Why limit Mother’s Day to one day? Celebrate the sacrifices of the mothers in your life all month long. And this year expand your focus and see if there is a mom you can bless this month other than your own.

Need some ideas?

1. Before Mother’s Day, take a single mom’s children for the day to give her a break. Help the children make or purchase special gifts and cards for their mom.

2. Do you know grandparents who are raising their grandchildren? Parenting a second time around can be isolating as peers are enjoying retirement. Give Grandma a break to reconnect with her friends or enjoy a date night.

3. Military wives not only face parenting alone but also the added stress of worrying for their husbands. Phone or video calls can be infrequent and difficult to communicate with children underfoot. Ask a military mom when her next planned call with her husband is. Offer to keep the children outside or in another room so she can enjoy uninterrupted time with him before the children join in on the conversation. These calls are not always free, so buy a phone card or donate cell phone minutes.

4. Mother’s Day is difficult for children, whether young or adult, who have recently lost their mothers. Acknowledging their loss and sharing a favorite memory of their mothers is such a comfort.

5. Take your children to a local retirement home. Mothers in their senior years love to be around children and recall their mothering adventures. Listen carefully—they have great wisdom and insight to offer!

6. A foster mom has added parenting responsibilities, and it can be difficult for her to get a break. Offer to do laundry for a day, shuttle kids to activities, or take a meal to alleviate some of the time pressures on her. Newly-adoptive moms also can use help as they adjust to their growing families, even if the new child is older.

7. Offer to rock a newborn for a couple of hours so a new mom can take a nap or catch up on her shopping. I had a friend come once a week for a couple of hours so I could nap, read a book, or just attack Mount Laundry. I looked forward to those precious hours and the little bit of adult conversation, too!

8. Adoptive and foster moms, don’t forget your child’s birth mom! If you have contact with her, acknowledge her role in bringing your child into this world. Send photos and a letter of funny things your child said, or give her a bouquet of flowers.

Beyond chocolate and lotion: Gift ideas for the mothers in your life

1. What hobby has Mom always wanted to pursue or try? Give a certificate for golf lessons, for a couple of sessions with a voice coach and a recording studio, to a writers’ conference, or to a dance class for moms.

2. Plan a special day with Mom: shopping and lunch or a walk in the park, just the two of you. Encourage your husband to take his mother out on a date.

3. Preserve baby’s handprint and/or footprint in clay. Look in the baby section of your local shopping center for an easy kit.

4. Update the family photo for Grandma, or send a photo book to the long-distance grandmother of highlights of the kids’ sports season.

5. Treat your mom to a manicure, pedicure, or massage.

6. Give movie or play tickets with a free babysitting coupon.

7. Have children design custom jewelry or paint pottery for their mom. Even little ones can create memorable and tasteful art.

8. Give the gift of organization (It’s always more fun to organize someone else’s stuff!): Offer to clean out a closet or kitchen cabinets, or organize photos or recipes for Mom. Buy some fun containers to hold countertop clutter.

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