After giving birth to our fourth child weeks before Mother’s Day, I was sure Paul was going to orchestrate my special day with a five-course gourmet breakfast and a Blue Angels fly-over.
When Gracie, our two-year-old, climbed up into my bed on Mother’s Day morning and whispered in my ear, “Daddy didn’t take us to get anything for you.” The fury of an angry postpartum lioness possessed my mom-body.
Minutes later, I was magically presented with a half-dead potted plant purchased from a guy selling Harley Davidson throw rugs.
No, I never expected Paul to buy me anything grand or even expensive. But, after delivering him a ten pound son I was hoping for a few squiggly pictures and maybe a couple slices of soggy French Toast with a side of lukewarm orange juice.
None of those dreams came true.
If you’re lucky enough to have an amazing husband that takes your little ones and circles the wagons around you every Mother’s Day —good for you.
But, for someone like me with an incredible husband who lacks wisdom on a day he blames on Hallmark… here’s three tips for you to survive when your husband fails at Mother’s Day :
- Mute Button. Keep angry thoughts to yourself. Expectations have a way of muddying the marriage waters. Tell him what you’d like for Mother’s Day, but try to be grateful for whatever he does orchestrate with your little ones. Even if that means he’s running out to purchase a bouquet of wilted flowers from a guy at the gas station on his way home from church. Your kids are watching. Hold that tongue. Cry later. You’ll be happy you did. I promise.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. James 1:19
- Order Out. Nothing says “I love you Mom” like Chinese take-out. Remind your husband of the nearest restaurant by leaving the phone number on a sticky-note on his iPhone—or his forehead.
And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
- Marriage is Forever. You made a vow. You told God and your husband that you would love him for better or worse. That includes pathetic Mother’s Day habits. Remember, marriage is forever—Mother’s Day is only once a year.
When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
After almost twenty years of marriage I’ve finally learned gift-giving is not my husband’s love language, but, acts of service definitely are.
I recently shared with him, “I think I know what I want for Mother’s Day.”
“I’d love it if the kids (you) cleaned out the garage and maybe took a run to the dumps.”
He smiled, looking relieved. “Okay. Sounds good to me. How about we make you a nice breakfast before we get to work?”This was something he could do no problem.
Now, let me share something I know but he doesn’t. Cleaning the garage is going to happen no matter what. So, why would I ask him to do something like that for me on Mother’s Day?
Because I know it makes him feel good to love me by doing an act of service. Plus, he’s a great dictator and is frighteningly energized after telling the kids what to do for hours. Win. Win.
So, what would I really like for Mother’s Day?
Runny eggs and lumpy pancakes sound good to me.
Take the Five Love Languages test and see just what YOUR love language is. Better yet, have your husband take this test with you.
Give YOURSELF a Mother’s Day gift and order The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids.
Joanne Kraft is a mom of four and the author of The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids and Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical. She’s been a guest on Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and CBN. Joanne and her husband, Paul, moved their family from California to Tennessee and happily traded soy milk and arugula for sweet tea and biscuits. Joanne joins her mom-friends over coffee every Saturday morning, sign up and grab your favorite cup—she’d love to have you!
Heather Kelly says
I would love to sleep in. I NEVER get to sleep in, ever. I always get up with the kids, even on the weekend. I would also love for him to clean his parts of th inside of the house. He cleans the stove and microwave, and they really need cleaning right now. Other than that, some spending money for summer would be great so I can do some special things with our children this summer.
Heather, okay, so our guys aren’t the best at guessing…so TELL HIM that you’d LOVE to sleep in. Then come back and let us know how late you slept!
Jenna Martucci says
At this point anything would be good. My hubby does not do any holiday he feels Hallmark created! So if I don’t plan it then IT is nothing no matter how much talking we have done on this subject.
Expectations being low are often times a good thing, don’t you think? LOL
My husband is the exact same way!!!! I think he said Happy Mother’s day to me in the morning when he woke up but the rest of the day he didn’t acknowledge it.
