What Moms REALLY Want

Today’s post is by Ann Timm, who co-hosts Ziglar Family’s Thrive membership community and the 7-Day Family Challenge with her husband Mark.  She also blogs over at Keeper of the Homeand  — for her most important work — is mom to six awesome teenagers!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mamas and grandmas out there!

I hope you’re giving yourself permission to relax and be spoiled by your family for the occasion. I actually like to extend the “mom time” for a few days beyond Sunday — and why not?!

Maybe I should start a “Mother’s Week” movement and get the government to make it official, like Anna Jarvis did for Mother’s Day in 1914!

It’s actually an interesting story…

Even though there are many ancient traditions that could be considered precursors to Mother’s Day, our modern American version didn’t become an official US holiday until 1914, six years after Anna Jarvis came up with the idea as a way to honor the sacrifices that mothers make for their children.

She gained financial support from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker in 1908, and she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebrations at both her Methodist church in West Virginia and at an event in one of Wanamaker’s stores that was attended by thousands.

She continued her efforts to have the day added to our national calendar, insisting that current American holidays were biased toward male achievements.

During the course of the next four years, many states, towns, and churches adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and finally in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Here’s where it gets really interesting:

After the holiday became official, florists, card companies, and other merchants capitalized on the popularity of the day, and by 1920, Anna had become completely disgusted with the commercialization of the holiday she’d worked so hard to have recognized.

She began to speak out against Mother’s Day, urging people to stop buying the flowers, cards, and gifts. She even filed lawsuits against groups that used the name “Mother’s Day” and actively lobbied the US government to have it removed from the American holiday calendar!

Can you imagine? I think we’re so used to our holidays being overly commercialized now that I don’t believe anyone would dream of taking up a fight against it!

I do love getting flowers and small tokens from the kids, but I also totally get her frustration; I am not a big fan of the commercialization of a day that is really all about showing the moms and mother-figures in our lives how very much they mean to us, and to accept that love for ourselves as well.

So, in unity with Anna Jarvis, I’d like to share just a few ways that I, along with some special women in my life, appreciate Mother’s Day, and maybe you do, too.

(Dads and kids who are reading this, take note!)

 A couple of years ago, I was sitting down with my sweet grandma, Gigi, who at 93 is as sharp as ever and happy to share her thoughts and opinions. I’m pretty much in awe of her, and listening to her share her sweet memories is a treasured gift in and of itself.

According to Gigi, “the thing I liked most were the times when I had breakfast served to me in bed. Even when my children were grown, I still got breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. And I always had coffee served to me in bed from my husband, not just on Mother’s Day.”

Other gifts that stand out from over the years for Gigi also included going out for a dinner so she didn’t have to cook! (Can’t we all relate to that?)

Also, she loves to have help in her garden planting, weeding, and mulching, especially as this has become more difficult over the years for her. She really loves gardening, so this gift of time and service is always special to her.

My own mother, now referred to as ‘Granny’, remembers that her favorite Mother’s Days were those when my big sister and I made her breakfast, and then the family gathered to spend quality time together around the table at her own grandmother’s house.

My mother-in-law is quick each spring to request that her children and grandchildren mulch her yard for Mother’s Day. Brilliant woman! Her whole yard is mulched in an hour and then she serves a meal and has her entire family there to celebrate.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree(s) when it comes to how I prefer to spend Mother’s Day.

I don’t need anything fancy; I just want to have a relaxing and love-filled day with my hubs and kids.

Ok, so I won’t turn away breakfast in bed!

But I love going to church as a family, and then just being together with no agenda, no to-do list waiting, and nobody looking at the time with an eye toward the next event.

I don’t even mind making the dinner, as long as we are all around the table to enjoy it together! (And as long as they take care of the clean-up!)

I think it’s pretty clear that for most women, we’re pretty easy to please on Mother’s Day. Give us the gift of your time and presence, your love, and maybe a few loving ‘acts of service’ and we’re good to go!

Question: How is Mother’s Day celebrated in your family? If you’re a mom, what do you love most about the day?  Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear your story! 



  1. Tricia Prues May 13, 2017 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, Ann.

    This year I decided I wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day differently than my husband and I have the past few years.

    Every year, Jeremy’s family gathers at his aunt and uncle’s house for Mother’s Day. The hubbies bring food to treat the mamas. I’ve always gone out of obligation more than anything. Don’t get me wrong, I love his family, but it’s not incredibly enjoyable for me. I want to spend Mother’s Day with my kids, but the kids are running around or being passed around. I try to socialize with the adults but my daughter isn’t quite old enough to run around with the big kids by herself. So we’re being pulled back and forth, so I don’t end up getting to enjoy time with my kids OR the adults.

    This year I asked my husband if we could opt out of the party and do something with our kids; just the four of us. He said that was fine with him. We agreed that we would visit his Grandma sometime this upcoming week. We’re going to pick up food in downtown Cincinnati, eat outside, and play at a local park with the kids. I’m so excited to do this. If we enjoy it, this may become our new tradition.

    I’m not saying we’ll never go back to Jeremy’s aunt and uncle’s; just maybe not during this season in our lives. Or maybe we’ll alternate years. Who knows. But I’m glad we’re doing our own thing instead of fulfilling obligations.

    Thanks again, Ann. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day. <3

  2. Philippine from Peterborough May 13, 2017 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    A yearly tradition for our family for Mother’s Day is a treasured gift that lasts and lasts – a perennial or a shrub from our local garden center. Last year I received a BEAUTIFUL Russian Lilac shrub. I love flowers, at the same time, a bouquet of flowers only lasts for about a week and then it is composted. This is why we celebrate every year with a perennial or a shrub. Also, it is so wonderful to enjoy the yearly growth of the plants and shrubs and remember when they were given to me.

  3. Amy May 14, 2017 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Okay so I love this article. I Really wish I could get breakfast in bed. I’ve been trying for years. But it hasn’t happened yet. I’m gonna make sure they each get a copy of this article. Maybe it will get them moving for next year. ?

  4. Naz May 17, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Mothers day …..gift….Every year my children ask me the same question. After thinking about it, I decided I’d give them my real answer: What do I want for Mother’s Day? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your kids around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your kids, your furbabies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to me. I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and
    admire my work. Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind.
    In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want you to spend your money making a better life for you and your family, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day, I say “nothing “because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year. I want you. If you feel the same way, feel free to copy and
    paste… I did! I think most all moms feel the same!! I love this!!

    • Kim Foster Roberts May 21, 2017 at 10:42 am - Reply

      I couldn’t have said it any better!!

  5. Dorian Castillo May 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Great!!! I hope more husbands and kids read this. It is not about the expensive gifts. It’s about the appreciation feeling. Just know that they notice what you do for them…. out of pure love.

  6. Glenn June 10, 2017 at 8:52 am - Reply

    I love this article. My in-laws live in a country club community and always ask us to eat brunch at the club. That’s no fun for me. I don’t want to spend my day watching other families pile their plates with buffet food. I don’t want gifts either. I just want to be with my family. So every Mother’s Day we go to our favorite casual breakfast place near the beach and then head right to the beach after. The kids love it and so do my husband and I. We have a fantastic day. After the beach, my in-laws come over for a BBQ so we can spend time with them too. This way everyone is happy and had a great day!

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