Mother-child relationships can be complicated and, accordingly, Mother's Day can be complicated for a lot of people. Some people may have lost their mom; others may not be in contact with their moms for a variety of reasons. Some people don't particularly care about the day. Others do. If you know your friend may be struggling this Mother's Day, you can show them you care with these gift ideas. From tokens of appreciation to taking emotional labor off their hands for the day, you can show your friend that you're thinking of them on a day that you know is pretty tough for them.
It's important to know that just because somebody doesn't have their mother in their life doesn't mean they're unhappy about it. If they've made the choice to become estranged because of toxic behavior, for instance, it's entirely possible that they're happier and more stable in a mom-free environment. And on the flip side, even if you know that Mother's Day is an emotional day for them, that doesn't necessarily mean that gifts or extra attention will make them feel better; it's helpful to ask in advance if there's anything you can do for your friend, and accept it if there isn't. But if you know your friend well enough to know that Mother's Day is emotionally difficult — or really, any 'family' holiday in general — and they're receptive to being cared for, there are plenty of things you can do to show them that you're there for them.
1. A Pampering Session
Many people who celebrate Mother's Day do something "traditional" that Sunday to celebrate, from going out for brunch to getting manicures. If this is a ritual that your friend would like to continue to take part in, offer to do it together. If being in a space with lots of mothers sounds more emotionally taxing, you can make this a private event — offer to make brunch at home, or go on a hike.
2. A Friendship Token
Avocado Friendship Necklace, $18.65, Etsy
Now is the time to emphasize the importance of other relationships beyond family in your friend's life, and to show that you love 'em like blood. Get them something to commemorate the occasion. If they're a jewelry wearer, a paired necklace is a cute idea, and Etsy has lots of fun options, including avocado pendants and customizable long-distance bar necklaces printed with your separate countries or states. Paired with a card that says you're thinking of them, it can be a very thoughtful gesture.
3. A Multiplayer Adventure From The Couch
Werewolf Deck, $12.99, Werewolf
Sometimes it's hard to leave the house when everybody is cramming into restaurants with their moms or setting out on family outings. If that's the case with your friend, make staying in something fun: get some mates and bunch of games you can play together, whether on a console or on a table. The PS4 has a collection of fun competitive games, from ridiculous racing to sports and solving murders. Or raid your local board game store for good group options: Pandemic is the classic collaboration (with an excellent Cthulhu version for Lovecraft fans), while things like Avalon and Werewolf pit you against each other in faintly outlandish scenarios.
4. A Tribute To Their Flourishing
Embroidery Hoop, $45.00, Etsy
They are doing great. You want to support that. So get them something that shows off how awesome they are, whether it's a plant, a card, a poster, a dumb inside joke, or an elaborate piece of art that says You Are Amazing, Remember That. Or a billboard. You know, you do you.
5. A Physical Challenge
Tough Mudder 5K Obstacle Course, $67.00, Tough Mudder
Get out into the world for a physical distraction. Take an exercise class together, sign up for a marathon training series, commit to something ridiculous like mud obstacle course Tough Mudder, or just go paint-balling or run around the nearest amusement park. Getting the endorphin high of a bit of activity is a mood-booster and an excellent use of the day itself. If your friend group is a little less high energy, pick out a restorative yoga class or make a plan to go for a walk. Go with something they'd enjoy.
6. The Gift Of A Day Off
Sometimes the best thing to do for somebody who's having a hard time is by taking over practical duties, so they have space to sit and wallow. If they have kids, help out with babysitting for part of the day; take the dog for a walk; do the dishes and make them food; take over duties with errands. Ask what's needed and do it without fuss. You're not looking for praise or approval, you're clearing the way for them to relax a bit.