It’s nearly Mother’s Day. A 2020 survey found that 75% of Americans plan to send a gift for Mother’s Day. Beyond sending a gift, staying in touch by phone regularly is a popular choice.
The same survey found that more than half of Americans are speaking to their mothers daily. While a daily phone call might be hard to fit into your schedule, the good news is that not all mothers want or expect that.
According to a 2016 study of nearly 200 mothers, over one third of mothers would like to receive calls from their adult children a few times per week. By contrast, about 20 percent of mothers would like to have a daily phone call.
If you’re calling at least once a week, you are probably on the right track. Better yet–ask your mom if you’re calling often enough. But to a mother, calls (and gifts!) from her children are like Lay’s potato chips, you can never have just one. Even if you call your mother the day before and the day after Mother’s Day, calling on Mother’s Day is a great idea.
Three ways to connect on Mother’s Day.
Before choosing a way to stay in touch, put yourself in your mother’s shoes. Think about what she would prefer. Here are three options — ask your mother which one she likes the most.
Phone calls are a great choice because almost everyone has a phone. Even better, if you have a phone service with unlimited calling minutes, you can settle in for a long conversation.
Pro tip: If you have siblings and other family members, you might also want to arrange a family conference call.
Video conference calls
Video calling with an app like Facetime is another way you can say hello on Mother’s Day. A video conference call lets you connect more deeply than a phone call because you can see each other’s faces. Research reported in Forbes found that virtual eye contact can be as beneficial as in-person eye contact. However, the details matter. Forbes notes that, “The study authors were quick to point out that this may not work well in applications like Skype or Zoom where the position of the camera creates an averted gaze.”
During a Mother’s Day video conference call, focus on looking into the camera rather than looking at the video of your mother. By looking into the camera, you will be better able to maintain virtual eye contact.
Letters, notes, emails and text messages
If you feel more comfortable writing your thoughts and feelings, send her a written message for Mother’s Day. You could send a text message or email for example. However, if you have some time to prepare, consider sending a handwritten letter because these letters can stand out and become keepsakes. An article in Psychology Today found that expressing gratitude in a letter boosts positive emotion and well-being.
If you have time, you might also want to contact a florist to ask about delivering flowers with a notecard.
How to make your Mother’s Day call special: Five simple ideas.
In 2020, the New York Times reported that phone calls have increased in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Why not join that trend and set aside more time in your schedule for longer, meaningful conversations?
To make the most of your Mother’s Day call, think creatively about ways to show appreciation. Here are some tips to inspire you:
Make a homemade gift card
As an alternative to sending a traditional gift card, consider sending a homemade gift card. For example, you could write something like “redeem this card and I will clean your home” or “redeem this card for an afternoon of gardening help.” Make sure this gift relates to an activity or hobby that your mother would appreciate.
Share a favorite childhood memory.
Some recent psychological research suggests that sharing memories with another person can be positive for relationships. Specifically, the researchers found, “Perceived relationship closeness following memory-sharing was positive.” Since it is Mother’s Day, think about a few examples of treasured memories with your mother to share.
Here are a few ideas to refresh your memory.
- Think back to family holidays, birthdays and vacations. Share something your mom did to make the events special.
- If your mother made a meal, dessert or some other kind of food you loved growing up, tell her how much you appreciated it.
Remember that sharing is a two-way street, so take the time to listen to your mother’s perspective on your memories as you chat.
Tell your mother about an important lesson you learned from her.
Take some time to reflect on important life lessons from your mother. For example, musician Diana Krall said, “The best advice my mom ever gave me was that you have to talk about your emotions.” Think about the best advice or life lesson you learned from your mother and share that experience in a Mother’s Day call. It’s one simple way to show your appreciation.
It could be a lesson about your emotions like Diana Krall, how to succeed at work with difficult people, or something else entirely.
Ask your mother about her childhood.
Sharing your own stories and reflections isn’t your only option. Why not take the time to ask your mother about her experiences? Here are a few questions to get the conversation going:
- What were you like as a kid?
- What accomplishment are you proudest of?
- What were your parents like? What was your relationship with them like?
- What was the most rewarding thing about raising kids?
You don’t need to ask every single question. Instead, pick one or two that interest you.
Express gratitude for your mother.
The New York Times pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic “could scar a generation of working mothers.” As difficult as these challenges are, challenging experiences with motherhood have been around a long time. So take a few minutes to thank your mother for everything she’s done for you, especially any sacrifices she’s made for her children.
Now that you know what to say, put your new skills to use and make her day special.