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Looking a gift flower in the mouth?

By Shelah Miner

Yesterday after church I engaged in the weekly ritual of lugging the church bag from the van to the kitchen and unloading it. In the bottom, underneath empty sippy cups, a wet dress and pair of underpants (don’t ask), a half-eaten bag of animal crackers, and a bracelet made out of pasta with a piece of cardstock proclaiming “I Love You, Mom” attached, I found a single red rose.

A single, very crushed, very wilted red rose.

Two hours earlier, it had been a beautiful flower, one of more than a hundred bestowed on the women of our ward for Mother’s Day,  a gift given with the best of intentions. But after I left the chapel with an impatient toddler, my big kids loaded the scattered droppings of our overflow seats on top of the rose, and I threw the bag into the oven of our van. By the time the flower reached my kitchen, it had seen better days.

The cynic in me wondered how many of those red roses actually made it to a vase at the end of the three-hour block. My guess is not many of them.

So was the gift given in vain? Was the thought alone enough to count? Should I feel (even more) mother-guilt that I wasn’t a good steward of the rose?

With the possible exception of Pinewood Derby car judging and stake basketball tournament schedules, there may be nothing on a local church level more loaded and controversial than what gift to buy  the women of the ward for Mother’s Day. Although every ward I’ve ever been in has given out the standard rose or carnation to each woman over the age of 18, I’ve heard that some wards give chocolate (where can I find me a ward like that?), others give bookmarks, others have a full meal for the women during Relief Society (we actually did get lunch for the Visiting Teaching Workshop today, but I think that may have had something to do with finding Primary substitutes once instead of twice). Other wards give no gifts at all. After all, the Relief Society presidency in most wards doesn’t hand out aftershave or golf tees on Father’s Day.

Further complicating the issue is whether to give the gift to all women or just to women who are mothers. Either way, people may get offended. No matter what the guys handing out the gifts in the back of the chapel are giving, someone will probably be offended.

Keeping this in mind, I have a few questions:

1) What (if anything) did your ward give out for Mother’s Day?

2) What have you appreciated receiving and what have you resented or otherwise not appreciated (either this year or in the past)?

3) What do you wish you could get at church on Mother’s Day? –fantasizing encouraged!

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About Shelah Miner

(Co-Editor-in-Chief) teaches English at BYU and French at a Salt Lake City middle school. She has an addiction to her Audible account, hates making dinner, and embraces the chaos of life with a husband, six kids, a dog, a lizard and four rabbits.

71 thoughts on “Looking a gift flower in the mouth?”

  1. For the record I believe the fathers/men deserve something too- We do giant cookies. I vote food all around. My past to wards do a little spread for the women (like yesterday lemonade, fruit, and eclairs and Yw gave us cookies) I like that alot! Nothing says I love you to me like food!

    Please don't make me stand up- it's so hideously awkward and the pass out thing– torture!

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  2. Our ward did roses also, which surprisingly I've never received one in the past. We are new to this ward, so maybe this is tradition. Only time will tell.

    I prefer chocolate, but I'd rather receive it in RS because otherwise my kids start begging me for it. Can't a mother have her own chocolate at least once a year and not be guilted into sharing? Seriously!

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  3. I hate standing up, too, Leslie!

    This year they gave out flowers that a sister in the ward had her 2nd grade class make for us out of fabric, wire and glue (knowing that, they were very cute). The flowers were "planted" in a cup of M&Ms and even though I really don't like peanut M&Ms and some other women got plain ones, I finished them before Sunday school was over.

    They had all women over the age of 18 stand up for them.

    But don't worry, just to make sure they didn't offend anyone, they didn't give Mother's day talks, just like last year : .

    Last year or the year before they gave out one of those booklets with inspirational stories about mothers. I'm sure I have it here somewhere, but I only glanced at the inside, I think.

    Another year we received four-packs of marigolds or something. I have a brown thumb, so it didn't last too long.

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  4. My ward gave out long-stemmed roses. We have Sacrament Meeting last, so it wasn't hard to get mine home in one piece. They had tons of extras, so I actually got to take home four roses instead of one.

    Usually they give out petunia plants, and I hate petunias. Our ward in Idaho gave out chocolate. Good chocolate from a local candy store owned by a church member. That was the best gift ever! Each woman got a small box with four chocolates.

    Most of my ward have usually given flowers or plants. The chocolate was the best, and that's what I'd like to receive every year!

    Our current ward has the women make homemade cinnamon rolls for the men on Father's Day. I think they are getting the better end of the deal!

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  5. 1 – This year we received Gospel Art picture books.

    2 – I never liked getting a plant. The Mary Engelbright notebooks made me laugh, as did the magneted shopping list decorated with chili peppers. I liked getting a CD of not cheesy Sunday music. This year I especially appreciated that my husband had no meetings

    3 – I'd like there to be no church on mother's day. But since there is church, I'd like for my husband to be excused from sitting on the stand just that one day.

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  6. Our primary children got up to sing the obligatory "I often go walking" and then the "grandmother" song. Well, all except for my DS, who refused to go up and sing (for the record, he has sung for the past 6 mother's days. Rather than getting less nervous as he's aged, he's gotten MORE leery of singing in public. So there he sat next to me while all his peers mumbled through the song.) As the kids went up on the stand, they each picked up a fake blue rose or carnation, which they held while they sang, and then bestowed upon their mother when they sat down again.

