Mother’s Day might look a little…. different this year, so here’s a quick guide to pampering Mom when you can’t leave the house!
Breakfast in Bed
Just because you’re sheltering in place doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate Mom! Start her day off with a skillet of eggs, bacon and pancakes, though if someone (Mom!) hasn’t been to the store recently, you’ll be missing most of the crucial ingredients. Not a problem! Toast a piece of that 12-grain bread she bought when she was stressing about fiber and decorate a serving tray with a selection of fresh flowers. (Dandelions are fine—her standards are pretty low right now.) Wake Mom up with a joyous attack of giggles and tickles. When Mom shrieks, “Can I have this one day to sleep in? ONE GODDAMN DAY?,” carefully back out of the room. Mom’s only shouting because she’s so surprised!
If all the restaurants weren’t closed, you’d probably be taking Mom out to a fancy brunch, so why not recreate that experience at home? You probably don’t have smoked salmon and shrimp cocktail, because someone (you-know-who) only buys “practical” items on her bi-monthly trips to Costco, so you’ll have to get creative for this “All She Can Eat” extravaganza. Enjoy Mom’s stunned disbelief as she surveys the buffet of canned tuna fish, not-quite-expired cheese sticks, and the banana with the brown spots that’s been sitting on the counter for a few days. And for dessert, how about a random popsicle you dug out from the back of the freezer? If Mom only serves herself a few spoonfuls and eats in silence, that’s because she’s pretending to be at one of those fancy restaurants with really small servings where you have to be super-quiet.
A spa gift certificate used to be your go-to Mother’s Day present, and there’s no reason a quarantine should deprive her of that annual pampering. Once Mom is wrapped in her favorite robe (the one she’s been wearing all the time), escort her to the blanket fort/couch-cushion labyrinth that’s taken over the living room. When she’s made herself comfortable on the pile of stuffed animals and three-day-old socks, place cucumber slices over her eyes, because have you noticed she’s looking a little racoon-ish these days? Cue up the meditation app you downloaded when all this started (only a few days before the free trial expires!) and start massaging her shoulders. If she says something like, “Oh my God, just leave me alone!” maybe everyone can go play Fortnite? For bonus points, fill the bathtub with scented bubbles and a scattering of rose petals. If she pushes you out of the bathroom and locks the door behind you, congratulations! Mom loves it so much that she never wants to leave!
A Grand Old Party
Mother’s Day means honoring all the special ladies in your life, so don’t forget about Grandma! If you can’t see her in person, why not shift the family bonding online? Treat Nana to her very first Zoom “party” with all her grandchildren—that is, if you can co-ordinate with your brother-in-law whose kids have a ridiculously rigid sleep schedule so that everything has to revolve around them. You’ll spend precious hours chatting on both your cellphone and landline as you teach Nana how to “join with video,” so she can be rewarded with grainy, ill-lit shots of her precious grandbabies saying some variation of “Hi.”
In the old days, you might have taken Mom to that cool new tapas bar, but let’s be real: you’re stuck at home, and your options are limited. Mom is still wearing that sad old robe (when’s the last time she washed it?), and after two months together 24/7, you have nothing left to say to each other. Rather than trying to re-kindle a romantic spark, why not give Mom what she really wants? Scrounge through the old DVDs that are stuffed in the back of the family room/office/basement cabinet and surprise Mom with an old-school classic that reminds her of who she used to be, before children and perimenopause stole what was left of her youth. Pour her a glass of wine (if someone hasn’t drunk it all yet!) and settle in for a few hours of Titanic or the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. Don’t forget to prop her head up with a pillow when she falls asleep halfway through, and keep the volume down when you spend the next three hours on Fortnite so you can beat your kid the next time you all play.