Mother’s Day is huge. According to card kingpins Hallmark, it’s the 3rd most observed holiday by card sales, and the second biggest for gifts. While chocolates and flowers are great, showing mom, or a special someone, some love and gratitude shouldn’t be a once-a-year ritual.

Mothers are put on a pedestal in our culture, but the underside of this worship can be a lack of recognition of how HARD mothering is. Caring for others’ daily needs is an emotionally, physically and financially draining task that moms repeat day after day – mostly without complaint.

Thanking mom, or another mother figure in your life (and yes, that may include males!), is a gift that gives twice: to you and to them.

Benefits to you: According to positive psychology research, gratitude – a thankful appreciation for the positive things in your life – is strongly associated with lowered depression and anxiety, better sleep quality, and better relationships. Look for things to be grateful for in your life, and mom is probably on that list!

Benefits to them: Who doesn’t love being recognized for their hard work and sacrifice? It builds self-esteem, confidence and pride, and creates a positive behaviour loop where moms feel good about doing good by you.

Easy ways to say “Thanks, mom!” everyday

Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to be huge and socially awkward. Here are four ways you could say thanks to your mother, or mother figure, any day — not just on Mother’s Day.

Give mom a hug!

It boosts immunity, reduces stress, promotes trust and helps reduce depression. (Speaking of depression, if you or someone close to you has given birth recently, please familiarize yourself with symptoms of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a mental illness that can occur during pregnancy and up to one year after childbirth. The Canadian Mental Health Association has more information on the condition here.)

Write a note

No need to roll up your sleeves and wordsmith your way to a masterpiece. Just grab a Post-it and jot down a quick sentiment. Put it in her lunch bag, tack it to her phone, or pop it into an envelope and mail it, even if she’s a continent away.  There’s no sweeter sentiment than a handwritten note. Trust me, it’ll make her day!

Send a text

Near or far, it takes literally seconds to send mom a goofy emoji that says you’re thinking of her famous dance moves??,  home-cooked meals?, fun family memories? and so on. 

Have a conversation

No doubt about it: everyone’s lives are busy, busy, busy. It’s worthwhile to set some time aside to brew a cuppa, put down your phone, and catch up without distractions. Maybe catch a movie together, too. (If you live elsewhere: call or video call your mom!)

If your mom is no longer with you

Mother’s Day can be a difficult time for those who have lost their mom, or the special mom figure in their lives. Why not spend the day honouring her memory? Was mom an avid gardener? Consider spending quiet time with your hands in the earth (if you don’t have a garden, volunteer with a community garden project, or help a friend with their home garden). Did your mother figure live for the movies? Have a personal film-fest in their honour. Or simply break out the photos and reminisce about someone who played such a formative role in your life.

Join the conversation: What are you most grateful to your mom for?

Read more: Just like mom, these women are making a difference. Seeking motherly mentorship? Check them out.

Yuki Hayashi

Author Yuki Hayashi

Yuki Hayashi is a health and fitness writer whose writing has appeared in Women’s Running, Canadian Living, Chatelaine, and other publications. An avid runner and triathlete, she is an Ironman finisher, and enjoys road races ranging from 5K to marathons. She’s a volunteer coach with a youth running group, and in her spare time (what spare time?!) loves cooking, hiking and traveling to outdoor-adventure destinations.

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