    So no fake blue flower for me. But that's okay, cause I'n not sure what I'd have done with it anyway. As cool as Blue is…

    In my previous ward, we typically got the carnation on mother's day. But for Father's Day, we brought in loads of different kinds of pie. And we served it to the men. As far as i am aware, this was a big hit every year. I wish we could have had pie for Mother's Day too…but Leslie's ward tradition sounds lovely too. Fruit, lemonade and eclairs (as long as they were chocolate) would be fabbo!

    I actually had a really lovely mother's day. I think it was the best one ever, fake blue flower notwithstanding. ♥

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  7. When I went to my car this morning I found the long-stemmed red carnation we'd been given at the end of sacrament meeting across the back window behind the back seat. When I returned inside with it my daughter said she had been looking for that when it was time to set the table for dinner. I was glad it wasn't too wilted and it has perked up in the Propel bottle by now. This is the first year it hasn't broken in two by the end of the day. I used to do this whole analytical thought process about what Mother's Day at church should be and what it is. But now, I don't expect to receive anything that day. When I minimize expectation, the thought behind whether is offered, at home or at church, is nice. In reality, the pay for motherhood isn't going to come from a celebratory earthly source anyway, unless it is in the form of a two-hour nap.

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  8. A past ward of mine did the seminary movie CDs a few years. My favorite year was when they gave us the book "True to the Faith."

    And I've never been in a ward where they asked people to stand up. Yesterday they had some music after Sacrament meeting and everyone stayed seated while the young men got up and then handed out a piece of chocolate (in the shape of flowers) and a little card with scriptures about parents on it. The past ward had members of the bishopric standing at the doors out of the chapel and handed things out as everyone left.

    The same past ward also handed out king-sized candy bars to the men on Father's Day.

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  9. 1. I don't know, but I think they gave out the Gospel Art books.

    2. I appreciate any effort…would like the same effort extended for Father's Day.

    3. I got what I wanted this year and every year on Mother's Day…to stay home from church without any flack. There was some guilt, but that was overshadowed by the relaxation.

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  10. I read somewhere about a ward who gave all the money that would have been spent on flowers (the crushed/wilted ones that never quite make it home) to a shelter for battered women and children. It solves a lot of issues, IMO, does some good, and shifts the focus from just mothers to womanhood more generally.

    I LOVE this idea and hope to advocate for it one day in Ward Council.

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  11. I've never been in a ward that hasn't had the women 18 and over stand up. I guess young men don't recognize a woman over 18 in a crowd;).

    I'm glad we didn't get flowers this year, at least not the live kind. We got a tootsie roll pop, which formed the center of a cutout paper flower. I liked it. I can't kill it.

    The R.S. waited until third hour to pass out ice cream puffs. They came and got the Primary/Nursery/YW teachers to come get one after the meetings were over. My primary kids brought me a bookmark with a picture of themselves on one side and their answers to questions like, "My mom is prettiest when.." or "My mom is happiest when…" on the other side. That was enlightening to say the least.

    One ward we lived in, the bishop grew up in Switzerland, gave out chocolate on Mother's Day and Father's Day. The giant size bar. Even sharing it with my kids, there was plenty for me! Loved it.

    For all of that, I think my perfect Mother's Day would be only one talk about motherhood, and the dads singing with the primary kids. I wouldn't need any kind of gift other than that.

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  12. I was actually a little shocked yesterday when my ward didn't hand out anything. Maybe I'll pretend it was something like Red (#11) said. But if so, I wish they would have told us, and I think that would have been great.
    Every ward I have been in (except this dumb one right now) has given out something to every woman 18 and over– definitely the right move, in my opinion.
    In my last ward (married BYU students) we got candy once, a potted plant the next, a flower the next. And the men got candy (Pop Rocks) on Father's Day. I think getting chocolate would be divine.

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  13. 1) What we received: a cookie in a bag along with a magnet quote about moms – all made and packaged by one woman in the ward who is unlucky enough to be the wife of a Bishopric counselor (I suggested to my husband that on Father's Day, that counselor is the one who should create all the gifts for the men)

    2) I would seriously be fine without any gift. Nothing to throw away when I get home. 😉

    3) What would I love? A Sunday that's a Women's Conference-like experience. That, or a day off of church.

    My mouth is still gaping – a STICK OF GUM for everyone on Mother's Day?? Huh?

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  14. 1. Mint Truffles. Gotta love our bishopric. They must ask their wives for input.

    2. I was a little upset yesterday morning because the husband woke up sick (the real kind). i had to get the program done, and then teach his Sunday School lesson. But once I got to church (I went alone) I was able to actually pay attention and love the talks and no longer felt resentful. I decided that was the best gift he could give me – staying home with the napping kid so I can actually feel uplifted from church meetings. 🙂

    3. In my fantasy, the house is clean. Even if it was cleaned by me the day before, I don't care how it was done, I just want it clean next year. I'll even help cook if that's what it takes.

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  15. At the ward I visited yesterday, it was fast & testimony meeting. The bishop's counselor who was conducting mentioned in the announcements that there were tables in the gym behind the chapel with flowers to be picked up by those who wanted them. A good solution in a way.

