Deepening Our Closest Relationships: Creating A Meaningful Mother’s Day

Among other important life lessons, this global pandemic is shining a light on the importance of our relationships. We may be trying to figure out how to better get-along day-to-day with our immediate household family members. And we may also be missing and longing for time and connection with family members and friends who must remain at a distance. We may also be watching our children who are experiencing less play and interaction with friends and wondering how it may be impacting their development.

Research confirms that it is the quality of our relationships and the quality of interactions that matter not the quantity. Close, satisfying relationships in which those involved can communicate in respectful ways even when disagreeing and show regular support for one another have been shown to boost immunity, reduce stress, and lower risks for a number of diseases.1 One research study showed that teens who had one close friend were happier, had a higher perception of their self-worth and lower levels of social anxiety and depression throughout their adolescence and early adult life than teens with multiple, less intimate friendships.2

What if the test of the moment is to accept that many of us have all of the social connections we need to thrive right from the comfort of our own homes if we consider quality over quantity? And what if, in this moment, we looked to one of our most vital relationships – our relationship with our mother – to understand how we can heal old wounds, reconsider and reframe small differences in the bigger picture, and really see and value who she is — not in relation to who we are — but for her spirit and context and gifts and challenges?

Whether you are trying to figure out how to celebrate your own Mother this holiday or you have a Mother in your household, how can you consider ways in which to more deeply connect with loved ones? We cannot travel to see loved ones. We can’t go out to eat together. But there are many ways in which we can meaningfully connect with those we love and celebrate the critical role that Moms play in our lives. Guiding your child with ways to make meaningful connections will help expand your child’s social awareness while offering him or her a satisfying pathway for expressing love. Perhaps the washing away of the typical trappings of this holiday strips it down to what is truly essential — the love between a Mother and her children. How can you focus on that, nurture that, and deepen that this Mother’s Day? Here are some creative ideas.

Interview or Learn Her Stories. One of the greatest gifts we can give another is to deeply listen to their feelings and thoughts and experiences with an expansive, gracious heart and an open mind. Perhaps you can work with your child to develop questions he could use to interview Mom or maybe, you ask your own Mom about tough times that she’s endured – what she felt then, how she got through it, and what she learned. Here’s a printable set of interview questions.

Draw Each Other’s Portrait. You might draw together or one could pose for the other. This could be done in person or through Zoom. Check out the one my son drew of he and I last year. This is a treasure I will keep always.

Share a book. Reading together has multiple benefits including promoting closer connection by sharing in imagining together, opening up conversations on feelings including fears, and empathizing with others. You can access numerous picture books read aloud on YouTube videos so if Mom is at a distance, it’s still possible to share a book together. My Mom, my son, and I all watched this reading of the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone called “The Boy Who Lived” read by Daniel Radcliffe and have been discussing the series together. 

Create a scrapbook or a collage of family photos. Family stories are treasures that help solidify our children’s memories of important events in our lives. Our scrapbooks or collages of photographs tell the story of our family and show that we experience joy and laughter and love together. As you work on your scrapbook, share those stories and relive the best moments all the while appreciating the role that your mother played to make those important events happen.

Create an “All about Mom” Poster. Remember in kindergarten or first grade, often students create a poster entitled “All about Me” to help other students get to know them. Create a poster to show that you know and notice the special traits, interests, and passions that your Mom possesses. You might include a picture of her, any nicknames you’ve given her over the years, her favorite pets or animals, her favorites hobbies or activities and importantly, all of the descriptive words that show you notice and appreciate her.

Use the arts to guide the way in thinking about what you could create together. You might decide on a special song that describes your relationship and can be shared just between the two of you. You might write a collaborative story together that is a memory of a joyful time you shared or an imaginative adventure you create beyond our current reality.

What are your ideas for a truly connecting Mother’s Day? Whatever you do, sometimes it’s those unplanned moments, those spontaneous laughs, that are the most connecting. Our intention to really see, hear and value our mothers this holiday may be a more important and meaningful gift than anything we might be able to wrap and place a bow on. May you discover ways to deepen your close relationships. Happy Mother’s Day!

References: 

  1. Harvard Health. (2020). Strengthen Relationships for Longer, Healthier Life. Healthbeat, Harvard Medical School.
  2. Narr, R.K., Allen, J.P., Tan, J.S., & Loeb, E.L. (2017). Close Friendship Strength and Broader Peer Group Desirability as Differential Predictors of Adult Mental Health. Child Development, Aug. 21. 

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