Sometimes Mother’s Day can feel a little too much like….a burden. There’s this almost overwhelming pressure to have The Best Day Ever — to be happy, to HAVE FUN, to have birthed children who don’t whine/cry/fight/wrestle/yell and who behave perfectly at brunch.
I have never met these children.
So in order to make the most of Mother’s Day — it is our day, after all — let’s adjust our expectations accordingly. Obviously, restaurant brunch is out (unless, of course, you leave the kids at home – ha!), but there are a ton of other low-key ways to celebrate your fabulous self. We’ve brainstormed a few fun outings appropriate for the whole fam, outlined a foolproof way to kick the day off (breakfast in bed with a perfect Mother’s Day twist), and rounded up a few little gifts if you’re so inclined.
It’s the most epic-yet-kid-friendly version of breakfast in bed. It just requires a tiny bit of prep work the day or two before (which you can do yourself if necessary— all fun stuff, I promise).
10 Easy (& Fun) Ways To Spend Your Mother’s Day
After breakfast in bed, of course.
1. Do A (Low-Key) Weekend Away
This is always my favorite way to celebrate Mother’s Day: a weekend away. If you have the time/energy/budget to go somewhere really fabulous…yay, you! I’m jealous.
For the rest of us….to keep the idea of a getaway (without the stress) just pile everyone in the car on Saturday morning (or Friday night if you can pull it off) and go. I always pack something comfy, something fancy, and a swimsuit — and we’re pretty much covered for all possibilities. Then we pick a direction and drive. Stop when you want, explore when you want, and find a hotel when you’re ready. (A driving time of less than four hours — with plenty of stops — seems to be the magic number for most ages…and three is even better.)
If this is too loose for your taste, instead choose a nearby town, book a hotel, and go (maybe by train?). The key — at least for me — is to get out of my usual space. Too many errands to run and dishwashers to empty….And removing those day-to-day commitments helps to make the day feel extra special (even if we’re just wandering around a new city).
2. Host a Mother’s Day Brunch At Your House
Going out to brunch obviously sucks, but it might be fun to have a few people over to celebrate Mother’s Day. The key is to keep it really low-key. A few years ago, Laura invited her mom over to celebrate Mother’s Day, and used it as an excuse to fill her house with fresh flowers and pretty cupcakes. She and her mom served some seriously yummy food (here’s Laura’s list of her go-to brunch recipes), but you can make this as simple cupcakes, coffee and champagne. Inviting a few friends (or your mom!!!) over for drinks and goodies while the kids play outside is an easy way to make the day feel special. (And my personal vote is to put the guys in charge of all other food — even if it’s just a pizza order.)
3. Climb to the Top of the Tallest Building You Can Find
In Philadelphia, I keep meaning to go and check out the top of One Liberty place (and they often run Mother’s Day specials). It’s just a fun excuse to get out of the house, and would make for some really gorgeous Mother’s Day pictures. And then, instead of a full brunch, I’d hit up a chocolate shop or a little cafe for some really decadent dessert and coffee.
4. Do A Doughnut Tour of Your City
Map out all of your favorite places to get doughnuts….and then try each one. You can stick with your favorites, or order the fanciest, most impressive ones. Take pictures, take notes, and at the end you’ll know exactly who has the best doughnuts in town. (Not into doughnuts? This idea works for cookies, ice cream, cupcakes, chocolates, WHATEVER.)
5. Pack a Fancy Picnic
If you really want to pack your own, my go-to method is two big jars full of some sort of yummy salad, wine (or beer) and chocolates (you can see our go-tos featured here). Or….find a local food place that will pack a gourmet picnic. To make this event feel extra-special, make sure the kids (and hubs) know where the picnic blanket is, have a cute way of transporting the food/wine/whatever, and maybe bring flowers or something. I’m a HUGE believer in getting some of the prep work done yourself. (There are some cute picnic blanket and basket options listed in our Mother’s Day morning article.)
6. Visit a Winery
I think of winery visits as a really fancy picnic. Bring a blanket, bring some food, let the kids run around while you sample alllllll the good stuff.
7. Take a Hike
If there’s one surefire way to minimize whining…it’s getting outside. Prep is usually more than half the battle, though, so maybe pack everything up the day before? And like the picnic idea, I’d pack some gourmet sandwiches-to-go or figure out a way to bring wine or piping hot coffee. (Hello, pretty Corksicle set.)
8. Visit an Offbeat Museum
I mean, the Art Museum is an expected choice for Mother’s Day — which is great! But I’d love to explore some of the more obscure museums in town. Helps to keep my expectations low AND beat the crowds — two important points in a successful Mother’s Day excursion. For example, Philly has a medical museum that is supposed to be SUPER-CREEPY, a fabric museum that has had some strange (and wonderful) exhibits, a tiled extravaganza called The Magic Gardens, and the Rosenbach — a museum of rare, old books that I’ve been dying to visit for years. Also? Battleship New Jersey is one of our favorites, for those days we just need to get out of the house.
9. Go Get a Pedicure…By Yourself
There’s no rule that says you have to spend Mother’s Day with your kids. And if you are in a really intense period of motherhood — kids still in diapers, kids not sleeping through the night, kids going through an especially annoying phase — sometimes the best Mother’s Day gift is time away. (Or a really long, luxurious nap. That too.)
10. Watch Netflix Like A Queen
I love the idea of ending Mother’s Day with a movie at home on the couch. Obviously, mom picks the flick. AND!! AND AND AND all of our favorite treats should be served to us, on a pretty tray. In fancy dishes. With champagne. Mike, I would like popcorn, pickles, Doritos, chips and guac, and those stupidly expensive gummy bears from Whole Foods. Use the wedding china. It’s in the basement.
A Few Mother’s Day Gift Ideas
If you’re into that sort of thing.