How to Really Love a Mom in Your Life
When I was in college, I acquired the nickname “Mama Megs,” and it stuck. Maybe it was my propensity for oldest-child-syndrome-bossiness or my ability to wrangle up a gaggle of silly ladies as we tried to get out the door for dinner. Perhaps it was my love of baking, or maybe even my height (I’m tall, so if you need a hug that makes you feel like a tiny, tiny child, bring it in). Whatever the case, this weird little nickname has become a sort of prophetic word over my life.
It seems like children—often not my own— are always in my pathway. And sometimes those “children” are much older and much more grown and look a lot like adults, but are nonetheless in needed of some mama-love. My point is that long before I was chasing my own determined and spunky little girl, I had a mama heart, as many of us do. It took me a long time to accept it, but when I did, I started to see and recognize the mama hearts all around me that had shaped and loved me into the person I am today.
So I want to take the Mother’s Day celebrating a step beyond a 24-hour shower of flowers and gifts, a step beyond my own flesh-and-blood mama. I want to love the ladies who have been mothers when I needed it most, in the ways they receive it best. Join me?
Find the moms in your life
These mama hearts are everywhere. We just need to stop and look for them, wait for their faces to play back in our memories of learning to tie our shoes, fixing up a scraped knee, conquering long division. These women were warriors for us when we were children and advocates for the frightfully awkward middle-school versions of ourselves. They were and are the strong, supportive roots we can now run back to when we need a pick me up, a reality check, an unrestrained hug. Sometimes, these women are our biological mothers. And sometimes they’re our teachers, our next-door neighbors, our co-workers, or our distant relatives. Sometimes these women have their own unruly bunch, and sometimes they’re childless, but still willing to use their mothering strengths for anyone in their path.
Consider their love language
It’s time to celebrate these women, and actually do it right. Yes, “it’s the thought that counts” is a nice little adage, but if we really want these mama figures in our lives to feel as special as they are, then we need to think about the way they receive love. If you haven’t heard of ‘love languages’ before, you can send a big internet xo to Gary Chapman* for his work in developing five pretty awesome love languages to get us started. I’m willing to bet that at least one of these languages will resonate with her and how she feels loved.
Words of Affirmation
Does your mama get all teary-eyed whenever she reads a Hallmark card or seem to really light up when someone encourages or compliments her? She probably feels pretty dang loved by words that affirm. Send her a card written in your own words or pause and think of five things you love about her and speak them over her in person.
Does your mama figure seem to shine every time you schedule a coffee date or take the trek home to see her? Odds are, quality time is really big for this lady. Carve out a chunk of time to just be with this mama—nothing special needs to be on the docket, just the two of you together.
Is your mama the gal who loves the glee of wrapping and opening gifts? Or actually enjoys the new-car smell? Maybe she’s the lady that has a purse for every outfit? She’s probably pretty loved-on when you find a gift that really fits her interests and personality.
Acts of Service
Is your mama figure shocked to smiles when the dishes are done or her house is cleaned or someone does a simple favor for her? Then acts of service are most likely her jam, and it’s time to take a trip to her house with sponge and bucket in hand and do a little serving to show your love.
Is your mama the foot rub, back rub, and long hug type of lady? Then she might just be in the market for a gift card to a spa, a pedicure for two, a long hug and shoulder rub as you tell her just how much she’s done for you.
* the five love languages listed above come from Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts and he gets all the credit; however the descriptions and examples that follow are my own interpretations.
Love on them!
By the time you’re reading this, it’s probably Mother’s Day or beyond, but that doesn’t need to stop you from sending that text, buying that unique gift, or scheduling a time to sit down over steamy coffee and soak up the seconds with that mama figure you love so much. I’m glad we have Mother’s Day to remind us, but seriously--why not let this love for mamas trickle into the rest of the week, month, or even year? I think it’s beyond worth it to put in the time: to think of the mamas and mama-hearts who have impacted our lives and care for them they way we all want to be loved and appreciated—in our own unique language of love.