What Dads Should Do About Mother's Day

Some basic rules for doing It right.


Mother's day is this weekend and for many of you, it's your first. Sweet. You're in for oodles of homemade cards and crafts, sticky breakfasts in bed, brunches, pedicures and presents, presents, presents. That is, if your husband/partner does his job right.

Unlike birthdays and other holidays, this one's a new responsibility for your baby's father. He's probably done a thing or two for his own mom but chances are good, his efforts were guided and financed by his own father. Now that he's the dad, he may not know exactly what he's supposed to do. After all, you've never been the mother in his life before.

So, this week, I thought I'd write a basic manifesto of what a guy needs to know to pay proper homage to the woman who bore his progeny, delivered his heir and presented him with the cutest, smartest, most fabulous son/daughter ever born. Pay attention boys. Follow these simple guidelines and you'll be fine.

1) Mother's Day is a specific date. Circle it on the calendar and make sure you make a fuss over Mom on that day. If you absolutely, positively can't celebrate on that day (you're deployed, hospitalized or somehow incapacitated), make sure you select a pre-approved and very specific replacement date, say the day before or weekend after the real Mother's Day.

2) If your wife is pregnant, she's a mother. Don't wait until you can see the actual baby before you start celebrating. Even if she's still in the nausea stage, doesn't have a bump yet and no one knows but you two, give her a card, bring her some flowers and let her know, that you know, she's already the mother of your child. This sentimental, mushy stuff counts big time to us, especially when we're feeling gross and emotional. We can't get enough of it. Slather on the love, guys. It helps us become great mothers.

3) If someone tells you, you don't have to celebrate Mother's Day because, every day is mother's day and it's just a commercialized attempt to sell greeting cards—don't believe them. Your wife will be really annoyed with you if you blow it off. Every day is not mother's day. If it were, then it would be a really lousy holiday. If, for instance, today was Mother's day, mine would include non-celebratory events like cleaning the bathroom, attending a teacher conference, work, unplugging the toilet and picking up dog-doo. Those are not holiday activities.

4) Here are good ways to make a fuss over Mom (your wife, not your mother. Hint, if you make a bigger fuss over your mother than your wife, you're in big trouble, Mister): Take her out to brunch, send her off without kids to go shopping for new clothes (for her, not you or the kids), schedule a massage for her, take her to the movies, arrange a picnic (which she does not have to shop for, prepare or clean up after) and by all means, buy her presents; at least two: One from you and one "from your baby." You're setting the tone for how you expect your children to treat their mother. Your father did this for you. It's time for you to carry the torch.

5) Being broke is no excuse. Do something special just for her. Anything. But make it good, make it personal and make sure she knows she's the best thing that ever happened to you. Homemade cookies (again, she does not have to make them or clean up after them), a love note or flowers picked from the yard will do, but only if you can't afford to buy her a present.

6) She's not your mother: Why do you have to buy her a present? Because she went through pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding, postpartum pudginess and way more hours up in the night than you. Because she gave you a daughter who is your princess or son who is your best little buddy. Because your child doesn't earn money yet, can't drive to the store and hasn't a clue what mom likes. Because Father's day is only a month away and if you want a present, you'd better ante up or you're getting nuttin' honey.

7) The best reason to pamper her silly on Mother's day? Because you love her and appreciate what she's done to make your life so great. Because you love your child know that the best way to show that love is to show up, and make the most of every opportunity to celebrate her. Mother's day is one of those opportunities. Do it right, boys. The mother of your child deserves it.

If you're looking for a way to celebrate Mother's Day and honor "your mom" in a big, splashy, warm, fuzzy and globally humanitarian way, log on to CARE's Top 10 Ways to Honor Your Mother. Activism can be warm and fuzzy too. By helping CARE, you're honoring mothers all over the world and making a big difference in helping them survive motherhood.

Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to jeanne@jeannefaulkner.com.

This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.