By Josh Straub
When it comes to Mother’s Day, I have a lot to celebrate.
There’s my wife, Christi, who’s raising our children. There’s my own mom, who raised me. I also have a stepmom who, with my dad’s passing in November, became a widow. And never could I forget about my mother-in-law.
Count that up and I have not one, not two, not three, but four moms to honor.
If I honored them only on Mother’s Day, my house would be a not-so-fun place to live. My mom would likely abandon me, my stepmom would feel abandoned by me, I wouldn’t be the favorite son-in-law, and I’d need a small loan every May.
Most of us have more than one mom in our lives to honor. Romans 12:10 says we should love another deeply and even “outdo one another in showing honor.” So here are six ways we can honor the mothers in our lives all year long.
1. Acknowledge her sacrifice.
Every mom makes sacrifices. Moms who work outside the home can sacrifice every scrap of free time to work and raise a family. Moms who stay home with their children may sacrifice their careers or passions to do so. Other moms try to rediscover their identity in the empty-nest years.
If you and your wife are in the early years of parenting, she’s likely exhausted. Don’t take her sacrifice for granted. Occasionally send her flowers. Bring home her favorite dessert. Leave notes of appreciation. Take time to discover her love language and love her in it—no strings attached.
For moms in the empty-nest years, don’t forget she was in the trenches with you. Acknowledge her sacrifices in raising you or your spouse by investing in her season of life now. She likely sat through one too many concerts or games of yours, always wearing a smile.
2. Become a student of what she loves.
You should never stop learning about the moms in your life. Ask questions of each of them. Take interest in what she’s interested in. Find out what book she’s reading or what TV show she loves. Have a conversation with her about her life and passions.
Champion projects she has going on. If she’s pouring herself into a volunteer initiative, ask how you can help. If a work project bleeds over outside of work hours, give her the space she needs to get things done.
3. Give her a break.
With our kids about to turn 5 and 3 this summer, I know how much a mom needs a break. Plan regular times when you can help her rejuvenate. Make sure she has opportunities to do something she likes—without the kids. Help her find girlfriends or activities that bring her to life.
If your daughter is a mom now and you live nearby, consider ways you can watch the kids so she and her husband can have a date night. If you don’t live nearby, fly in once a year and give her a vacation.
4. Invite her into your world.
We have group texts set up on our phones with each side of our family so that everyone knows what’s happening. Since none of us lives close, we regularly text pictures of our kids’ activities, tell stories, and keep our moms in the loop.
Make sure you frequently let your mom know about what your kids are doing at school or the latest project at work. Nothing puts a smile on moms’ faces more than being included in your family life, even if you live far away.
5. Begin traditions.
If you live nearby, consider taking your mom out every so often. Start a tradition of taking her somewhere or doing something she loves. Maybe she’d love to go shopping near the holidays, try a new restaurant or, as my mom loves to do, go fishing together.
If you don’t live nearby, begin an annual tradition of traveling to see her and then doing an activity you both love. Establish joint routines that bring you together.
6. Call her.
My mom’s greatest desire is that I connect with her. After all of the years our moms invest in our lives, calling regularly may be the simplest, most thoughtful way we can honor them.
Yes, call them on Mother’s Day, but call them throughout the year. Make sure they hear your voice and you hear theirs on a regular basis.