Nurturing Relationships” shares advice on how to stay connected with loved ones and spend quality time with friends and family. With Mother’s Day approaching, we guide you on ways to demonstrate to your mom how much she means to you.

Mother’s Day is almost here, and it’s the perfect time to thank your mom for being there for you every step of the way. This isn’t just any woman we’re talking about; it’s the one who raised you, fed you, clothed you, bathed you. That’s a lot of nurturing, and it’s high time you showed her the love she deserves.

We spoken with well-known marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman, who has authored many books, including The 5 Love Languages, and Katy Mann, founder of Indy with Kids and mom to several kids, for inspirational tips for expressing your gratitude to your mother — or any mother figure in your life. Read on to learn how to prepare for this special holiday.

Find out what Mom likes

a photo of mother's day: Girl kissing mother

First, you need to figure out what your mom would appreciate for Mother’s Day. “Of the five love languages, one will speak more deeply to your mom,” Chapman says. Love languages, for the uninitiated, are ways that people prefer to be loved. So, for example, some people like gifts while others prefer to spend time with family and friends.

For moms who appreciate quality time, plan an activity you know she’d enjoy. If she likes gifts, ask your father or your mother’s best friend what she might enjoy. If you don’t have much money, even picking a flower can mean a lot.

If your mom prefers words of affirmation, tell her, “Mom, I want to take this day to tell you that I love you and appreciate all that you do.” Remember to focus on specifics. It’s great to tell your mom that she is an amazing mom, but when you focus on something that you specifically appreciate — her honesty, her dedication as a mom, her cooking — it means that much more.

Of the five love languages, one will speak more deeply to your mom.

Dr. Gary Chapman

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The 5 Love Languages

If your mother’s love language is acts of service, ask her what she’d like you do for her. My husband starts preparing a week or two in advance of Mother’s Day thinking about a special meal that he can make to celebrate the occasion. Katy says, “My kids love getting up early and making me a special breakfast. Afterward, everyone scrambles around and cleans up their rooms and gets their spaces tidy, because it’s exactly what I would want them to do.”

Finally, if your mom loves physical touch, give her a hug or pat on the back. “There’s just something about a hug,” Gary says. But be sure to figure out what your mother would like! Some moms might prefer something other than a hug.

a photo of mother's day: Boy and girl bringing mom breakfast in bed

If you live far away, don’t forget flower delivery. That’s what Katy and her sister do. “Then we call and have a video chat so she can show us the flowers and we can tell her how much we appreciate and love her,” she says.

Regardless of whether you know your mom’s love language or not, try to fit as many of these as you can into the day. Gary says, “Speak as many of the five love languages as you can, especially if you don’t know what your mom’s love language is. Then you’ll be sure to make her feel special on Mother’s Day.”

Honor all the mothers in your life 

Depending on your situation, you may have more than one mom to honor on Mother’s Day. For example, my husband was raised by his grandmother but still keeps in contact with his mother.

a photo of mother's day: daughter giving mom an "I love you, Mom" sign

He makes it a priority to send messages to his grandmother, his mother, and another close mother figure on Mother’s Day, and mentions all his mother figures in a post on Facebook. Cole says, “I always like to find new pictures of me with the moms in my life every year so that they can reminisce.”

If you’re married or have a child with your partner, Gary says, “It’s always appropriate to thank your wife for being the mother of your children.” If you are expecting, write a Mother’s Day card from the baby in the womb, Gary suggests.

Katy agrees: “I want my husband to tell me what a great mom I am and how I’m the best partner he could ever imagine raising children with.”

Cole also adds, “If you are in a committed relationship, remember to celebrate your mother-in-law as well since she had a direct impact on your significant other.”

Reach out even when it’s hard 

Even if you don’t have a great relationship with your mom, it’s still worthwhile to reach out. “Love stimulates love,” Chapman says. “Think about something you do appreciate and thank your mom for that. If you can’t think of anything, thank her for giving birth to you.”

Child holding pink gift box

Chapman believes it’s important to take the opportunity to thank your mom now, when you can. “The day is going to come when you may regret if you haven’t thanked her,” he says.

No matter what kind of relationship you have with your mom, it’s good to express your appreciation for her or another mother figure on Mother’s Day. Reaching out to those who have impacted us deeply is important, and they are always deserving of our gratitude. “Every mom, and every individual in general, needs to feel loved,” Chapman says.

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