Mother’s Day – Why Just Once a Year?

Any of you who know this author must realize how difficult it is for me to write a column about Mother’s Day. This time last year I not only had just lost my mother but certainly felt no reason for a celebration. However, the passage of a year’s worth of holidays and momentous occasions which were observed for the first time in my life without the presence of my mother have caused me to reevaluate certain subjects in a slightly different manner. One of these is the fact that out of the 365 days a year that most mothers continue to tend to the needs of their family, make time for the occasional favors as needed by their friends, and in all honestly make very little time for themselves, this country feels the necessity to only recognize them ONE day each year.

Those of us who were caregivers to mothers whom we have now lost need not close our eyes to “her” special day. Because she is no longer with us is no cause to ignore the many years that she tended to our needs and gave us her unconditional love. We were blessed with her presence and now are similarly blessed with her memories. This Sunday will hold a very special meaning to many of us.

To those who are caregiving to their mothers, you are blessed to still have her in the present. Yes, it is a gift – that’s why it’s called the “present.” Many of you are in such different stages in the caregiving process and likewise many of your mothers are in varying stages of failure. Regardless of your situation, you all have one very important thing in common. You still have “TIME”. Time to share special memories with her. Time to right the wrongs from the past. Time to overcome the hard feelings that dwell within both of you. Time to perhaps realize that underlying all of the negative feelings and resentments lies a deep emotion that not even you realized was there. It’s a thing called “love.”

For those of you who have mothers that are strong and healthy, you may be carrying anger or hurt. Life is short. A mother shared with me yesterday that her daughter was 52 years old and that she was 72 years old. She sadly told me that her daughter was still angry with her. She had know idea why her daughter was upset with her as her daughter could not express herself. How vitally important it is for us to open ourselves up with communication, expression, forgiveness and compassion. I thought to myself that her daughter was living a pained, unfulfilled life carrying this burden with her for so many years. In this particular situation for many of us, it is up to us to take responsibility for where we are in the moment.. it’s time to stop blaming others and if the situation cannot be healed, it is up to us to make the necessary change in our own life to heal our resentments and hu rt and move onward. I takes a lot of hard, deep inner work to heal and this is something many are either afraid of or unwilling to do. But to live a life of authenticity, no one is responsible but ourselves for healing and opening our hearts to love.

To those of you who are blessed with healthy, functioning mothers – please realize that she has journeyed down a long path for many years with no manual to follow nor any “how to” book to read in order to be prolific at her responsibilities. She didn’t just allot one day a year to be there for you. More than likely for many years she was a 24/7 mother to you. Take whatever time is left with her to make sure every day is “her” day. After all, without her, where would YOU be.

Gail R. Mitchell
Copyright Nov 2005

Quotes For Mothers And Grandmothers

A mother is one who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.

There is only one pretty child in the world and every mother has it.
Chinese Proverb

Though motherhood is the most important of all professions – requiring more knowledge than any other department in human affairs – there was no preparation for this office.
E. Cady Stanton

Who takes the child by the hand, takes the mother by the heart.
Danish Proverb

Your child will never grow to old to hear you say “I love you”.
Dr. J. Dargatz

Becoming a grandmother is really quite strange. There is your baby sitting with a baby of her own in her arms.

A grandmother is a little girl who suddenly shows up one day with a touch of grey in her hair.

Just about time when a woman thinks her work is done, she becomes a grandmother.
E. H. Dreschnack

Submitted by Karen Schaefer & Shelley Purdon.
Editors of CanGO Quarterly Magazine: Canadian Geriatric Opportunities in Therapeutic Recreation 11675-Cory Dr., Delta, BC Canada V4E 1T4 Email: CanGO provides publications and educational workshops for recreation professionals working with seniors living in long term care homes and attending senior centres.

View more on long distance caregiving by Shelly & Karen.

Suggestions For Ideas

Whether you mother lives in her own home, with you, in a facility or long distance from you, there are many things you can do to
make this a special day for her.

Plan to spend loving, compassionate, quality time with her. Engage her in discussions about her past and where she is now in this stage of her life.

If mom has accessibility to the Internet, send email greetings, photos, stories and links to special sites for her to view.

Prepare her favorite meal using her recipe instead of taking her out to dinner. Yet if she is dreaming of eating out…go for it!!
Make a special toast to her. Let her know all the past is in the past and that forgiveness prevails.