Adrienne–find out his love language. Also, TELL HIM next year before Mother’s Day. You have your marching orders! 🙂
Katie Chaney says
One of the best Mother’s Days ever was when my 4 year old independently toddled up the stairs with a bowl of Lucky Charms in his cute little hands at something like 6 in the morning singing “Happy Mother’s Day”, a song he was creating with each step he took. Sure there were plenty of magically delicious marshmallows dotting every stair, but it was an amazing independent act that I will remember forever. What do I want for Mother’s Day? Nothing more. My boys have both treated me so lovingly and tenderly even from a very early age.
Although, sleeping in would have been nice. LOL
Oh, that’s just the sweetest story, Katie. Was that Christopher?
Katie Chaney says
Nope, it was my first – my Travis.
Shawnelle Eliasen says
Love love love this. I’m married to a precious, giving man but have so been here! Thanks for sharing…wise and encouraging.
Happy to bring a smile to your face, Shawnelle.
Kristen Schachner says
I love this! Thank you for the scriptures! I just want to be happy. Maybe a family day. We have two kids this year and the past few Mother’s Day, with just one, I can’t even remember. We are not big on these “hallmark” holidays. But getting takeout sounds great!
Jenny Sulpizio says
Love, love, love everything about this post. You’re a great writer and so relateable, Joanne! Hugs
I just clicked over from the link in Jenny Sulpizio’s email…and boy did I need this today! This is my first Mother’s Day without my mom, so you know nothing will be right about it. Add to that the fact that Friday morning, hubby asked “Is Mother’s Day on Saturday or Sunday?” and Saturday morning asked “So what are we doing for your Mother’s Day?” (I wish I was making this up!!) Thanks for the reminder to keep my snarky comments to myself and to keep this one day in perspective!
Alicia, first let me just say how sorry I am that your mom isn’t here. I understand how painful that is. On a different note…I SO GET YOU when it comes to a husband who just doesn’t understand Mother’s Day. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been a mom now for 23 years and I STILL have to plan it out for him. Though, I did get a birthday card tossed in my direction at 8:30pm that night. Ahhhh…it’s the small things. 🙂
*sigh* I wish I would have read this before Mother’s Day. I realized on Saturday night that my own expectations were going to disappoint me. My gay and is just by good at holidays. Today I had to pray and ask God to help me not expect so much. I just get so excited seeing others celebrated and I want to experience the same thing! I work so hard on planning stuff for him so I just want it back but he didn’t grow up like that. I did. It’s been almost 5 years and I’ve never been overwhelmed by anything he’s planned so I’m asking God to help us understand each other better, and to help me to have a more grateful heart. The first part of our day was awful because I did NOT keep my mouth shut and I was mean because my expectations weren’t met. A single wilting rose and a card signed or should I say scratched with love, hubby because the pen ran out of ink. That’s the short version but we both apologized. And I promised to like what he planned for the evening. The circus Lol. And because I was a good sport, he promised me a pamper day. That’s what I want and what I always want. Massages, nice brunch, and pedicure. He knows this but tried to think out the box. Jack n the box and the circus…I don’t think I will EVER love that as a “gift” but I will learn to appreciate his efforts more.
Oh Camile…are our husband’s brothers? I’ve had ALOT of those kinds of days…Mother’s Day isn’t the only one. There are LOTS of birthdays and anniversaries thrown in throughout the years. But, I have come to remember that my Paul is an incredible husband in LOTS and LOTS of other ways. Not to mention he’s a wonderful father, too. It helps to make those days pale in comparison. 🙂
I thought of something…maybe if you took slips of paper and wrote all the ways you’d LOVE to be pampered and tossed them in a mason jar, he could have something to pick from for your next Mother’s Day? Hmmmm….why didn’t I think of that 23 years ago!???
Thanks for this blog! I randomly googled when your husband fails morhwr’s day and I’m delighted to hear a Godly perspective.