    One girl who had recently lost a baby bore testimony of how the Holy Ghost had carried her through that experience. Another pretty girl with barbed wire tattooed around her arm appeared to be there alone with her very active little boy. People all around her were helping her– catching him when he ran too far down the aisle, sharing their children's toys with him, setting him on their laps. Mothers are awesome.

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  16. Janssen– A stick of gum?????? Is there a halitosis problem in your ward or something? That's almost insulting!

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  17. In our ward we got three little Kara's truffles in a cellophane bag, tied with ribbon–same as last year. I'd rather get chocolates than a flower, because the flower never seems to make it home alive. The clincher in our ward is that, for the past several years, the High Priests' group leader has handed off the bags of chocolates to the YW pres so she could be in charge of passing them out. The thought was that the young women could pass them out to the sisters. But that has meant that the YW leaders have been in charge, so women are passing out chocolates to other women–one more chore for the women to do. This year I'm in the YW presidency, and when the YW pres mentioned last Sunday that we needed to come up with a plan for passing out the chocolates, I said, "And we are in charge of this why?" Some of the other leaders, who have been involved in the passing-out-chocolates debacle of former years, refused to take part again in this tradition and said the HP group leader should have the young men do it. Our YW pres conceded defeat and said she'd ask the High Priests group leader to take care of it. But yesterday, there was the YW pres, handing out chocolates, along with several of the young women. I asked the YW pres what happened, and she said, "I just decided to take care of it myself because I don't care and I didn't think it was that big of a deal." I felt like a loser.

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  18. Our ward tradition is that the youth make necklaces of fun-sized candy bars wrapped in plastic wrap with ribbon tied between each candy bar and give them to all women over 18. Plenty of candy to share with kids, if necessary.

    In addition to that, this year the Priesthood organized a dinner after the block of meetings. The ward provided a ham and dessert and all the men were responsible for bringing a side dish (with specific instructions that their wife was to have no part in the preparation of said side dish). My husband impressed me: he made dinner rolls from scratch for the first time ever and they turned out pretty good too.

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  19. Oh, and incidentally, my oldest dd rescued the rose from the countertop and put it in a vase of water. It perked up a bit, until I found my 4 yo sitting in the middle of the kitchen table, plunging it up and down in the vase like a toilet plunger. Later, my 2 yo pulled off petals and tossed them all over the table. No wonder my DH keeps putting off my pleas to buy nice furniture…

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  20. I absolutely love the idea that Red shared. What better way to spend the money? I think flowers, food, whatever, is trivial, and I've never been one to really appreciate it.

    The best, however, is when I was in the singles' ward; the leaders insisted that we pass something out to all the sisters. I made my opinion be known (in ward council) that it was completely ridiculous to do this in a singles' ward. After all, wouldn't they prefer us not to be mothers at that time in our lives?

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  21. We got a tiny marigold. I always kill the flowers. In sunday school I managed to knock it over and spill lots of dirt on the floor.

    One time we got chocolate…I'd like some truffles.

    Those other ideas of books and CDs sound good. I wonder how expensive that would be though. But not the little book about mothers—that shouts regifting to my mom (if she was alive) the next year. Stick of gum. wow, someone either forgot or was stingy. I'd rather get nothing than a stick of gum…sounds like a penny tip for bad restaurant service.

    I like eclairs during relief society, but the guys should have gotten them, not the RS presidency.

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  22. We didn't have to do the standing up thing either, but they passed out the treat at the end of sacrament meeting and it just ended up being awkward because they gave us chocolate-covered strawberries. So there I was with one hand full of chocolate that started melting juice down my arm (it was in a paper cup, but it still started melting) and the other hand full of my my primary bag and the kids' bookbag while trying to herd my kids to class. Not fun. Plus I don't like treats that I have to eat right away. I'd rather get something like a wrapped chocolate or a flower at the end of meetings that I can take home. Personally I wish someone would just make a decree that we shouldn't hand out stuff like that at church. We aren't allowed to in primary, why not extend that to everyone?

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  23. 1. My ward gave out two plants after the block: a marigold and a tomato. Both would be classified as "starts" aka tiny. Oh and a fun sized candy bar. This year's gift seemed a little lame. I know it's the thought that counts but is there seriously that little budget or are the guys just horrible shoppers? We didn't have to stand up, which I am grateful for. I hate that attention (I'm single & child-free.) Passing out gifts in the chapel seems a little irreverent, anyway, when we are asked to take even our chatting to the foyer.

    2. Last year we got bigger plants – impatiens I think. Mine came back this year which I thought was great.

    3. I think a food item is always nice and I like what the previous commenters said about passing it out later so moms don't have to share with their kids. Plants are nice if you like to plant them (or have a mother who will do it for you, like me) but not everyone does. It would be nice if the YW and Primary classes could be covered by the guys so the women could all meet together and listen to a great RS lesson (emphasis on great!)

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  24. (WHAT!? on the stick of gum. Really?)

    My top 3 choices:

    1) chocolate (always)
    2) no early meetings for the husband
    3) Sacrament meeting only – (no classes + no teaching)

    I got chocolate once in my mom's ward when I was visiting. *See's* chocolate- yum! My fave. (And I agree about handing it out NOT in front of the children. They just.can't.help.themselves… "pleease, mommy?")
    I got a pamphlet once about mothers. (Yawn)
    Mostly, though, it's been flowers. I do not like to stand and be recognized- count me as one of those.