Plan an outing, a picnic, and take a drive to a special place. If your mom is not able to go for a drive, create it wherever she resides and reminisce of wonderful things in the past.

If no other relatives are near by, invite some of your mother’s friends who might be feeling lonely and have a special celebration and gathering for all to enjoy.

If your mom isn’t allergic to animals, arrange to bring a pet that she loves to visit her. Check with the facility if she is in one if this is permitted or perhaps you can create this outside the actual building. You can arrange to take pets out from the local shelter.

Sit together and go through photo albums.

Bring a small tape player or CD player and play music…your mom’s favorite. You can even bring a nice aromatherapy lotion and massage her neck, hands and feet…this is especially good if she is in a facility. The healing power of touch is so important.

Watch one of her favorite movies…rent a TV/VCR if she is in a facility so that you can spend time viewing it alone with her in her room.

Bring fresh flowers or a potted plant with blossoms, especially if she is in a facility. If she has her own garden, perhaps you can get out there and do some planting together.

Let your imagination and creative juices flow to give your mom the truly special day she deserves. If you are harboring resentment, guilt or even anger towards her, now is the time to let go, forgive, heal and open to love . Love, after all is the greatest gift we can give from ourselves.

Copyrighted by Gail R. Mitchell 05/03/2000

I wrote the following more than two decades ago, but it bears repeating and is still true today (of all the mothers whom I know) as it was when I wrote it to my own mother!! Love, Dorothy


What defines a mother? A mother is the one who comes IN when the rest of the world goes OUT. She is always there when others forsake – Her confidence never wans – Her love never fails.

She endures the pain of our BIRTH, as well as the pain of our DEVELOPMENT. She gives HER life away in pursuit of OUR fulfillment. Her joy is found in that we have found joy – She shares in our laughter and grieves in our heartaches.

God’s Love reflects itself through her eyes, and manifests itself through her very life. A mother is everything to her family, and her family is everything to her. When we grow older and depart from her HOME, we live forever in the corridors of her HEART.

She’s the one who remains with us throughout our entire lives – We take a part of her with us wherever we go, and she keeps a part of us inside of herself forever.

She sacrifices her utmost for our welfare and well-being —

And it is through HER life, most ultimately, that we truly find what OUR OWN is all about!!

Little did I know just how prophetic these words would be in my own mother’s last days…….Take time to tell your mother how much you love her, if she is still living — tell your kids how much you love them, even though they are supposed to tell you that!! If your children or mother is gone, thank God for the time you shared with them and ask Him to tell them of your unending love. And, should you not have ever had kids, find some itty bitty creature on the street and hug it/her/him – They will think you are nuts, but they will feel better!! The point is, let them know that, as a mother —- YOU LOVE —- period!!

© 1981 Dorothy Womack
Contributing writer online for, Empowering Caregivers, Alz Outreach, A Year To Remember, Today’s Caregiver, International
Libary Of Poetry
and Eldercare online. EMAIL:

Mother’s Day

This is for all the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, “It’s OK honey, Mommy’s here.” Who walk around the house all night with their babies when they keep crying and won’t stop.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse. For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON’T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they’ll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for all the mothers who froze their buns off on metal bleachers at football or soccer games Friday night instead of watching from cars, so that when their kids asked, “Did you see me?” they could say, “Of course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet like a tired 2-year old who wants ice cream before dinner.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the mothers who wanted to but just couldn’t. For all the mothers who read “Goodnight, Moon” twice a night for a year. And then read it again. “Just one more time.”

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for all mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls “Mom?” in a crowd, even though they know their own off spring are at home or grown.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they’d be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can’t find the words to reach them. For all the mothers who bite their lips sometimes until they bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.

What makes a good Mother anyway?

  • Is it patience?
  • Compassion?
  • Broad hips?
  • The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?
  • Or is it heart?

Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time? The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby? The need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

For all of the mothers of the victims of all of these school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting. For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

This is for mothers who put pinwheels and teddy bears on their children’s graves.

This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation. And mature mothers learning to let go. For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Single mothers and married mothers. Mothers with money, mothers without. This is for you all.

So hang in there.

Please pass along to all the Mom’s in your life. “Home is what catches you when you fall – and we all fall.” Please pass this to a (some) wonderful mother(s) you know … I just did!

