NickJr.com, May 2000
In the Trenches With Bruce Kluger
A Father's Day Guide to Mother's Day
By Bruce Kluger
Mother’s Day isn’t as easy to celebrate as it
used to be, at least for those who are doing
the honoring. Gone are the days when the
lady of the house was chief cook and bottle-
washer, and therefore expected little more
than, say, a bunch of daisies and a new mop.
On the contrary, today’s mom is everything
from caretaker and business woman to
spouse and schedule-juggler—the ultimate
multi-tasker—and it’s up to us, the dads, to
honor her on this day for all of her various
Paying proper tribute to the mother of your kids is as important to your relationship
with her as remembering your anniversary (and we all know what happens if you
forget that). Here, then, are five indispensable tips to keep in mind every time the
second Sunday in May rolls around.
Old-fashioned still works. Even if she wears DKNY, carries a Day-Timer and can
whip you in hand-ball, the mother of your child stills appreciates good, old-
fashioned romance, and today is your opportunity to hit all the right marks.
Whatever else you have in store for her on this occasion (and there should be a
lot), it must include the holy trinity of romance: breakfast in bed (with destroying the
kitchen), flowers (preferably roses, no less than three) and a card with a softy
sentiment (yours, not Hallmark’s). Starting the day without any of these puts you in
Let the kids speak for themselves. No matter what gift you settle on for her,
appending your child’s name to yours on the gift tag won’t cut the mustard. After all,
your relationship to your wife as co-parent is a completely different animal from
your child’s connection with his/her mother. Separating these sentiments is not
hard. Have your kids pick out their own cards for Mom. Better still, start a week
early and make it into an art project. Even if the child is no older than the milk in
your refrigerator, a lock of hair taped to an index card next to the words “I love you”
is something she’ll keep forever.
Double your workload. Speaking of kids, this is the one day a year where you, as a
dad, are the sole monarch—the omnipotent ruler of the brood who calls all the
shots, wipes all the noses, ties all the shoes. This is not to say that your spouse can’
t parent as she sees fit. But when it comes to those one-thousand-and-one chores
your find yourself doing for your kids on a daily basis, today it’s two-thousand-and-
two. And remember, don’t leave it to your wife to remind you that this is her
nationally mandated day off. Your mantra for the day? “C’mon kids, let’s leave
Look back. Since the birth of your first child, you’ve devoted quite a few man-
hours—and not a small amount of bucks—documenting your parenting adventures
on film and video. In fact, I bet you have a special cabinet in your home devoted
solely to this archives, right? Well, this is where all that work pays off. A nice touch
for Mom on this special day is a visual memory-jogger that reminds her just how
amazing the journey’s been. Put together a nice little picture book of images that
reruns her motherhood story from pregnancy to Christmases to birthday parties
and beyond. Even a slide show with sappy music in the background is OK. Hey, this
is how Kodak has stayed in business all these years. Get into it.
Solitude. Once the gifts have been unwrapped, the cards read and the last sip from
the coffee mug on the bed stand taken, it’s time to start the real Mother’s Day
celebration—without Mom. That’s right. Although many mothers prefer to spend
their special day in the company of those people who, year round, remind her that
parenting is a unique blend of work and pleasure, today it’s up to her whether she
wants to pal around with her husband and kids, or simply stay at home with a good
book. In my household, Mother’s Day follows the same pattern every year: a
morning celebration with Mom, followed by giving her the house to herself for the
whole day. And what does my wife do with a suddenly empty agenda in front of her?
Anything she darn well pleases.
After all, that’s why they call it Mother’s Day.