    In our current ward we get a flower ready for planting. Some of those flowers are pretty, some not. Some I have planted, some have died the yellow/brown death on my back porch from lack of care. The thing that touches me about these flowers is that they are donated by a woman in our ward who owns a garden center. She has four children and her husband is a non-member. She has very premature high blood pressure problems after living a very healthy, athletic, active life. She is still pretty young and now must wear oxygen wherever she goes. Which is extremely hard for her as she never wants to draw attention to herself or be the center of attention. She is humble and sincere. She is the first one with a phone call thanking you for a great lesson, talk, testimony, special musical number, for the service you thought no one noticed… And always at a time when you really needed to hear it. She pulls up to the church saturday night with her children to unload those mother's day flowers and is uncomfortable being thanked for *her* gift and service. She is amazing. So, when I am handed the token flower on mother's day, my thoughts of ME on mother's day are quickly erased and I think of this sweet, sweet mother giving what she can to the other women in the ward.

    (All in all, mother's day recognition in the ward is kind of weird. But, damned if you do and damned if you don't. Poor men.)

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  25. Our ward is the best – my husband is the bishop. We get a cute little bag with 4 Kara chocolate truffles, handed out to all women over 18 as they leave the chapel by the cute Priests in our ward. Perfect!

    We're planning on doing Dad's Root Beer for the Dads on Father's Day.

    (I do like Red's idea though)

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  26. We get a single carnation. Even if the carnation does survive to the house, what in the world are you going to do with a single carnation, stick in in your husband's lapel?
    The treat for me would be to not have to lug the church bag and administrate YW and teach a lesson and chase my Sunbeam back to primary…. The practice of having the youth do primary so all the women can go to RS makes me shudder. Always a bad experience and really not fair to the youth.

    So, I am with Jenny. Hold only Sacrament Meeting. If you have to, pass out a chocolate on the way out. The biggest treat in the world would be to have a full Sunday with our families. No PEC, BYC, etc… No lugging the church bag or teaching a lesson, or chasing your Sunbeam back to Primary while you are trying to teach a lesson. I love Mother's Day, but only because of what my husband and my children do in our own home, so why not just skip it at church? Let's face it, there are lots of people who really don't look forward to Mother's Day. I was one of them for several years of infertility treatments. It's just too emotionally charged to include it on a public level in church. Leave it at home where it belongs and let us out early so we can get there. Even people who don't like Mother's Day would love a short church day.

    One more thing. If you do something for the moms, do something for the dads. Dads get shafted sometimes, don't they?

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  27. Loved the comment about not having to share Mother's Day chocolate with the kids! LOL. We get flowers, which is nice, but chocolate (luncheon!?! sweet!) would be awesome.

    Also, our ward does treats for Father's Day. We've done fudge, cookies, brownies. . .

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  28. We got a long stemmed rose (mine was orange)–I managed to revive it when we got home. And a Milky Way bar–my husband informed the children that it was all mine and they only commented on how lucky I was. The young men handed them out to all women over 18. They have done this every year we have been in this ward–the men usually get a giant candy bar handed out by the young women I think. I do love getting the roses and the chocolate isn't bad either.

    The talks on the other hand…

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  29. The Aaronic priesthood get staged at all of the exits right before the meetings are over and they hand every women a flower. Usually they are perennials in 4 inch pots. This year they were all different varieties. I already had some of what my children retrieved for me (I was in nursery and they were super anxious that I have one) so when we passed a young man in the hall with a tray I just switched mine right away. A little tacky yeah, but I figured why not. My sister-in-law across the cul-de-sac has a little flower bed in front that has them all from years past since they are always perennials. I try to do this but I am not as successful as she is in the gardening department. I like that it is after the meetings and they give them to every woman not just mothers. After all we all have mother's hearts. I have in the past gotten one for sisters that I knew hadn't attended and delivered them. The standing up thing is a little weird but I remember it from my childhood.

    Usually they don't do anything for the Dads. Once they gave them a candy bar. Once they gave them a little booklet with short stories and thoughts but my favorite was orchestrated by the primary. They asked all the children questions about their dad's and dads in general and recorded their answers and printed them up in booklet form. It was sweet and so funny. That was when our ward was new and full of young families now everyone's story is a little more complicated and so it would be more difficult to do with out possibly hurting feelings. One year we had 52 baby blessings. Lots and lots of young little families.

    I like Mothers Day Sunday, but there have been times when I just end up feeling keenly all the things I am not. I think in our ward the Bishopric is very conscious of all of the varied situations that women and motheres find themselves in. So it is easier to enjoy.

    There was one youth speaker that talked about her mom. Then they had another speaker that talked about the women in Christ's life and what we can learn from them. Last there was a talk about what how that speakers relationship with their own mother helped to cultivate and shape their relationship with Christ.

    The children sang. One of my children will never go up and sing (too much anxiety) so he just snuggled on my lap. He is six going on seven so that was some big snuggles. Especially when the two almost three year old decided he needed to get a few of those hugs. Then I had the six going on seven and the two going on three all on my lap. It was nice, except for a little posturing and look or two past back and fourth of "my mommy not your mommy." My husband came so that was also nice. Pretty good Sunday.