That’s an awesome idea. I will do that. And my husband too is so awesome in so many other ways. He gets up nightly with our almost 2 year old because I’ve been so sleepy due to baby number two. The awesome list is long! We will get the special days together! I will send use your idea.
Ryan Albright says
Joanne this is amazing! I only wish I had seen the before Mother’s Day this year.
My husband used to be great on Mother’s Day and now there’s no effort what-so-ever. It is disheartening that it has become just another day. It’s not like I expect a string quartet and fancy gifts, but a simple “Hey you’re a pretty god mom” from him would be nice..This year I said something about it instead of just keeping my mouth shut. Didn’t seem to do any damage, he looked at me as though I were speaking some foreign language. Didn’t do me any good either….My kids still want to celebrate their mom on Mother’s Day so I am blessed. For better or for worse I am blessed. Thank you for sharing your story, I will definitely remember this for next year!
Oh girl, bookmark this post for next year. I so understand! But, that’s when we must shine the light on the areas they do bless us, right?
I actually disagree completely when you say hold your tongue! Men are well men and if they don’t know what you expect well then be prepared to be disappointed. After my Tom being like your Paul actually worse I have learned to tell him exactly what I want and what I expect and I still treated myself to a gift (a much needed new bra). Yes I would get disappointed when I would barely even get a “happy mothers day hunny” because not only did I birth three kids and do everything day in and day out with the kids while he works but I also go out of my way to make sure his day is special I’m sure most mom’s do that’s just how we are. So I see nothing wrong before hand telling you’re hunny what you expect for mothers day so that way they are no disappointments once the day comes
I didn’t even get a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’except on the phone from my 3 far from home kids. My 3 that still live at home and my husband just made it like any other day. In fact, dh got quite upset that i wasn’t sure what to have for lunch as I thought that he might be planning something. Nope…nothing! It didn’t help that at least 10 people at church said that this would be my best day ever as everyone would be so thankful for me. That’s because i had a long awaited kidney transplant 2 months ago. I really was disappointed. Today is my birthday and it is more of the same.
Oh no, Lee. I’m sorry. No fun, no fun at all. Did you take that “love language” test? Seriously, it’s helped me ALOT. What’s your hubbies love language—clearly it’s not small gifts, or breakfast in bed. Your hubby sounds like the logical, thinking type. So, let him know what would bless you next year…weeks before Mother’s Day. Maybe months.
P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Deana McLaughlin says
In my almost 39 years of motherhood, this will be my very first one that I won’t have one of my two kids with me. So very grateful that for those other 38 I had at least one of them with me, but sad that this year will be different.
Mother’s Day is such an easy one to get depressed on, right? I don’t know if your kids are parents yet, but I hear it gets even better once they understand.
This was my mother’s day, 2017.
I made my mom and mother in law their mother’s day gifts, complete with a photo of all three grandkids holding signs say love you memaw/neenee. This is ok, I like doing crafts. Then on mother’s day morning I wake up to prepare and cook mother’s day lunch for both our mom’s, a big meal to feed 10 people. Let’s don’t get started on the mess I cleaned after cooking. My mother in law gave me a gorgeous card and my mom gave me an orchid. My husband couldn’t even get the energy to get off his game on his phone for the day or even tell me thank you for doing something for his mom, not even a verbal happy mother’s day.
Oh Deana, I’m so sorry. That’s terribly rough. I’ve had Mother’s Day breakfast’s early on in my marriage for family, too. The trouble is, if your husband isn’t motivated to do anything for his own mother he is probably not going to be motivated to do something for you. Hang in there. Talk to him when you’re not tired or sad or mad or any of the above! Tell him the kitchen is closed next Mother’s Day. You need a year off.
Being clear about what you’d like, giving reminders, and understanding what his love language are– as if that would solved all the problems? It doesn’t. I’ve been married for 21 years, a mom for 14 of those years. I”ve been extremely clear about what I would like. I’d like a day off. A day to just be with my kids and not have to manage every.single.litttle. thing. Apparently that’s too much to ask. I’m not interested in sitting in a restaurant with a cranky toddler and then trying to figure out how to buy groceries with $100 less money for the week. I’m not interested in an expensive gift that indicates he never looked at my Amazon wishlist or even listens to me when I complain about other people’s smelly candles (he bought me smelly candles. They give me migraines.)
