4 Great Mother’s Day Ideas And 4 Really Bad Ones

4 really great mother's day ideas

Mother’s Day is still coming and we are continuing our efforts to make sure that this is the best Mother’s Day your marriage has ever seen. So far we have covered the Dad’s Guide To Mother’s Day For New Mothers and How To Plan Mother’s Day Without Making Her Plan It Herself. We are getting to the homestretch now and are finally starting into some more practical, concrete advice, specifically, what not to do.

But before we get to the bad ideas, let’s take a look at a few good ideas. These ideas fall more into the “activities” category. If you are looking for a gift-giving guide, you’ll have to wait for the next one in this series when we look at the top 10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for 2016.

mother's day classic

#1. The Classic

I’d like you to take a moment and look at that picture. That is the picture that is in your wife’s head right now. Never mind the fact that it probably took 57 takes to get that picture. If you can recreate this picture in your home, you will have successfully achieved a perfectly acceptable Mother’s Day.

After spending some time doing a Google image search I have isolated 6 main ingredients in the classic Mother’s Day.

  • Robes
  • The whole family
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Flowers
  • Homemade card
  • Someone else taking pictures

If you can find a way to include all of these things in your Mother’s Day, then the mother in question will not be disappointed.

have the kids do Mother's Day

#2. The Proxy

Having a perfectly acceptable Mother’s Day is fine, but if you want to improve your game, then you need to improve on the classic formula. One of the most popular ways to step it up is the “Proxy” method. This is basically the same as the Classic but having your children involved in the action.

While this may seem to the untrained observer a little lazier than the classic, any parent of a human child will tell you that getting them to do what they are supposed to, when they are supposed to do it, for the better part of a day is a monumental task. The trick of course is not to actually have them do it all, just to make it look like the kids have pulled off the classic Mother’s Day. This will lead the mother to believe that either (a.) you are an amazing father who has spent a lot of time working with the kids or (b.) that she is an amazing mother who has spent a lot time working with you, the father, to get the kids to do what they are supposed to.

#3. The Mother’s Day Sandwich

All good stories have 2 things: a good beginning and a good ending. If you have both of those things, you can forgive a mediocre middle. It turns out that the same thing is true with Mother’s Day as well! What does this good day sandwich look like? It does include the same ingredients as the Classic Mother’s Day plus the addition of dessert at the end of the day. If you can get the kids involved in this as well even better.

Mother’s Day should be like a good fireworks show. Your wife goes in with some anticipation. Her job isn’t to contribute anything to the show. Her job is just to sit there and be impressed and be proud. Then the show starts, she sees a few of her old favorites, a few duds, and just when she thinks it is over and you’re about to pack up your folding chair and go sit in traffic, BAM, the grand finale! Fancy desserts, have the kids read her a bedtime story (one that they wrote), casually turn on the TV and see a video of family highlights over the past year. Your final few hours of Mother’s Day should bring a few tears to her eyes. If you have breakfast in bed, and dessert in bed, the middle will be covered in Mother’s Day shine.

#4. The Mother’s Day Co-Op

Let’s be real here. Your wife has the best family in the world. You and your kids are pretty much perfect. So what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than by humble bragging? This method begins with robes and breakfast in bed, but keep it light. Why? You have arranged for mom to go out to lunch with her pals.

All of these Mother’s Day scenarios work best when they look effortless even though you have put a lot of effort into them. The Co-Op method has the simplest outcome with the most challenging logistics. For your wife to enjoy a casual afternoon out, you not only have to coordinate family activities for the afternoon, you also have to recruit the husbands and children of everyone else who will be going to lunch. Is it worth it? It depends on your wife’s current situation, but in general if she is a social butterfly who has been in the chrysalis of home-making for just a little too long then maybe an afternoon to stretch her wings is just what she needs this year for Mother’s Day.

Bad Idea #1. No Plan

As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, having no plan is a bad plan. Unlike your senior year, it isn’t just going to happen on its own. While your wife might say that she likes spontaneous, what she really means is that she likes things that are spontaneous on her end and well thought out and meticulously organized on yours. Mother’s Day isn’t meant to be easy for everyone, just the mothers.

Bad Idea #2. Planning A Father’s Day Instead

Dads, we need to talk for a moment. There are many things in your marriage that both you and your wife enjoy. You may have a common interest in the same types of music, or share a hobby. But if I were a betting man, I would say that your Christmas wish lists are pretty different. So don’t plan a Mother’s Day that is a day filled with gifts and activities that are what you really want. There is a reason why for many women a dream Mother’s Day is an activity filled day with gifts and flowers and elaborate meals with many tiny portions of things while Father’s Day mostly just involves a hammock and a grill.

don't wake mom up too early

Bad Idea #3. All Of The Good Ideas… At The Wrong Time

You know what’s great? Breakfast in bed. You know what’s not great? Breakfast in bed at 5am on the weekend. All of the best Mother’s Day ideas require good timing and organization. If you procrastinate or jump the gun, it is going to throw everything off. Additionally you are working with your wife’s expectations. That means that even if you have something planned for the weekend after Mother’s Day because of conflicting schedules, even if you discussed this thoroughly with your wife, not doing anything on Mother’s Day is still going to be a disappointment. Timing is everything.

Bad Idea #4. Ignoring/Not Paying Attention To What She Asked For

We have a whole guide on how to avoid making your wife plan her own Mother’s Day, but what if she actually requested something specific? What if there was a new brunch spot that she has mentioned she would like to try, or maybe she went ahead and bought something, wrapped it up, and gave you the card and asked to write something nice in it. Either way, pay attention to her! There are a few important caveats, even if she is asking for them; don’t get her anything chore related (i.e., vacuum cleaner, apron, etc), or work related. Mother’s Day is a fun, gift giving kind of day.

How About You?

So what are your great Mother’s Day ideas? Are you more of a classic Mother’s Day kind of person? And even more importantly, what are some bad Mother’s Day ideas that you’ve seen/perpetrated? Share in the comments!

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