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  30. The talks yesterday in my ward were phenomenal. Probably some of the best Mother's Day talks I have ever heard. One on how mothering is hard, but then she gave examples of women in the scriptures who do hard things, too. And I missed part of the other one, but the part I heard was when he read the names of all the adult women in the ward, inviting us to think about each one and who they were as a person.

    Done wrong, that could have been cheesy. But it was done right, and it felt reverent, like he was honoring all the women in the ward. I loved it.

    We got a picture of the First Presidency. And I know (DH is in the bishopric) that money was a huge concern this year. There wasn't enough to do some of the things that have been done in the past. We were not at stick-of-gum level (really? truly? why do anything at all if you're passing out single sticks of gum), but money was tight enough that they did not feel they could do something more. I know it was a subject of discussion, though.

    Personally, I hope that the stellar quality of the talks made up for it if anyone didn't want the picture (and I don't have one, so I did want it).

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  31. In our ward, the elders quorum takes care of it, so the EQ President's wife did it this year. It was a floral bookmark. I think she was going for practical instead of the rose like in the OP.

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  32. Keeping this in mind, I have a few questions:

    1) A gladiola or some dumb plant. The bishop also listed off all the people who should STAND (!!!) to receive one and if I hadn't had my IVF daughter 4 years ago I wouldn't have been included on his "list".

    2) I hate giving stupid gifts to moms (waste of money, our gifts are always the easiest thing they can think of–but for they guys on Father's Day in RS they demanded that huge cookies be made by scratch with THEIR recipe (cookie & frosting) ONLY and the color they choose and it must be wrapped the way we are told — and then have them delivered to the church an hour before church. I called BS and refused to participate. Women are always conned into busting their butts for stuff like this when guys get a free pass. I say abolish all gifts. It really bugs me.

    3) Husband has no meetings (he was gone 6 am – 2 pm yesterday) or no classes after sacrament . . . actually I'm leaning towards skipping church every mother's day — if not for DD singing during sacrament I might do that. I HATE MOTHER"S DAY TALKS.

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  33. This is something I actually thought of yesterday as everyone in our ward was handed a box of chocolates. The chocolates were great, except for the people who are allergic and can't eat chocolate. I happen to be one of those, and my husband was happy to eat them all before Sunday School started.

    Although this was not the perfect gift for me, I appreciated the thought that went into it. My thought wasn't, "I can't believe they didn't remember that some people just can't have chocolate". Rather, "If I were in their shoes, what would I get for the sisters?" I don't think there is a gift out there that everyone would appreciate or use. (i.e. some people live in apartments, so can't plant flowers, some are on strict diets, some roses never make it home, etc.)

    But, for me I was grateful that the men in the ward planned in advance to do something they thought the sisters would appreciate. I really don't care what they do, or if they do anything at all. I appreciate the thought, but don't expect anything special. And, my husband was happy about the chocolates. 🙂

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  34. I've never seen the "standing up" routine and I've never been in a ward where the gift wasn't offered to every woman over 18. My ward does potted geraniums which I find sweet.

    But honestly, Mother's Day is so hard. Can't we just skip it? I'd like to go out of town AND sluff church next year.

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  35. For the last three or four years, our ward has given out See’s chocolates in a little cellophane bag with a ribbon. I love it. It seems like before that we would usually get a little four pack of flowers to plant. Mine never survived. The chocolates are lots better. My kids always want me to share. It gives them good practice with their fractions. My 6 year old told me that since there were three pieces and we have six people in our family, I cut them all in half then everyone could have a piece. Great math skills, but I’m selfish. I’ve earned those three pieces of chocolate and I’m eating them all. 🙂

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  36. We used to get potted flowers – didn't really love them.

    Then a few years ago we started getting a small box of cummings chocolates – LOVED IT – my husband was in the bishopric so he brought home leftovers for my kids, so I didn't have to share.

    New bishop this year so we got mini-cupcakes. I gave mine to my husband. Nice gift but i was saving my calories for dinner with my mom.

    I used to really loathe mother's day for many of the same reasons others have listed. But I came to the realization that I could be miserable or I could find some joy in the occasion. Now I love the day. As the RS president I know many have a hard time with different aspects of Mother's Day. My heart feels their sadness. The secret for me was realizing that I wanted my kids to know how much I loved being their mom – because I do!

    As my kids have gotten older, I miss the macaroni necklaces and handprints with sappy poems. But I must say that I now get the best present ever. My kids give me one day of labor. Last year we ripped out overgrown bushes – this year, we will be washing windows and base boards. They are poor married college students and the sacrifice of coming to help me means as much as any card they gave me.

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  37. I think having the YM pass out whatever it was would be a wonderful way to help them honor womanhood! And having the YW do Father's Day would help them honor the priesthood!
    I'd love a VTing Conference kind of opportunity — all the sisters together for RS. Maybe have the YM pass the chocolates out there (no small people begging!).
    It was neat to see how anxious our HP group leader was to keep this all a secret (even from his sweetheart!)Sorry it ended up on the YW shoulders, but I know there was a lot of love that went into the gathering :-).
    I loved what our Primary sent home! A bag full of M&Ms and questions like "What is your favorite thing to do with me?" "If you could take me on a vacation, where would we go?" — it included a door hanger asking for privacy, the idea being that you & your little one could have a "Mommy & Me" date and pick M&Ms out, then answer the questions about each other. It was a wonderful time spent!
    The cutest thing was that their first instruction was to let mom have a half hour nap! Love it!

