As every mother knows, this Sunday, May 11, is Mother's Day. For the gentlemen readers who just gasped in surprise--you're welcome.
I always get spoiled rotten by Thad and the girls on Mother's Day, which I really appreciate. But I've gotten some heartbreaking emails and comments from moms in the past whose husbands ignore them on Mother's Day--please note: I'm not talking about couples who have decided together that the Mother's Day/Father's Day holidays aren't important to them, or who celebrate Mother's Day on the Feast of Mary, Mother of God and Father's Day on St. Joseph's feast day, but couples where the husband expects his wife to send his mother (and hers, of course) a card and/or gift on Mother's Day and to lavish attention on him as well as his father and hers on Father's Day, but feels totally free to disregard her on Mother's Day.
For those husbands, I have the following helpful list of things NOT to say to your wife on Mother's Day. They are in no particular order:
1. "But you're my wife, not my mother." I'm a redhead, so I always have to fight the urge to slap a man who says that, especially since the men who say that usually do so with a smug, satisfied, "I'm so logical and wise!" look on their faces. Gentlemen, I assure you that no woman who has ever heard that from her husband has ever thought, "Oh, how logical and wise he is! I must renew my marriage covenant with him this instant!" Instead, she feels hurt and disrespected that as the mother of his children she gets no special attention from their father on Mother's Day. Trust me on this.
2. "Wait--today's Mother's Day?" Yes, the calendar can get away from us. But if you wait until after Mass, when the mothers get a special blessing (and sometimes a flower), to notice that it's Mother's Day, you're betraying the fact that this isn't an important holiday to you, even if it is to her.
3. "What's for dinner?" Okay, I'm not saying you have to take her out for dinner; in fact, as Mother's Day is one of the busiest restaurant days of the year, she may prefer not to eat out when it means an hour wait for a table and a noisy, crowded environment. But give her the gift of a conversation before Mother's Day to find out what she'd like to do. She may want nothing but a tray of cold cuts and other sandwich fixings eaten picnic style in the living room with a family-friendly movie in the background. Why not? But let her know you've thought about this and are willing to help.
4. "Did you remember to send my mom a card/gift?" This question is fine if you have a card and gift for her, too, but it's just more heartache for the woman who is expected to do everything for your mom and her own while knowing you don't care enough to make anything special happen for her.
5. "Bye! See you later!" This one is fine if you work in the medical profession or law enforcement or some other job where you most unfortunately must work on Sundays. It is the very opposite of fine if you are leaving for a fishing trip with your buddies, or a golf outing, or some other completely optional activity.
6. "You know we can't afford to do anything for Mother's Day." I'm not saying that you have to spend money foolishly if you are in a dire financial situation; no wife or mother wants that. But there are SO MANY ways to spoil your wife without spending money on Mother's Day, if finances are too tight for a gift. Make her a card, for example, and put in on the breakfast tray when you bring her breakfast in bed before Mass. Or make dinner (see #3). Or make her relax on the couch with a book while you and the kids vacuum and clean around her (if the kids make a paper crown for her to wear, it's even cuter).
I'm sure there are more. Perhaps my readers will add to these in the comment boxes. :)
One thing is certain, gentlemen: it never hurts at all to remind your wife, the mother of your children, just how important she is to you and to them. But it can hurt her quite a bit if you never do.