by Nicolle San Jose

When I moved into my new apartment in Washington, DC, my mom flew across country from California to make sure she was there to help. It was indicative of a pattern of selflessness that’s existed since before I was born – and one I don’t take for granted for one second. Growing up, she spent years of my childhood sewing costumes for school plays, crushing the carpool game, and going above and beyond to get me to where I am today.

What I’ve realized over the years, though, is that the one thing supermoms don’t do is prioritize themselves. That’s why this Mother’s Day, I’m determined to help my mom embrace self-care with as much importance as she puts on taking care of me. Here are some ways you too can break through to the mother figure in your life and remind her to take care:

1. Create a playlist for mom to listen to and unwind.
It’s the modern-day mixtape, but there’s a more important recipient than your sixth-grade crush this time around. My mom isn’t too savvy with computers, let alone navigating music streaming apps, but I know she’d love having all her favorite songs readily available on her phone (catch me this weekend making a Carole King x ABBA playlist for my mom).

2. Schedule one hour of uninterrupted catch-up time to reflect on all of life’s happenings.

Take time to connect. And make it a thing! Take a walk to the park, have some afternoon tea, chill at home on the couch, or maybe just schedule a facetime call for one-on-one time to chat. Make a point to help her feel heard and supported as a full person – beyond her role as your mom.

3. Make a shared calendar including things you and your mom are looking forward to in the next few months.

Document what you’re excited about and share the joy together! Whether she’s planning her best friend’s birthday party, organizing a work event, or just getting excited about the Game of Thrones finale (ahem May 19, 9pm EST) - this calendar is a space to share the excitement of life with one another!

4. DIY or craft together.

Have you ever binged HGTV with mom? Have you seen the twinkle in her eye when a show’s hosts repurpose a secondhand dresser into a chic vanity situation? Consider that your cue to give it a try – together. Just taking time to be creative and stepping outside of the typical routine is a great way to practice self-care together.

5. Gift a journal to remind mom to reflect.

Better yet, write personalized prompts on the top of each page. Ask her about life moments and favorite memories, old and new (yes, your mom had a life before you were born!). Ask her to work through it slowly but surely, and tell her she can keep it for herself or gift it back to you one day, when she’s ready. Journaling is a great practice for clearing the mental clutter – but it can also help for practicing gratitude, revisiting happy memories, and clearing mental clutter.

6. Host an at-home spa day.

A more accessible alternative for a mom who simply won’t ~ head to the spa ~, an at-home day of luxuriating is the perfect time to teach mom about the latest DIY hair mask trend, introduce her to your favorite facial spray, or try out some face masks accompanied by a soothing cup of tea. (P.S. This is absolutely the time to break out all of the Sephora skin care samples that are tucked away in your bathroom!)

7. Take something off her to-do list.

Taking something off of mom’s to do list is a great way to make a little more room for her to tend to herself (less emotional labor also = self-care!). You might offer to drop something off at the post office, do the laundry, wash the dishes, or make a trip to the grocery store. If I’m being honest, there’s nothing I hate more than running errands - and your mom probably feels the same way about it.

8. Revamp mom’s sleeping space.

To encourage mom to make sleep a priority, help make bedtime more inviting! You could gift a lavender pillow mist or new sheets, set up dimming lights, or maybe even help her download a sleeping app on her phone. Sleep is the root of so much of our energy – helping mom get the rest she deserves (and even making it a more indulgent experience than she might be used to) will go a long way.

Ultimately, it might take a bit of time and space for your busy mom to actively practice self-care, but with a little encouragement you can help shift her toward understanding that she’s the most worthy person you know.

Lede photo by Alisha Ramos.