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  38. I hate to go against the flow, but I LOVE Mother's Day. In my opinion, one of the best reasons to pay tithing is to see those cute kids up there singing their hearts out. Our ward gave out a little book with a Ghiradelli chocolate. The YM handed them out (they did ask us to stand but it doesn't bother me). I loved seeing those young men serving (even in a small way) the ladies of the ward. We had a couple of great talks on the subject "The example of righteous women". The talks were great, the chocolate delicious. They cancelled all extra meetings (welfare, ward council etc). It seemed like everyone went out of their way to make the day a celebration of women and I enjoyed it all. Granted, I am a mother and haven't had the pain of sitting there feeling left out but it seems noble to me to commemorate the divinity within each woman, the miracle of birth (even our own!) and the love Heavenly Father has for each daughter.

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  39. For the past two years my husband has been in charge of the "gift". With my encouragement, it is chocolate candy bars (Hershey, 'cause I can buy them at Costco!) This year I even helped him out by wrapping them in pretty scrapbook paper! 🙂
    That said, neither he nor I think anything should be handed out, but our bishopric has different ideas. I think tithing money could be better spent. And if women aren't getting the recognition they need in their homes, this isn't going to solve the problem. Plus, I think that when even non-moms get the "gift", it kind of negates the idea that we are honoring mothers and the sacrifices they make for their children.
    I do like it when the primary has the children answer questions about their parents. We did this for both M-day and F-day when I was the PPres. It's cute to see their innocent but so hilarious answers!

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  40. I mentioned in a comment for another post that our ward donates money to a local women's shelter in lieu of flowers/chocolate/etc. I appreciate it very much.

    My own children made me pretty corsages–thank you Michaels!

    In our sacrament meeting, primary children from each class, read a little note to/about their mothers. It was very sweet. Each child mentioned something about food, which made everyone laugh.

    My fantasy is that the men take over primary for that Sunday and I get to go to Relief Society.

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  41. At our ward all the women were together for the 3rd hour (Relief Socitey) but even the women in YW and Primary were able to go. The men took over for us.

    The first half of the block was a lesson/skit on VT :/ Not my favorite. As they finished they said there were roses to take from a vase and a bag of chocolate candy.
    I took my rose and actually put it in a vase when I got home! I love it and ate all the candy.

    The second half of the block the men had set up ice cream sundaes and had a slide show going of pictures of all the women/YW/girls that had been taken over the past year or 2.

    I thought that was really sweet and I like how they give out treats! It's fun

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  42. I do have to say I also got a really nice hand written thank you note form the stk presidency. Acknowledging the sacrifice our family makes for my husband to serve in his calling which takes him out of our home alot. It expressed appreciation for all that I did as a mother. It was a very thoughtful thing.

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  43. I love the littlest kids — I loved watching them even when I was single, even pre-kids, and probably will even when I'm 99!
    Watching their faces as they try to remember the words, or as they try to get their mom's attention, or as they elbow each other to sing louder! 🙂
    Primary Choristers (and all the wonderful people who serve in Primary) should get a free pass to the Celestial Kingdom!

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  44. My ward did small potted plants which I liked. I've received chocolate multiple times which I also like and I think a carnation or two.

    My last ward they always gave out stuff to the men on father's day as well (usually candy).

    Every ward I have been in has given stuff to everyone 18 and over.

    My ds asked me yesterday why there wasn't a brother's day.

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  45. I love Mothers' Day! The primary kids singing, the cheesy gifts (chocolate, flowers, seeds, booklets, potted plants–whatever), the scrawled out cards in crayon, the "Happy Mothers' Day" wishes shouted out to you at every turn. What I liked BEST this year was both sides of my family coming over for dessert, a LONG nap, and best of all was a love note from my husband written earlier in the week–just on a post it, completely impromptu, and completely adorable.

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  46. 1) This ward gives potted dahlias (oh, a geranium last year). They are okay, fine . . . whatever, y'know?. They also give all the primary and YW leaders a day off the last hour of church, so every woman can be in RS, eating yummy stuff and enjoying a nice lesson. I love that.

    2) My old ward gave huge chocolate-bottomed cookies. They rocked. I would love something like that every year. I have never received something really dumb, though when I was childless and got a plant without a blossom, there was a little bit of "ouch" in my heart.

    3) Chocolate is always welcome. Also, in our ward, while the RS gets boughten items, for Father's Day, the women bake them banana bread. I'd love for there to be a Father's Day budget so we didn't have one more thing to do. Is that selfish?

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  47. My ward always gives See's candy. I like that.

    Also, the mutual kids and men take over the primary classes so all the women can go to Relief Society.

    =)

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  48. King-sized candy bars for all the women over 18 yesterday; the men get the same thing on Father's Day. I also love that the men in our ward all help out in Primary so the women can go to Relief Society. This year the YW were invited, too.

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  49. some of you are pretty nice, appreciative and polite about receiving a gift on mother's day. but some of you are a bunch of whiny, self-centered harpies (right, delete my comment)

    it's sad that christine began her comment with "I hate to go against the flow, but I LOVE Mother’s Day" because she actually loves it and a lot of you are crapping all over it.

