Remember the non-moms on Mother’s Day

non moms, Mother's Day, chocolate cupcakes“Guess what, Mom? She made them again!”

Within seconds, my daughter had devoured the homemade chocolate cupcake. For the past several years, a friend of mine has baked these goodies “just because.” These random, unexpected surprises are a treat for my daughter, and for me, too, showing how my daughter’s circle of love extends beyond family.

Countless other women in my daughter’s life send her birthday cards, talk about school and offer counsel when my words don’t provide solace. These women have a single trait in common: They mother my daughter even though they have no children of their own.

You likely have similar women in your life — family members, teachers, church members and friends who don’t need the term “mother” to be maternal or kind. More than 85 percent of the American population celebrates Mother’s Day, but how often are we honoring the “non-moms” in our lives? After all, the creator of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, decided not to have any children of her own.

On this day, it only makes sense to also honor the other women who mother our children: nannies who care for them, teachers who impart indelible lessons in school, coaches who urge them to master new skills. Let them know they matter. Here are some ideas:

  • Write a special letter or have your child pen a meaningful note detailing what she means to you.
  • Surprise her with a homemade meal.
  • Accompany her to her favorite place. Make the focal point of the celebration all the ways she’s given to you and your family.
  • Include her in your Mother’s Day celebration.
  • Make a “favorites” basket filled with movie passes, restaurant gift cards and small treasures, such as her favorite snack or candy.
  • Who doesn’t love dinner and a movie? Let her pick her both and treat her.
  • Frame a picture of a special moment you shared and hand-deliver it.
  • Give her the gift of relaxation — gift certificates for a manicure and pedicure or a massage.
  • Do something active together, such as hiking, taking a walk around the neighborhood or going on an early-morning bike ride.
  • Emphasize how important she is, and verbalize what she means to you.

There are quiet ways non-moms carry us, and sometimes we’re oblivious to all the ways they help our children grow. Most adults can point to a significant lesson they learned from a woman who wasn’t their mother. Mother’s Day has plenty of room to include all the women who uplift and affirm, comfort and celebrate our children.