How to Celebrate Mom and Dad This Spring

Back in 2012, the United Nations designated June 1st as the Global Day of Parents. For what it’s worth, the United States was already celebrating its own Parents Day in July. Now, we’re not trying to get your parents to yield the individual attention of a Father’s Day and a Mother’s Day with some kind of combined event. Nor do we want to saddle you with another annual occasion for a last minute card. But if they’ve worked as a team to raise you, this year might be a chance to have each of their special days work in tandem with each other. Here are some ways to sync up the celebrations for mom and dad as spring warms up into summer.

The Set-Up

The last time mom and dad were part of a set-up, it was the blind date that led to them falling in love, getting married and having you.

So yeah, pretty successful. Why not use Mother’s Day as part of a set-up for Father’s Day? Not in a lame way, like: “Hey Mom, I got you a coffee pot lid – just wait till Dad get’s the actual pot in a month and then things can really get to percolating.” But if you buy your parents a surprise trip on Mother’s Day, maybe on Father’s Day you can replace Dad’s luggage. Mom might actually get just as excited to exile that carry-on with the squeaky wheel as he is about fly-fishing in Idaho.

How to Celebrate Mom and Dad This Spring

The Switch-Up

Maybe your mom’s side of the bathroom sink looks like the “beyond” part of Bed, Bath and Beyond, while you’ve given your dad innumerable grill accessories. Maybe dad wants a bit of pampering after sweating through the soot of years of flipping burgers. Give him that cleaning charcoal. We’re talking like activated charcoal body wash. Like charcoal face wash. Maybe your mom isn’t itching to get behind the grill (or maybe her brat game is already legendary), but there’s more to a backyard barbecue than a set of tongs. Come to think of it, if prepwork for every birthday party puts one of them in the kitchen and one of them on the patio, figure out a way for them to cook together – unless those separate sanctums are the places where they each feel the most Zen. In which case, don’t mess with a good thing.

The Sign-Up

Maybe set them up with a few different monthly memberships on Mother’s Day. And then on Father’s Day, check back in and see which ones they aren’t actively using. Turns out that the New York Times crossword is not going to become their thing after all. However, they love going to the zoo and they’ve already forgotten what life was like before they could get meatloaf in the mail.

How to Celebrate Mom and Dad This Spring

The Rest-Up

What if instead of adding activities that they potentially don’t want to add to their already busy lives, you take away some obviously unwanted activities instead? Maybe the time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is when you hire a cleaning or a lawn service for a few weeks, or bring in the plumber to fix that leak that isn’t urgent but is inconvenient. Instead of arguing about what’s going on beneath the kitchen sink, or coming up with other tasks to avoid dealing with it, they can redirect that time elsewhere. This could be the season your mom finally catches up on her Netflix queue and your dad discovers that there’s more to self-care for men than stretching before a game of racquetball.

Some say that Father’s Day gets short-changed when it comes to holidays since people tend to invest more energy and money in Mother’s Day. But rather than trying to figure out which holiday gets the short end of the stick, why not just give your parents the whole stick and let them figure out what they want to do with it?

It’s also worth noting that Father’s Day got its start during a Mother’s Day sermon, when a woman whose mother had died in childbirth wanted to honor her veteran father for raising the newborn and the other five kids on his own. Not every Mother’s Day/Father’s Day pairing is going to be the same for every family because not every parental unit is going to be the same. Through death, remarriage or just different family structures, one of those days might require multiple events, while another day might represent the painful emptiness of a recent loss. So as you figure out how to fix your parents’ pipes while you pack them off to Aruba, be sensitive to the particular needs of the folks who made your life so unique.