    -I like Mothers Day Sunday, but there have been times when I just end up feeling keenly all the things I am not.
    -I think that when even non-moms get the “gift”, it kind of negates the idea that we are honoring mothers and the sacrifices they make for their children.

    yikes. Counseling time perhaps?

    [If motherhood is going to make me this paranoid or selfish I don't want it!]

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  50. Food. We received delicious chocolate covered pretzels from asugarrush.com. YUM! Totally worth standing for. Every ward I've been in has all the women over 18 stand up… or all the women in RS. Either way – I like it that way.

    I actually had my hubby find another pkg of the pretzels to give to my friend who doesn't have children and wasn't there on Sunday.

    You can never go wrong with food – and as for the flowers.. the kids love to play with them.

    Oh…and our RS put on a little "brunch" (rolls, cake and strawberries) for the RS hour…short lesson and then gabbing. The YW took over the callings so all the ladies could be there. I have to say…we should do all Sundays like this. 😉

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  51. I enjoyed Mother's Day, even though I didn't get to go to church.(sick family) I have no idea what our ward does, since this is our first MD here. I have no problem letting moms get recognition. We do a really hard job! I do feel compassion and sympathy for those who cannot have children for whatever reason, but when they are telling thier stories, I am not sitting listening to them, resenting them for, say, pursuing that career that they have, or being able to spend extra time with their husband, or being able to travel. (these are rather broad examples)I don't judge them for not being able to bear children, but it seems to be perfectly ok for people to judge me for being able to have children. How is that right?

    Whether or not you have kids, you have a mother, who sacrificed to get you here. Honor her, and if you had a crappy mom, honor your grandmother, or your aunts, or your mother in law.

    I know it hurts. It hurt the day after I had a miscarriage when my sweet little neice came over for Christmas dinner and was totally excited about the baby and I had to tell her there wasn't going to be one. It hurt again when we planned baby #4, and I got pregnant immediatly and then for no reason lost it. But I don't broadcast this to everyone. Women with no kids look at me and envy my four healthy, wonderful kids. But I had to fight to get them here, and I refuse to feel guilty, or ashamed because I have been blessed. I have had enough tradgedy in my life to understand and feel compassion for others. But I will be danged if I will feel guilty for being a mother.

    I feel sad for those who look at Mother's day as a reason to stay home from church. I am very sad that you have been hurt, or had a bad mom, or aren't recognized for the sacrifices you make. Please accept my love and hugs.

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  52. Amazing– you know, I feel like motherhood has made me a lot more aware of how selfish I am. I've actually got a blog post/essay working around in my brain about how its been highlighted in the last nine years. Sometimes I feel like a two-year-old, trying to carve out a space, a moment, or even a piece of chocolate that's all MINE!!! I never would have realized how much I crave my own space, my own time to think, or my own plate of food until I'd been forced to share that kind of stuff all the time.

    Queen Scarlett– We did that once. Did I admit that? Our first anniversary fell on a Sunday. We were BYU students and went to brunch at Sundance. It felt totally indulgent and a little bit guilty but I'll never forget it.

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  53. I love Mother's Day! Mostly because my husband makes sure that I spend the day doing what I want (I spent all but the three hours at church in bed. So excellent.) To me it's just a great day to be mellow, get cute cards from the kids and make sure my husband is my slave.

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  54. 2. The ward I grew up in had the coolest tradition. At the end of sacrament meeting all of the men ages 12 and up gathered on the stand to sing Love at Home. Every year. Every young and old man. It was awesome. There wasn't a tremendous amount of musical talent in that ward, but I LOVED that tradition…so much so that I instigated it in our previous ward.

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  55. oh! I forgot to mention that sacrament ended a full 20 minutes early, and the bishop stood up and announced that we'd just move the bell schedule back 20 minutes, so that church would be over at 3:40 instead of 4pm. So that was nice! 🙂

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  56. I think tithing money could be better spent.

    Doesn't budget money work in a way that you either use it or lose it?

    I am not a huge fan of the gift thing, but dang, these men have a hard job to try not to offend. I keep thinking that if we as women were all a little stronger about it all, they might not be so worried about it all. The energy, time and money and stressful meetings trying to figure it all out? Whew.

    But in the end, I see it as an honest gesture to show support of womanhood. I agree with whoever said that they are in a rock/hard place situation.

    The talks in the ward I attended were awesome. The power of true doctrine, imo, can cover so much of the pain that people can feel on days like this. Inadequate? It's ok, that's part of the plan and the Savior is there. Lonely? The Savior understands. Childless? You really can make a difference in children's lives. And in others' as well. And the promises are real.

    I had a bunch of second witness experiences — quotes I had found for our bulletin were used repeatedly throughout the talks. The messages were real and filled with the Spirit. The bishopric clearly cared about being inclusive, and there was no way people could leave not feeling uplifted. Doctrine brings power, and power changes hearts.

    We put so much burden on each other with this, though. I was sweating bullets about the bulletin. I know people were struggling with the idea of giving talks.

    The power of righteous women in general is so amazing…why don't we celebrate that more within ourselves? It makes me sad. Mother's Day is a day we could all celebrate the plan and the critical role of women in that plan. Not just mothers, but women. I know some people get bent out of shape about it, but I really feel the power of the principles of us all being 'mother of all living' by birthright and covenant, that we have significant work to do, and that that should makes us jump for joy at the privilege and blessings that come from service and covenants.

    end rant. ahem.

