mother's day communication

How to Communicate to Mom on Mother’s Day What She Means to You

Hallmark sells more greeting cards for Mother’s Day than any other holiday. But take it from me, your mom would rather hear YOUR words than those from the anonymous writers at Hallmark. I have nothing against greeting cards, especially those accompanied by flowers, candy, or a gift certificate to the spa.

But what would really make mom’s heart sing would be to find a special note inside that card, a special letter, or at least an email.

So where to start and what to say?


Guidelines for the Communication “Gift” Mom Will Save Forever


Make It Specific

“My parents were in the balcony? At 10:00 in the morning? On a Tuesday? During the work week? That was the best part of the whole thing. As a student transferring from a tiny B school to a 4-A district with 465 in our class, I was new to the whole concept. But I was delighted when the principal leaned into the microphone to announce, ‘Students, if you’ll direct your attention to the balcony, you’ll see that you were the last to know. We notified your parents ahead of time and invited them to join us today to celebrate in your achievements.’ It should have been no surprise, of course. That you and Dad would be in the balcony. No childhood achievement was ever complete without having you looking on. And no ‘adult’ news—good or bad—becomes permanent until shared with you, Mom.”

That was part of a note I wrote to my mom many years “after the event.”  I reprint it here as an example of being specific about some memory you have or some characteristic of your mom that you admire or appreciate.


Make It Personal

Many people “freeze” when they start to write a note to someone they love because they want it to be special. They aim for some glowing magnificent, all-encompassing statement that makes mom sound like a saint. Granted, she may be. But sainthood is hard to express in a single statement.

Perfect is not the goal. Personal is what counts. Just express your feelings in the same way you would talk to her. What has she done for you? In what ways do you always depend on her? How does she make you feel? What have you learned from her? How has she prepared you for life? What has she contributed to the success you’ve had in relationships, work, and life management?

It doesn’t have to be long or eloquent—just specific and personal. I still have the note my daughter sent last year (360 days ago) propped up by my bathroom sink to read every evening.


Make It Positive

As with all relationships, parent-child relationships have ups and downs—little disappointments, misunderstandings, hurt feelings. We’re all human. But even with good intentions, a Mother’s Day note is typically not the time to mention negatives—even if you’re apologizing, offering regrets, or promising not to repeat past mistakes. Instead, focus on the positives between you.


Give Hallmark a rest this holiday. Communicate from your own head and heart what your mom means to you. Make her day by creating a memory she will cherish!


Hone your communication skills with Mom and others. Learn more in Communicate With Confidence!: How to Say It Right the First Time and Every Time. Click here for more info.