As moms, we rarely hear the words, “thank you.” Let’s imagine for a moment an employer who informs a new employee of their “thank you” policy: we only say “thank you” and show our appreciation for your hard work one day out of the year. Who would work there? It would have to be the most gratifying (or simple) job in America to sign on knowing that. Even still, people like to hear that they are doing a good job whatever the “job” may be. While not simple, the job of being a mom definitely seems to fit into this category.
Mother’s Day is all about thanking moms. I admit I really look forward to Mother’s Day. It’s a day that I can express to my own mom, with words and gifts, what she means to me. I try to make up for all of those years I never said “thank you” as a child. Instead of “thank you,” I was constantly complaining about all of her rules. She was strict, but looking back at my childhood I am so grateful for that.
I also love being on the receiving end and hearing my children say “thank you mommy.” They wait with bated breath for my reaction as I open the homemade gifts they made for me at school. Their eyes shine when I tear the wrapping paper off the gifts they picked out from their one yearly trip to the store with my husband. Seeing what they chose is always interesting, but the look on their faces is what always means so much more to me. Moms out there, please take a minute and think about that moment.
However, there are hundreds of moms who will wake up on Mother’s Day and will not receive a token of appreciation for being a mom. They are moms just like you and I, working hard to raise their children, trying to do their best to teach them right and wrong but with one big difference, these women and children are homeless and unfortunately, they do not have the simple luxury to celebrate their vast achievements in motherhood.
Every community has family shelters, shelters for women and their children, domestic abuse shelters, the list goes on. Imagine you could create that “thank you” moment for another mom or that moment for a child when he gives his mom a gift and says “thank you.” Well…you can! And, it’s easy!
Ok here we go. You are planning to have a party for you and your girlfriends. Ask them to bring one lip gloss, a nail polish, a small hand lotion, and a small hand sanitizer or any other cute “girly” thing you yourself would want to get in a gift bag. At a convenience store, or your local grocery store, those items I mentioned add up to about $20-$30. You don’t even have to make a special trip – just pick up these items at that week’s grocery run or trip to the pharmacy.
As the host, you will provide small gift bags and little note tags. The tags are for notes of encouragement your guests will write to the mom receiving the gift bag (because as moms who doesn’t like – and deserve – to hear words of encouragement?). On a daily basis I need words of encouragement when handling the trials and tribulations of motherhood! Imagine the effect those kinds words could have on a mother who is struggling with homelessness.
Then you can Google the shelters in your area (unfortunately, you will be surprised at the amount you will have to choose from). Call them up! Let them know what you are doing and ask how many women live there. This is so you know how many bags to make. Obvious, I know, but we are busy moms and I want to lay every detail out so you don’t have to! From experience, I can tell you they will be more than thrilled to get this donation.
You and your friends can assemble the bags at the party while chatting over drinks and appetizers. All while making a difference in the life of another woman. I am sure you have these kinds of get togethers. I know I do. I love hanging out with my girlfriends. Aren’t girlfriends the best? Now we can turn hanging out together into a way to give back, into making a difference in the life of another woman. Book clubs, girl’s nights out, cooking clubs, bridge clubs; you name the occasion, it’s possible to organize this meaningful activity. If you begin to schedule these get togethers now, you can do this in time for Mother’s Day!
Once you’ve created the gift bags, take pictures of them and share what you did with your children. Talk about why you did it and how it made you feel. You can even get your kids involved, making it a yearly tradition with your friends or family.
I’m sorry if this blog entry seems a bit “how to,” but I wanted to drive home the point that this kind of giving activity is so easy yet so impactful. Through my charity, Party In-kindness, my girlfriends and I have assembled Mother’s Day gift bags for our local shelter and it was one of my favorite events of 2014.
Even though it’s one day out of the year, having my family thank me on Mother’s Day shows me that they appreciate the work I do every day nurturing and caring for them. I say “work” not because it’s a chore to me, but because while it is a joy, it is also hard and demanding day to day. Think about the mothers that do not have the opportunity or means to get this reinforcement from their families. Know the power of a “thank you.” Know you have the power to create that moment for another woman. Will you touch another mother’s life?