    And I hear people wanting to leave church, but I'm at the other end of the spectrum. Let me stay for all the meetings. Maybe even an extra class. I love church. Does that make me weird?

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  57. The crushed flower in the bottom of the bag is a good example of the point of Mother's Day. It is touching that the gesture was made, however the real value of being a mother lies in that flower forgotten because the actions it means to acknowledge are so indispensable. The day is intended to give credit for self sacrificing service that goes unnoticed and is taken for granted. It is the flower that was crushed not the appreciation.

    Our ward gave out silk carnations with a little bag of dove bite sized chocolates. I liked that. A silk flower doesn't induce guilt because it needs no care.

    I don't like getting booklets with talks about mothers. I remember a ward where men received big hunk candy bars on Father's Day.

    I would like to hear women talk about mothering and have the opportunity to show appreciation for their mothers.

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  58. While I understand why many of you feel that when non-moms receive a gift or token of acknowledgement, it negates the sacrifices of mothers. But I don't think we should think of ourselves as women as either moms or non-moms. In every ward I've been in, there have been many "non-moms" who have mothered my children in such positive ways. Shouldn't their contributions be honored and respected. After all, for many of those women not having children has been a sorrow and burden to them. Can't we recognize the motherhood divinity within each woman regardless of her mother status on earth? Easpecially given our doctrine that all women, if true and faithful will not be denied any blessings in the eternities?

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  59. I'm single, no kids. I think it is so very, very silly when I am given anything (once I came home from being out of town and actually found a plant on my doorstep?!). It's not Woman's Day. I'm no more a mother than any of the men in the ward. With that said, I recognize there are those who struggle with infertility, those who do mother other people's children, etc. and there needs to be some sensitivity shown. I like the idea of the Bishopric simply wishing all the mothers a Happy Mother's Day from the pulpit. I also like the idea of having the flowers/chocolate/whatever sitting outside in the foyer on a table, so women can choose whether they want to take one.

    If the women get something, so should the men. All of them over the age of 18, if that's how they do it with the women.

    And finally, I'm surprised at how many mothers do not like Mother's Day (?!) It's a day to recognize and celebrate your mother, not a day to feel sorry for yourself. Be glad you're a mother, let your children celebrate you, and go with it.

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  60. M&M – yes, that is how tithing money works, but seeing the needs that many of the wards in my stake have, I just think there are better ways to spend the money.

    Amazing Chick- Therapy, eh?

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  61. I was talking to my DIL about this post last night, and we were surprised at how many moms expressed a dislike for Mother's Day. Both of us really look forward to it, and I think that m&m got it right with her notion that we should concentrate on all of us being the mother of all living. Because, after all, it's true.

    And it is seriously hard to believe that grown women would begrudge each other a flower or candy bar based upon whether or not they have actually borne children. On the upside, I have never seen this kind of feeling expressed either overtly or subtly in any of the wards I have attended. So hopefully, such attitudes reflect the exception rather than the rule.

    I think it's good for husbands and children to take time out once a year and shower attention and affection upon the woman in their lives. And I like Father's Day too for the same reason. Whether started by a card company or not, the outcome has been positive in my family. Very much so.

    And aren't we all just a little too "pc" these days? Our lives all take different paths. I have lupus, and the fact is that I can't go in the sun. Never allowing my husband and children to talk about their tropical-type trips wouldn't make me any less able to go in the sun, nor would it improve my feeling about not being able to catch some rays. It is what it is. And I choose to be happy they can do it and interested in hearing about it.

    Life: A lot of the happiness lies in the way you frame it for yourself. Having said that, I do think it's very important for speakers to be sensitive and inclusive in the "mother of all living" sense.

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  62. so, hello backlash, huh?

    I would just like to say I wish every MD talk were based on Sis. Dew's womanhood/we are all mother's talk. That talk is amazing!! Instead I got an old guy tell a 20 minute story about the importance of giving a dozen rozes to your mother??!!

    And yes I do choose happiness every day of my life, regardless of my infertility or struggles with my two foster children or my husband working 60+ hrs a week & going to MBA night school and being EQP and then not getting anything for mother's day (no card, no breakfast, no dinner, no flower, etc.) of course I choose happiness.

    That doesn't mean I don't have the right to express my feelings that the flowers are stupid (half of the moms I know kill them before or after they're planted) and a waste of budget money. I would much prefer a donation to a women's shelter. Let's do something to help others instead of trite acts of generosity.

    ps Sue, really? you're comparing not being able to go into the sun with infertility – or not being able to fulfill the measure of our creation? wow. just wow.

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  63. m&m:
    "The power of righteous women in general is so amazing…why don’t we celebrate that more within ourselves? It makes me sad. Mother’s Day is a day we could all celebrate the plan and the critical role of women in that plan. Not just mothers, but women."

    The problem is, by in large the MANY wards I've lived in have not done this.

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  64. Hey Kristine – You're right, you should be able to express your opinion. It might be better if we didn't personally attack people though. I love this blog and would hate for it to become one where people are afraid to express their opinions or a place that makes them feel bad about themselves.

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