My favorite thing to do for Mother’s Day is to host a brunch for my family. All generations included. What is better than some bubbly, comfort food and flowers? I try to get everyone together so that we can spend some celebratory time together enjoying the gorgeous Spring weather. Then we head out for a walk so my nieces can enjoy the park while they are still into it.
I try to call my mother, Betty, with more regularity because I think, What if Hazel didn't call me for two weeks? I'm able to see her mothering now from a different vantage point.
Instead of just suggesting store bought gifts, we thought we’d share some ideas for experiences to enjoy time with your mom. Not that there is anything wrong with buying presents for your mom or wife on Mother’s Day, hint hint…but maybe you want some different options. Who is to say that you have to celebrate only on Mother’s Day? These thoughtful gifts and treasured moments will be appreciated on any day of the year.
You know how parents rattle on to you about, 'Oh, you won't believe your life will never be the same,' and you think, Why can't these people just get over it? All they're doing is yakking about their kids. It's such a bore. And then you have kids and you just want to do the same thing.
A Yummy Brunch
This is all about carbs. Yes, carbs. Break out your waffle maker, this is the day you bought it for. Whip up your favorite pancakes. Buy a quiche and croissants. Or cook up some grilled cheese. I like to use Mother’s Day as an excuse to enjoy some Saint Viateur’s bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon. I lay out my pink table cloth, pink placemats and decorate the table with wild flowers in small jam jars. I also buy a few potted plants to give as gifts. I buy those a few days early before the prices go up.
My favorite thing about being a mom is just what a better person it makes you on a daily basis.
A Boho Picnic
One of my favorite experiences with friends in recent years was a boho picnic in the lavender fields at Maison Lavande in Saint-Eustache. A group of us brought wine, bread and cheese, nuts and meats and lay in the sun chatting. The picturesque landscape is perfect for kids to run around and the scent is intoxicating. There is also a shop to treat yourself or mom to some lavender scented candles or body creams. They also make lavender ice-cream which is tasty.
It means a lot to me to have two kids who support my ambition to change perceptions of women. As moms, we have a unique opportunity to keep changing this attitude that ambition is an ugly quality in women.
A Long Walk
I still remember the first time I went to the Botanical Gardens. I was blown away when I discovered that Montreal has such a huge space with so many different gardens. I am partial to weeping willows so I was happy to explore the park and then enjoy a rest by the trees. My niece was just learning to walk so it was a special time. The Lachine Canal (part of it will be under construction all summer) offers a good long picturesque walk and the Canal Lounge which opens on May 20th is a unique spot to enjoy drinks on a boat! Mont Royal is still my go to destination for the perfect long walk followed by hot chocolate at Juliette & Chocolat or lunch on a nearby terrace.
When I had my children and I felt that type of love, which I know you understand and every mom out there understands, it made me understand that there was a purity to love. That there is an unconditional love.
An Afternoon in Old Mtl
Take a walk through Old Montreal and treat mom to the best cookies ever at bar à beurre. They also do a tea time and the room is beyond charming. Be sure to reserve your spot! Treat mom to a delicious (and healthy) lunch at the cool Venice “beach” bar, or the perfect flat white at Café Olympico at the William Gray hotel. End your day on the Ferris Wheel or terrace at the Willian Gray. Check out the NEW Mary’s Popcorn boutique. Go for soft ice-cream at Le Diperie, try the zip line (for those fearless moms) or check out Denis Gagnon’s boutique. SSENCE has also just reopened.
I don't think empathy is something you can drill in someone's head. You have to have faith that while your kids can seem to be selfish and concerned only about the word 'mine' sometimes, overall, they are watching you really carefully, and if you care about other people, they will too.
I never met a mani pedi that I didn’t enjoy, and I sure wouldn’t kick a spa day out of bed. Watching a chic flick with a glass of wine while getting my nails done is how to live. Rouge Nails on Mont-Royal is my go to spot. The service is attentive and the nail polish lasts. They also have special pricing during the week. For the hot and cold baths and a massage in the city Spa Scandinave and Bota Bota are the places to be.
My daughter introduced me to myself ... My mother and I are so close, and I always prayed that I would have that type of relationship with my daughter. And she's still a baby, but the connection I had with her when I was giving birth was something that I've never felt before.
Print Personal Photos
A friend of mine printed three large-scale vacation photos on metal and put them on an art shelf above her couch. I couldn’t believe the high quality of the image considering they were taken with her smart phone. I am 100% committed to doing this at home once my husband and I can agree on what photos to enlarge. I can’t think of a more personal gift for your mom than a metal print of the family or just the two of you for her home.
When Valentina was not even 1 month old, my aunt [gave me the best advice]: 'Put her to sleep yourself every night. Sing to her and cradle her in your arms and sit by her side — every night. Because one day you won't be able to, and it's going to happen really fast.
This may be off the table for some of you but if you are feeling creative than why not try one of these ideas with your kids? I like the idea of taking a stencil that says LOVE and painting around it with finger prints or big dots of paint in different colors. I also like the idea of painting with flowers!
Wyatt [my adopted son] is definitely all mine. Little souls find their way to you whether they're from your womb or someone else's.
Write a poem
I did this once for my mother in high school. Now we just write cards to each other. Why not try writing a poem or typing out one you find on-line and framing it? A few words can convey deep gratitude and understanding.
I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you're just thinking, This is impossible — oh, this is impossible. And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.
Make a Bouquet of Flowers
If at the end of the day, you just want to give your mother flowers, by all means do, but what about trying to create a bouquet yourself? Most local flower shops will teach you how to combine the flowers to make a unique and more personal bouquet.
Sometimes, when I want to take on the world, I try to remember that it's just as important to sit down and ask my son how he's feeling or talk to him about life.
Hire a cleaner for a day
I don’t know what mom with small children wouldn’t appreciate this gesture. Let someone else take care of the house so mom can relax in bed.
Parenting shifts as your kids shift. The best thing for me has been throwing any kind of parenting manual out of the window.
What will you do for your mom this Mother’s Day?
You're going to get advice from a lot of people and you can take bits and pieces, but you know innately what your child needs. You should trust that. Don't beat yourself up for making decisions about things that may or may not work. It's an experiment in life and you're a part of that.