Men are fully capable of going outside their comfort zone. I do it all the time. I learned how to fix the lawn mower, how to use a chain saw, how to make bread. It can be done.
Thanks for sharing. Reading your comment makes me sad. I can hear your hurt and discouragement. So sorry your husband isn’t willing to pick up on your love language or your words that share your clear needs. Praying for you this morning. Hoping this Mother’s Day is much better. Blessings friend.
Im happy theres a place to express my broken heart here. My in laws live about 3 1/2 hrs from us & we always get together for Mother’s day. Its also my spouses birthday, every year we celebrate all of it on Mother’s day. And I, of course buy the cards & gifts for his family & him. We are on rocky terms as it is after 15 yrs. The entire trip here was miserable & fighting. I cried the entire time. At one point he pulled over & ordered me to get out & walk. But once in front of his parents, he’s all of a sudden a little nicer to me. Went to church today & came home to exchange gifts. His family always thinks of me. They are so sweet. I didn’t get a card from him, nothing. But I did give him a present for his birthday. So im finally waking up realizing I mean nothing to him. Im just a punching bag for him to verbally abuse. Im not looking forward to the screamfest ride home here in a few minutes. I think im better off alone. My son is the only good thing that he gave me. God bless all you moms out there. Just kniw that even if your spouse treats you like a used wash rag or trash or whatever, your little ones love you & thats all that matters. They will be with you for life, not always the spouse. God does not desire nor does he want to see you this way. Unfortunately the devil enters the spirit of others & takes over. Stay strong & know you’re not alone.
My husband asked me on the Wednesday if Sunday was Mother’s Day (both our mothers are deceased). I replied yes. He continued to say he didn’t bother to get me a gift, and in fact no card. Alright, fine, but did he have to blab it out? And why not a card, and my favourite chocolate bar? – cause he doesn’t know my favourite even after 35 years
He then, proceeded to ask why the daughter would be coming here on Mothers Day, as she is a mother and he figured they would be doing fun stuff……
so when I comment that maybe she wanted to see her mother! It was just like, OH, and he left the room.
He proceeded to make me get up with the cat, 4:45am, the oldest grandchild, 6:15am, and then the youngest, 6:30. Then I was suppose to cook a huge breakfast for 8.
My son in law said no, and he took us out for breakfast. Zero, Zilch from my husband, but again, nothing’s changed in 32 years
I’m so sorry Joanne. My heart hurts for you. I pray you fill those lonely places with the promises from a God who loves you. He never fails.
I’m glad I found this today. I got a Happy Mother’s Day from my husband – that’s it so I guess he at least acknowledged it. My son was very kind as usual. My stepson never acknowledges Mothers Day. His mother was tragically killed in a car accident 19 years ago. He was only 11 months old. My husband has made it clear that Mothers Day is a difficult day for his son. This morning, he even went as far as texting those words, like I’m not aware. I dont make a big deal about Mothers Day or expect anything more than an acknowledgement from my stepson but I dont even get that. It’s as if I’m supposed to dismiss my day because of circumstances that occurred way before I met my husband. I guess it shouldn’t hurt my feelings but it does.
I know its an old post. But i feel very stressed and lonely coz of how i was treated at Mothers day. My husband just wished me and left for work. Then in the evening he came back home with nothinv. When i asked him anreaspn he says he doesnt feel it. Its a waste of money. My 2 year old was watching everything. I was very embarrased. She wouldnt understand but i felt humiliated. He hates these special days just because he needs to gift someone. Bt he says he loves me. I dont kmow anymore. I am still crying. I am very hurt.
Sena Moreland says
Between our church, my husband, our 4 grown kids and friends,
I ended Mother’s day feeling special and very loved.