Author Unknown

Love In The Home

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place,
but have not love, I am a housekeeper–not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but
have not love, my children learn cleanliness–not godliness.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love is present through the trials.
Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.
Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child,
then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.
Love is the key that opens salvation’s message to a child’s heart.

Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection.
Now I glory in God’s perfection of my child.
As a mother, there is much I must teach my child,
but the greatest of all is love.

Author Unknown


Ten Signs Of  A Frustrated Mother

1. Your children know how to read HTML code but can’t operate a vacuum cleaner.

2. Your children tell you that you said “yes” and you don’t even remember the question.

3. You go to the grocery store and find yourself having a good time.

4. Your husband asks how your day went and you rate it on a scale of 1-10 repeats of “stop that!” or “no!”.

5. You can’t remember the last time you didn’t have to share your drink.

6. You mistakenly tell the kids it’s “sanity” time when you meant to say “bed” time.

7. The laundry seems to have taken on an evil nature and you begin to feel that it’s out to get you.

8. You dread hearing the phone ring because it’s a sure sign there’s about to be trouble amongst the children.

9. It’s finally your turn on the computer and “Touched by an Angel” is just coming on.

10.You go to sleep with “I’m bored” or “I’m hungry” still ringing in your ears.

Real Mothers…

Real Mothers don’t eat quiche; they don’t have time to make it.
Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils are probably in the sandbox.
Real Mothers often have sticky floors, filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried Playdough doesn’t come out of shag carpets.
Real Mothers don’t want to know what the vacuum just sucked up.
Real Mothers sometimes ask, “Why me?” and get their answer when a little voice says, “Because I love you best.”
Real Mothers know that a child’s growth is not measured by height or years
or grade. It is marked by the progression of Mama to Mommy to Mom…

The Images Of Mother

4 years old: My Mommy can do anything!
8 years old: My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!
12 years old: My Mother doesn’t really know quite everything.
14 years old: Naturally, Mother doesn’t know that, either.
16 years old: Mother? She’s hopelessly old-fashioned.
18 years old: That old woman? She’s way out of date!
25 years old: Well, she might know a little bit about it.
35 years old: Before we decide, let’s get Mom’s opinion.
45 years old: Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?
65 years old: Wish I could talk it over with Mom

You Know Your A Mom When

1. Your feet stick to the kitchen floor…..and you don’t care.

2. You can’t find your cordless phone, so you ask a friend to call you, and you run around the house madly, following the sound until you locate the phone downstairs in the laundry basket.

3. Popsicles become a food staple.

4. Your favorite television show is a cartoon.

5. Peanut butter and jelly is eaten at least in one meal a day.

6. Your baby’s pacifier falls on the floor and you give it back to her, after you suck the dirt off of it because your too busy to wash it off.

7. You’re so desperate for adult conversation that you spill your guts to the telemarketer that calls and HE hangs up on YOU!

8. You’re up each night until 10 PM vacuuming, dusting, wiping, washing, drying, loading, unloading, shopping, cooking, driving, flushing, ironing, sweeping, picking up, changing sheets, changing diapers, bathing, helping with homework, paying bills, budgeting, clipping coupons, folding clothes, putting to bed, dragging out of bed, brushing, chasing, buckling, feeding (them, not you), PLUS swinging, playing baseball, bike riding, pushing trucks, cuddling dolls, roller balding, basketball, football, catch, bubbles, sprinklers, slides, nature walks, coloring, crafts, jumping rope, PLUS raking, trimming, planting, edging, mowing, gardening, painting, and walking the dog. You get up at 5:30 AM and you have no time to eat, sleep, drink or go to the bathroom, and yet…you still managed to gain 10 pounds.

9. The closest you get to gourmet cooking is making rice crispies bars.

White Strands Of Hair

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out, in contrast on her brunette head.

She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Mommy, why are some of your hairs white?”

Her mother replied, “Well, every time you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.”

The little girl was silent for a while, and then said, “Poor Grandma. You must have been very, very hard to raise.”

Before I Was A Mom

Before I was Mom:
I made and ate hot meals.
I had unstained clothing.
I had quiet conversations on the phone.

Before I was a Mom:
I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed.
I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday.

Before I was Mom:
I cleaned my house each day.
I never tripped over toys or forgot words to lullabies.

