Moms make the world go-’round and are so much a part of the fabric of how things get done when it comes to family and business, it can be easy to overlook just what it takes to “mom” in today’s world. They’re everywhere, moms. They’re in the pickup line at school, they’re at the pharmacy picking up the antibiotics for the baby’s ear infection, they’re in the office, juggling work responsibilities and getting their kid to soccer practice.

With Mother’s Day coming up in just a few more days (yes, this is your reminder, yes, you’re welcome…), it’s a great time to reflect on what all moms today do. While motherhood may be one of the oldest professions, there are challenges unique to women who are mothering today. 

In recent studies about mothers in the United States, women are more likely today to become moms than there were ten years ago. This is especially true of women who hold advanced degrees. What this could moving forward is more mothers in specialized university, science, and technical settings. Women are now also becoming moms for the first time in later life, which has raised the average age in which women become moms in this country to 26 years old. 

And check out this statistic: researchers have found that while moms are spending more time on paid work, they’re also spending more time on child care. On average, moms are spending about 26 hours a week on paid work and 14 hours a week on caring for their kids, a huge jump from data from the 1960s, which showed moms spending 9 hours a week on paid work and 10 hours a week on child care.

 What does this all mean for the moms of today? At the very least, it means moms probably have less time on their hands than in previous generations, and they may be juggling a whole lot more.

Which means honoring moms on Mother’s Day can be all the sweeter. 

Getting creative for Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Take a look at these ideas to celebrate the moms in your life.

  1. Make it from the heart. When kids are little and budgets are tight, moms often receive all kinds of sentimental crafts with handprints and watercolor portraits. Don’t forget to add meaningful words to those offerings. Make a list of the things you appreciate about the mom in your life. Be specific about how her influence and love have inspired, changed, and supported you. Words linger. Make yours count.
  2. Think out of the box. The mom in your life, whether your own mom or the mom of your kids, may be longing for something apart from the flowery cards and “Best Mom” coffee mugs. What if you planned a hike for Mother’s Day, and took care of packing up the snacks and water bottles? What if you arranged for a massage therapist to come to the house and you took off with the kids for a couple of hours? Consider what makes the mom in your life feel appreciated and rested, and make plans accordingly.
  3. Encourage the mom in your life about what a good job she is doing. Moms worry if they’re doing a good job raising their kids. They worry is their kids will be happy. They worry if other people think they’re a good mom. And there’s a whole world out there that is all too quick to point out where moms fall short. Make sure that the moms in your life know that what they are doing matters and that they are doing it well. 
  4. Clean up the kids, get them in cute outfits, get that portrait made, and give it to Mom. Let’s face it, moms are usually the ones who have to fight, scrap, beg, plead, and boss everyone around to get a good picture of the family. Take care of it yourself this year and surprise her with a new portrait of her kiddos, no stress on her part required. 

Here’s the good news: you’ve got some time to get these ideas in motion and to honor and celebrate the women in your life who mother you and your kids. And don’t forget to celebrate those women who are mentors and who bring that ‘mom’ love to your life, women in your small group at church, and women who volunteer in your kid’s youth group. We need the spiritual moms in our lives, and letting them know that you see them and appreciate all they do is another way to make Mother’s Day all the more special.

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.

Proverbs 31:28–29

Julie Lyles Carr is a best-selling author, podcaster, and entrepreneur living in Austin, Texas, with her husband Mike Carr. They have eight kids, two unfriendly cats, and an antique dachshund.