By Becky Harris, Houzz
My mom still laughs about that Mother’s Day in the mid-1970s, where the whole family spent the day scrubbing out the aboveground pool. It was memorable, if less than ideal. But there are a lot of better ways to spend special time at home with Mom.

After talking with a bunch of mothers about what they’d like for Mother’s Day, I found some common threads. They all dream of getting a break from their everyday responsibilities, they don’t really want their kids spending money on them, and they want to spend time with their families at home. Also worth noting is that none were fans of breakfasting in bed. Here are some suggestions for helping Mom feel special on her day.


Fotograf Lisbet Sporndly, original photo on Houzz

Make this the one day Mom doesn’t have to say, “Clean your room!”Make your bed nicely. Get everything put away and picked up. While you’re at it, change Mom’s sheets. Going to bed knowing there are clean sheets on the bed and not having to put them on yourself is always a special treat.

Plant a window box together. Hit the nursery and have the plants ready to present to Mom, then enjoy getting your hands dirty together. If you don’t have a window box or if making one is too much work, create a small container garden with potted plants.

Related: Not Sure What to Plant? Try One of These 6 Alternatives to Butterfly Bush


Joanne Winn Garden Design, original photo on Houzz

Start a vegetable or herb garden. If you already have one, it’s a good time to get your plants started. You’ll have to check on your zone for specifics, but in general, around Mother’s Day is a great time to get lots of veggies and herbs planted. The great thing is that this is a gift she’ll enjoy through the summer, with fresh ingredients just steps away from the kitchen.

Groom the pets. Some mothers are also mothers to pets. And some are just mothers to pets and not kids. Give the dog a bath, brush the cat, clean the litter box or take the pets to the groomer.


Agnes Blum, original photo on Houzz

Complete the chores she usually does. Whether your mother is the one usually on dishwashing duty, mowing the lawn, taking out the trash or folding the laundry, tell her that doing any of that is strictly forbidden on her day. Do it for her.

Share your talents with Mom. One friend of mine, a grandmother, mentioned that her fashionable granddaughter helps her put together outfits as a special treat. If you have great style, help your mother put together some chic looks and accessorize them. Help her get her closet more organized while you’re at it.

Forbes Rix Design, original photo on Houzz

Similarly, if you’re technologically talented and your mother isn’t, take the time to help her with all of her IT needs today. Hook up that DVD player, help her get the DVR sorted out, find an app she’ll like and teach her how to use it, or calmly explain to her what “desktop” means. Have patience. You may want to watch Amy Schumer’s “Mom Computer Therapy” sketch to get prepared for this one.

Give Mom the remote. Whether she wants to cheer on her favorite team or binge on Bravo, no comments from the peanut gallery are allowed.
Schappacher White Architecture DPC, original photo on Houzz

Do something special with family photos. This could be blowing one up, printing a favorite photo of hers and putting it in a frame, getting the iPhoto account organized and creating a fun slideshow to share that day, or assembling an album.

Related: Pick Up a Painting That You Know She’ll Love in Her Living Room

Take care of dinner. Whether you prepare it, pick it up or order in, set a special table complete with tablecloth, linen napkins, the good china, candles and flowers to make it extra special. And don’t forget, Mom is not allowed to help with cleanup.

Charles Vincent George Architects Inc, original photo on Houzz

Designate a bath time. Gather up the bath salts, candles, a fluffy towel and her favorite magazine for bath time. Then give her quiet for at least 30 minutes.

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