This Mother’s Day, How Will You Appreciate the Mother Figures in Your Life?

Each year on the second Sunday in May, more than 90 countries around the world celebrate Mother’s Day.

According to the Oxford Living Dictionaries, the verb “to mother” means to bring up a child with care and affection. It strikes me that this definition applies the role of motherhood to so many more figures than just the biological mother — it could apply to caregivers of any sort who have played a formative role in a child’s life. That person may be an older sibling, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, or a family friend.

Even if you do not have a positive relationship with your mother, you may have a mother figure in your life — someone who helped you grow into the person you are, who has loved, supported, and advised you.

This Mother’s Day, let us recognize the work, care, and significance of all of the mother figures in our lives.

In the United States and many other places around the world, Mother’s Day celebrations tend to follow a formula — breakfast in bed, flowers, and perhaps an item of jewelry. But following a formulaic approach doesn’t truly show appreciation. We show appreciation to the people in our lives by considering thoughtfully what we could give them that could be of value or meaning.

That might be something like breakfast in bed or flowers, but it could also be an act of service — doing all of the laundry and putting it away, taking the car to get cleaned. It could also take the form of a heartfelt letter telling our mother figure about how we value them in our lives.

The best way to learn how to appreciate our mother figures is to ask them.

A simple, “What things make you feel most loved and appreciated?” can teach you a lot about someone, and their response may surprise you. Take note of what they share with you, and next time you want to show your appreciation for them, refer back to this. Demonstrating that you listened to and remembered what they shared with you goes a long way in making someone feel truly appreciated.

To the mothers and mother figures around the world — Happy Mother’s Day to you. How did the people in your life show their appreciation to you? How did you appreciate the mother figures in your life?