Mother’s Day: breakfast in bed, cute cards made by little hands, a lunch out and a relaxing day off. A day for our families to express their appreciation for all we do for them. We feel loved and valued and so very grateful for our families. But as relaxing as this special day may be, we also know that the next day we will be jumping back on the hamster wheel called life. As mothers we want the best for our families but sometimes trying to give them the best leaves us with very little quality time for our children, our spouse or ourselves. Our lives are jam packed and often lived out in a frantic whirl of getting things done: work, school, extracurricular, appointments, chores, cooking, cleaning, and commuting. It can start to feel as if everything is passing by in a blur.
So how do we make time to reconnect in all of this? How do we as mothers make our family’s bonds closer and stronger? Perhaps Mother’s Day is the perfect day to take stock of our family unit’s emotional well being and to think about creating lasting, happy memories together. Memories that your family can cherish for a lifetime. Research has shown huge benefits for families who practice routines and rituals. Family traditions create a sense of belonging and a feeling of cohesion that can span across several generations. These rituals can be simple, everyday things like sitting down together for dinner or more elaborate ones like making Christmas decorations together every year. No matter how small or big these repeated moments offer consistency and something to look forward to, a wonderful buffer against life’s daily stressors.
CREATING YOUR OWN FAMILY RITUALS
You may already have some family routines and traditions; some may have been passed down from previous generations. Perhaps a family Sunday lunch, Saturday morning pancakes, or a special way of celebrating birthdays. Here are some ideas for creating your own special traditions. Remember that while repetition is good, don’t be afraid to mix it up sometimes too. Sometimes you simply need a thread that connects experiences. Perhaps even just taking a family photo in a certain pose wherever you go on vacation. You may not think much of it at the time, but when it comes time to making that scrapbook, you’ll be glad you stuck with it. So sit down and make a list. Keep it simple and flexible but commit to practicing whatever you choose as consistently as possible.
- Special greetings or goodbyes
- Butterfly kisses, Eskimo kisses, secret handshakes or European kisses.
- Secret Communication: thumbs up, a wink or a ‘secret’ sign that means ‘I love you’
- A ‘Kid Cure’: tell your child that sometimes you need a big hug from him after a long day. Make sure they know how much better it makes you feel.
- Food Rituals- the possibilities are limitless
- Kids cook night
- Burger or pizza night (let them build their own)
- Pancakes or waffle breakfasts
- Baking afternoons
- Popcorn and movie nights
- Hot chocolate and reading evening
- Make summer ice lollies or smores, or find a recipe for family lemonade
- Kids Request Night
- Allow your child to choose meals on their birthdays.
- Ice-cream or frozen yogurt ritual for special achievements.
- Sunday sweets. Once a week give your child a small budget to buy a treat of their choice.
- Birthday Rituals- besides the obvious cake
- A special birthday cup, banner or chair
- One present the night before
- A birthday treasure hunt
- A special outing of their choice over the weekend.
- A birthday ‘thanksgiving.’ Let every family member have a turn to say why they love or appreciate the family member celebrating.
- Birthday letters from mom and dad. Once a year write a love letter to your child and put it in a box for when they are adults or about to become a parent.
- Family Night In- put devices away and spend quality time together. It could be the same every time or chosen by a family member.
- Games night: choose from board games or have a Lego building challenge. Play charades, hangman or solve riddles found on the internet.
- Movies and smoothies- or popcorn- or pizza
- Talent night- act out skits, sing a song, make up a dance, put on a fashion show, recite a poem or tell jokes.
- Summer fun night- bbq, smores, swim in the dark, night hide and go seek.
- Story night: read a book together or tell stories by candlelight. Start a story and let each family member have a turn to continue
- Family day out: once a month have a family day out. The possibilities here are also limitless and depend entirely on your family’s interests and location. This Mother’s Day sit down with your family and make a bucket list of suggestions. Tick one off once a month and create beautiful memories of new experiences or old favorites.
- Holiday Traditions- what holidays does your family celebrate? How can you make them unique and memorable? How can you make them a wonderful shared experience? If you’re stuck, get on Pinterest or Google and find ideas that appeal to you and save them for that holiday date. Again, they can be simple or elaborate as long as the work for you and your family.
This Mother’s Day enjoy your family not only for today, but plan and dream ahead for a year of love, memories and magic. Happy Mother’s Day.