Your mom may be a pain in the butt sometimes, but deep down you know she’s the greatest. While there are a ton of gifts and gadgets you could give her on Mother’s Day, the one thing she really wants — a gesture of your appreciation and gratitude — is actually free.
Every year for the past few years, I’ve written my mom a gratitude letter for Mother’s Day. I originally stumbled upon the idea of writing a loved one a letter but never sending it, as a journaling practice for mindfulness. Though it made me think that our gratitude doesn’t just belong in a journal, but out there in the hands of people we love most.
If you’ve never written a gratitude letter, let me be the first to tell you that this practice can change relationships for the better. My mom always says that it’s the greatest gift she could get — a genuine and heartfelt recognition of what an important force she is in my life. It makes us both very mushy inside.
As many experts have said, being grateful is a force that completely alters the way we think about the people we love, and the way they react to us. The more we express our gratitude, the more the people in our life feel valued, seen, and appreciated. This helps strengthen the bonds between us. No matter how many roses you buy for your mom, there’s nothing that’s going to beat that.
Writing a gratitude letter doesn’t have to be a complicated ordeal. I’d recommend keeping it short (about 300 words) and sweet. Sometimes we can say more by saying just a little! If you’re stuck on how to start, try outlining your thoughts using the guidelines below. Then, just piece it all together as though you’re talking to Mom!
1. Remember who you’re writing the letter for. Jot down “mom” at the top of a scrap piece of paper and then all the people your she is to you, i.e. your support system, your defender, your rock, your best friend. These will help you realize all the roles your mom plays in your life.
2. Ask yourself: What do I have to thank my mom for? Moms are givers and always offering to help us in ways that we might not stop to appreciate. Try and recall when your mom was there for you or when she was unselfish for your benefit — even if you didn’t see it at the time. If you’re having trouble, think about this: the earliest sacrifice your mom makes for you is carrying you in her body! That’s always a good place to start.
3. End your letter by simply saying, “thank you.” The words are few, but there aren’t many others which express something we all so deeply need to hear. Moms often offer themselves unconditionally throughout our lives, and the best part is, they usually don’t ask for much in return. You will be surprised at how much this small gesture will bring warmth to her heart — and yours.