Mother's Day is approaching with the speed and implacability of a bus driven by Sandra Bullock in a '90s thriller, and you know what that means: scrambling to find a non-floral present before Sunday and wondering why your relationship with your mom doesn't resemble Lorelai and Rory Gimore's. Mother-daughter relationships have their ups and downs, and if you're currently stuck in a down, there are plenty of ways to get closer to your mom throughout the year — not just on the second Sunday in May.
Believe it or not, Mother's Day has a surprisingly complex history behind it. According to National Geographic, the holiday's early stages began in the mid-1800's, when Ann Reeves Jarvis arranged Mother's Day work clubs to tend to wounded Civil War soliders and improve infant mortality rates. Jarvis eventually died in 1905, and her daughter, Anna Jarvis, organized the first unofficial Mother's Day as a "thank offering" from sons and daughters to their mothers. One letter-writing campaign and several years later, the holiday was so widely celebrated that then-president Woodrow Wilson officially declared the second Sunday in every May to be Mother's Day.
However, the holiday took a direction Anna hadn't anticipated: commercialization. For the rest of her life, she repeatedly spoke out against the idea of giving gifts on the holiday, and she appeared to resent Mother's Day marketing by businesses and charities, which she felt exploited her idea.
So this Mother's Day, maybe take a page out of Anna Jarvis' book and focus on your relationship with your mother rather than the gift-giving. However, true change takes work — the kind you have to put in all year. Here are nine ways to stay close to your mom year-round.
1. Plan Mother-Daughter Days
It's hard to maintain a relationship when you never see each other, or if you only see your mom in a group setting. Try planning mother-daughter days at least once a month. The activity can be whatever you want — manicures, hiking, Pat Benatar concerts — but stick to one rule: Moms and daughters only. That means no dads, siblings, significant others, or any other people-shaped distractions.
2. Buy Her Little Gifts
Getting a random gift in the mail, no matter how tiny, elicits the warm fuzzies like nothing else. Pay back your mom for all those care packages she sent you in college by buying her small things that make you think of her.
3. Form New Memories
Don't just rely on talking about the glory days of family vacations and mommy-daughter pedicures. You may be an adult, but you can totally still do fun things with your mom. This time around, you won't be anywhere near as self-conscious as you were in middle school.
4. Call Her First
If you feel like you and your mom don't talk enough, don't wait for her to call or text first. Make the first move, even if you wind up playing phone tag for the next 12 months.
5. Make A Shared Playlist
If you can't physically hang out with your mom, technology makes it ridiculously easy to keep in touch. Make a shared playlist for music you think each other would enjoy.
6. Talk Things Out
You know that saying about never going to bed angry? You don't have to resolve fights immediately, but definitely don't let them fester. Whether it's ten days or ten years later, it'll come out eventually, and the longer you wait, the worse the fight will be.
7. Recognize Her Moods (And Yours)
Everyone has their bad moods, and unfortunately, we tend to let them out around the people we love. Cut your mom some slack when she's having a bad day, and don't take out your own anger on her.
8. Ask For Advice
If there's anything moms love doing, it's giving (sometimes unasked-for) advice. She may not be the one you want to turn to for composing an Instagram caption, but your mom has been around the block a few times — after all, she raised you. Ask her for life advice next time you have a big decision; even if you don't use it, she'll appreciate being asked.
9. Swap Stories
Speaking of life experience, your mom may have had a more interesting youth than you'd think. Exhibit A: My librarian mother might seem pretty average upon first glance, but after college, she went on a yearlong solo backpacking trip around North America. Needless to say, she has some amazing stories to tell, and chances are your mom does, too. Instead of talking about your childhood or the present, quiz her about the past. Who knows? She might have been waiting until you were older to tell you the fun stuff.