I have read so many articles about Mother’s Day presents in the past month. They’re all full of amazing ideas that I almost clicked ‘add to cart’ many times. They suggest floral arrangements, pretty sweaters, foot massagers, books (lots of books), photo albums, jewelry, and other knick-knacks.
But then I started to think back to all the Father’s Days I celebrated. We would get my dad golf clubs, grilling equipment, new headphones, new walking shoes, and anything he needed for his car.
There is a distinct difference in the gifts we get for Mother’s Day versus Father’s Day. My mother (and most mothers, in general) often receives things that connect her to her house and her children. But fathers get activities and hobbies that they can use when they go out and have fun away from the family (or with their family, if they choose to include them).
Why is there such a distinct juxtaposition between these gifts? I think there’s a root problem with how we see parents and their duties, in general.
When you think ‘mother,’ you probably think of words like nurturing, loving, home, comfortable, safe, and stable. When you think ‘father,’ especially in today’s age, you probably think of things like being active, working, cars, sports, food, or whatever hobbies, activities, or jobs he does. It’s time to flip the script this Mother’s Day.
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Here’s the truth: you are not a bad mother if you stay at home all day, look after your kids, keep the house clean, cook, do the chores, do the shopping, and anything else that is often associated with motherly duties. But you are also not a bad mother if you work a 9-5, go out with your friends every week (or day), work from home all the time, or busy yourself with other activities away from the house.
I would actually argue that you are more able to be a better mother (wife, human, friend, worker) when you invest in things outside of your house. You’re then allowed to take breaks, reset your mind, and flex your creativity muscles that you might not get to as often as you’d like. Every other job in the world has mandatory breaks that you have to take, but being a mother, arguably the most taxing job of all, doesn’t.
That’s why you need to find times when you can get away from it all and take up a new hobby.
I understand that it’s a luxury for many to just ‘take off’ and go start a new hobby. You might not want to add anything to your social calendar, and that’s valid. I’m not suggesting you take up CrossFit and join a book club that requires you to read 10 books a month. But I am encouraging you to find things apart from ‘being a mother’ that make you happy.
Many mothers will say that their job is raising the children, keeping the house clean, making dinner, and other things that easily fall into the standard mother package. While some might see this as backward, old-fashioned, or toxic, it’s also very valid. You’re not less of a feminist or a woman for loving to do chores. But it’s also okay to take breaks and find small pockets of non-negotiable ‘me time’ every single week.
This expansion of interests is valuable in many different ways. You might be a mother to little toddlers poking about, or children, tweens, or teens. But what happens when there aren’t kids in the house? What happens when all the work is done and it’s one in the afternoon and there’s nothing else to do for the day? What happens when your job as a full-time mother is done and you’re just bored?
This year, I encourage mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons to look into giving your mother the gift of a hobby this Mother’s Day.
Why Mothers Need a Hobby
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When anyone gets a hobby, they automatically become a part of another group of people. Suddenly, a whole new world full of people who, otherwise, wouldn’t be connected is opened up to them. Whether it’s through a Facebook group, a team sport, a gym buddy, a wine and dine girlfriend, or a book club, hobbies are a great way of bringing people together.
Being a mom can sometimes be isolating. You feel as though the struggles you deal with on the day-to-day are your own burdens to bear and no one can relate to them. On the other hand, you might feel guilty if you decide to participate in activities away from your home or your kids, as they ought to be your first priority. As my mother always said when I was growing up, “Being your mom is my job.”
But how isolating can that be? How identity stripping can the title of ‘being a mother’ become when you’re done with the initial steps of parenting and your kids have grown up? What happens to your identity and hobbies once you’re not a mother?
Finding a Hobby
Sadly, I cannot tell everyone what to get for their mothers. I’m still struggling with my own gifts. But I’m also not going to give you a problem without a solution. I suggest for everyone to look at their mother’s lifestyle and find a hobby that might fit her speed.
My mother, for example, is a kickass gardener. While she may not need beginner’s tools, she can always get an upgraded set. I also know you can never go wrong with more gloves, gardening stools, and garden labels. While I know my mom would hate to garden with a group, you can look into community gardens and gardening clubs in your mom’s area to see if she can plug into a community there!
If you have an active mom, you might want to explore sets that she can take to the gym with her. Boxing gloves, a yoga mat and bag, or a new tennis skirt could be just what she needs. Look into gyms and group exercise classes that will help her form a community.
For the mommas who love to cook, an Always Pan or a bakeware set is a great way to go. But also look into signing her up for classes at a local bakery where she can meet with people every week.
If your mom has an artistic streak, look into local art classes, pottery clubs, and even studios she can join. You can find her a class and get her an easel, brushes, and a pottery subscription, if you want!
No matter what you get for your mom, make sure she feels celebrated and loved this holiday. It’s hard to be a mother and it can be daunting and exhausting to think about going out and experiencing news things. But sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement and a thoughtful gift to start a lifelong hobby.
Will you be giving your mom the gift of a hobby this Mother’s Day? Do you have any ideas we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
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