For weeks I’ve been receiving emails from various companies and bloggers telling me they know the secret behind what mom really wants for Mother’s Day.  One blogger thinks what Mom really wants is a good, stiff drink.  Another thinks Mom just wants chocolate.  Rubios thinks you should skip the flowers and give her a fish taco.  Jewelry stores think Mom wants an ugly and expensive charm bracelet.  I’ve received tips for coffee makers, electronics, furniture, books, movies, and more.

And these are all mostly great gifts, except for one thing – they don’t really convey personal appreciation.

Lets face it. Mother’s Day is really Kids Day in disguise. Think about it. We spend the whole day making sure the kids are happy, from their clumsy attempts at breakfast in bed to every activity that is done that day.

And if you have young kids, you realized this about two years in. Even more, you accept that fact, and even love it.

Most days, Mom’s time is spent keeping the schedule in order, making sure the family is fed throughout the day, acting as carpool to the whole neighborhood, performing the magical feat of being in three places at once, gluing tiny pieces together on a science project that is due in 12 hours, folding endless amounts of time folding t-shirts of a baby who has a better wardrobe than the adults in the house, making a dollar out of 50 cents at the grocery store, being the official master of snacks because her house has become the neighborhood hangout, being the cool mom, being the worst mom in the world, loving fiercely even when her child says ‘I hate you!”, having her heart broken over the good stuff and the bad, being her child’s biggest fan and advocate…

A mom’s job is never done.

And then there are the moms who are there for the kids who aren’t even theirs. I’m sure you know who these people are in your lives. I know I do.

– Crissy Mansfield, the mom of 4 boys, who has been my saving grace at the baseball field by taking my son with hers to every practice and game we have.

– Claudine Bibeau, who is always enthusiastic about my son coming to her house after school and considers my son like one of her own.

– My Grandma Elsie, who has allowed her house to be homebase to my son after school every day, and who has been a major inspiration and source of comfort to me.

– My mother Nancy (left in picture), who has become my friend in my adult years despite my being a horrible teenager.

– My mother-in-law Joan (right in picture), who is the kind of woman who says it like it is and is unapologetically herself, a courageous trait I admire fiercely.

This Mother’s Day, there are many ways you can honor the mothers in your life. The Events Calendar is filled with wonderful events, and Heather Irwin put together her choice of brunches and more to celebrate mom. You can give mom a gift, handmade to expensive trinket at the store. You can make her an elaborate breakfast of burnt toast and runny eggs.

But most importantly, let her know how much she means to you – even in ways that cost next to nothing.

Send the moms who have helped you out a heartfelt note of gratitude. Pick up the phone and call. Set up time for a coffee date, or treat her to a movie. Spend the day as a family. Clean the house top to bottom (trust me, this one ranks high on the gifts list). Take her out to dinner. Let her know how much you care for all 364 days she has taken care of the family, because most likely she’ll still be doing it on the day we’ve set aside to honor her.  And yes, dads, you should definitely be honoring your wife.  She may not be your mom, but she is the mother of your children, and likely the caretaker of the whole family.

And if you’re really stuck, just fix her a stiff drink and get her that dang fish taco.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms (and you single dads too!). May your day be filled with love and family.

Crissi Dillon
SantaRosaMom.com