Before I was a Mom:
I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom:
I had never been puked on
pooped on
spit on
chewed on
peed on
or pinched by tiny fingers

Before I was a Mom:
I had complete control of my mind
my thoughts and my body
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom:
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom:
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom:
I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’t know that bond between a Mother and her child.
I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom:
I never got up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure
all was okay.
I had never known the warmth
the joy
the love
the heartache
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.

I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much… before I was a Mom.

Famous Mom’s Throughout The Ages

Throughout the centuries, mothers have been giving their children plenty of good advice and notable quotes. Here’s just a small sampling:

COLUMBUS’ MOTHER: “I don’t care what you’ve discovered, you still could have written!”

MICHELANGELO’S MOTHER: “Can’t you paint on walls like other children? Do you have any idea how hard it is to get that stuff off the ceiling?”

NAPOLEON’S MOTHER: “All right, if you aren’t hiding your report card inside your jacket, take your hand out of there and show me.”

ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S MOTHER: “Again with the stovepipe hat? Can’t you just wear a baseball cap like the other kids?”

MARY’S MOTHER: “I’m not upset that your lamb followed you to school, but I would like to know how he got a better grade than you.”

ALBERT EINSTEIN’S MOTHER: “But it’s your senior picture. Can’t you do something about your hair? Styling gel, mousse, something…?”

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S MOTHER: “The next time I catch you throwing money across the Potomac, you can kiss your allowance good-bye!”

THOMAS EDISON’S MOTHER: “Of course I’m proud that you invented the electric light bulb. Now turn it off and get to bed!”

PAUL REVERE’S MOTHER: “I don’t care where you think you have to go, young man, midnight is past your curfew.”

“I don’t mind you having a garden, Mary, but does it have to be growing under your bed?”

“Humpty, If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times not to sit on that wall. But would you listen to me? Noooo!”

BARNEY’S MOTHER: “I realize strained plums are your favorite, Barney, but you’re starting to look a little purple.”

BATMAN’S MOTHER: “It’s a nice car, Bruce, but do you realize how much the insurance is going to be?”

GOLDILOCKS’ MOTHER: “I’ve got a bill here for a busted chair from the Bear family. You know anything about this,

LITTLE MISS MUFFET’S MOTHER: “Well, all I’ve got to say is if you don’t get off your tuffet and start cleaning your room, there’ll be a lot more spiders around here!”

JONAH’S MOTHER: “That’s a nice story, but now tell me where you’ve really been for the last three days.”

“Clark, your father and I have discussed it, and we’ve decided you can have your own telephone line. Now will you quit spending so much time in all those phone booths?”

MONA LISA’S MOTHER: “After all that money your father and I spent on braces, that’s the biggest smile you can give us?”

The Lamp

One day a man spotted a lamp by the roadside. He picked it up, rubbed it vigorously, and a genie appeared. “I’ll grant you your
fondest wish,” the genie said.

The man thought for a moment, then said, “I want a spectacular job. A job that no man has ever succeeded at or has ever attempted to do.”

“Poof!” said the genie. “You’re a housewife.”

Have A Special Mother’s Day

A collaborative article with other authors


  • Ms. Mitchell began her full-time caregiving experience in the early eighties when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Later on she became the primary caregiver for her father, along with her mother who had become critically ill from burnout prior to her dad’s passing. In recent years, she cared for several friends with AIDS while continuing to care for her mother and actively providing support, information, referrals and resources for caregivers.

    Gail's leadership on the Internet and her success with Empowering Caregivers led her to found National Organization For Empowering Caregivers (NOFEC) INC in 2001.

    Prior to founding NOFEC, she created the iVillageHealth Chat: Empowering Caregivers, which she hosted for over 5 years. Within a month of hosting she created Empowering Caregivers: in 1999 as a resource for caregivers around the globe. Over three million visitors have frequented the website.

    She has presented at national and international care-related conferences and programs and has been a keynote speaker for many programs as well.

    Ms Mitchell has assisted thousands of caregivers online and offline in ways to empower themselves in their roles in caring for loved ones.

    For a list of clients and/or her resume, please contact

    Gail's articles have been published in many venues nationally and in Canada. Presently, she is a member of American Society on Aging and National Quality Caregivers Coalition.

    Gail has discovered that there is life after caregiving: She has become a successful ceramic artist and installation artist. She created Crystal Illumination Art to bring the transformative quality of illumination, light and color to the human experience and celebrate its ability to inspire, heal and nourish our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.