake that conjures up those cute-and-cuddly baby days. Kids love this trip down memory lane and the reactions are priceless… Mom, was I really small enough to wear that?!
17. Turn an oversized mason jar into a memory jar. Fill it with 52 memories, one for each week of the year. This is a wonderful gift for your mother or for your children… so fun to make the celebration last all year long!
18. Create a recipe book filled with favorite family recipes handed down from your grandmother and mother. This not only makes the perfect Mother's Day gift, but works for Christmas, weddings, and other special occasions.
19. Create a mini "studio" space to surprise your mom. Sneak into her home and transform a corner of the garage, office, or guest room into a calm and cozy creative space where she can paint, sew, scrapbook, and be inspired.
20. Involve your whole gang in making a family tree. Get super creative with it! Gather photographs, love letters, newspaper clippings and anything else you can get your hands on. Check out this free printable to get you started.
21. Set up a family photobooth in the backyard using plywood and chalkboard paint. Supply a few DIY props and have everyone take turns posing, getting silly, and writing chalk messages to Mom. At the end of the day, you'll have a wonderful photo record of the celebration.