Our first kid was born on June 21, which means I had 11 months to plan for my wife’s first Mother’s Day. The gift should’ve been spectacular, right? While I can’t remember the exact gift (I’m a notoriously awful gift-giver), I did begin a tradition that lives on today. As my family approaches its fifth Mother’s Day, I wanted to share our tradition with you. We don’t buy Mother’s Day cards. We do something much better.
(Moms, this is where you pass the phone to your spouse…)
If you’re tired of uninspired and panicked visits to Hallmark or Target for a Mother’s Day card, then this article will not only save you a little trouble, but it’ll also give your family a new, meaningful tradition.
Instead of Mother’s Day cards, create an annual Mother’s Day journal. We use a Moleskine journal like this one, and each year we add a few extra pages from me and the kids.
Here’s everything we add each year:
- The date on the first page
- A few poems, quotes, or song lyrics
- A handful of photos, especially the photos of mom and the kids
- A letter from each kid
- A letter from me
- Little stickers and doodles to decorate the pages
- An outline of each kid’s hand
- Any drawings or scribbles the kids want to create
The letters from the kids always follow the same pattern. I have them finish these three sentences:
- I love you because…
- Thank you for…
- One favorite memory is…
Of course, when the kids were young I finished the sentences for them. Last year, as a three-year-old, my son finished the sentences for the first time. (His answers aren’t as thorough as his infant answers written by Daddy, but they’re true to our little guy.) Last year, our entry was ten pages. The first year, it was four pages.
The best part is paging back through the years to look at the photos and to read each year’s letters. The journal is so much better than a stack of saved greeting cards. It’s big, it has weight, and it holds so much meaning.
When it comes to photos, you might need to plan a little extra now. The toughest photo to find is a photo of Mom and the kids. Too often Mom is the one behind the camera. Dads, you have two options: 1. Stop checking scores and start taking photos of Mommy and the kids, or 2. Hire a professional photographer. (*Hint hint* I know where you can find a good one.)
On a practical note, our journal is 8.25 x 11.75, though it seems to be a discontinued item. I would suggest something big so that you can add plenty of letters, photos, and other mementos. Our journal has 240 pages, so it’ll give us plenty of years to wish Mommy a Happy Mother’s Day.
The journal stays in our bedroom the rest of year. Every now and then one of us will find and flip through the pages. The kids love seeing their old photos, and I love seeing how they’ve grown.
One more thing: Moms, you can do something similar for Father’s Day. You can stop buying cards, too. My wife writes letters to me each year, from her and the kids. I love the details she remembers in each letter. Each year, it’s like a little time machine filled with love and humor.
How will you create a new tradition this Mother’s Day? What personal touches would you add to make your Mother’s Day journal one-of-a-kind? Dads, it’s time to get to work.