A lot of latter-day saints have a lot of opinions about how to handle Mother’s Day in the ward, especially the ward Mother’s Day gift. It puts the bishopric in a tough spot trying to please everyone and offend none. These good-hearted leaders want to honor the mothers in the ward, but they also don’t want to marginalize the single sisters and those not yet blessed with children. These leaders make an attempt to include all the sisters, but that sometimes backfires. What’s a leader to do?
In 2016 Leading Saints conducted a survey to gather feedback about the most popular ward Mother’s Day gifts. You might want to take a look at the results, but they are not that surprising: when in doubt, go with chocolate.
During the survey, one individual provided a gift idea that is certainly unique. Instead of taking the risk of focusing on all the sisters in the ward (mother or not), this ward turned the attention to the mothers of each ward member. When everyone showed up to Sunday services they found a table outside of the chapel full of flowers, corsages for the sisters and boutonnieres for the brothers. There were two color options, red and white. Members wore a red flower if their mother was living or a white flower if their mother was deceased.
What struck me about this idea was that it puts everyone on the same level. It doesn’t matter if you are single or married, male or female, since everyone has a mother (and probably loves that mother). Consider the discussions this would produce as two members sit in Sunday School with flowers representing their mothers. “Oh, I see your mother has passed on, tell me about her.” “Your mother is still alive, where does she live?” No need to embarrass the single sister who is forced to stand and take a potted plant reminding her she still isn’t really a mother. No need to give the not-yet-mother a gift she won’t like. Instead, the bishopric has an opportunity to honor the mothers who came before us, who helped us establish our testimonies deep in our hearts.
What do you think? What’s the best ward mother’s day gift?
The past two years we have had the men take over the third hour and all women met in the cultural hall for “treats with the bishopric”. We provided Angel food cake, berries, and whipped cream, and set up tables for them to eat and visit. It’s been a great thing for all the sisters in the ward. Those who choose not to eat certainly enjoyed visiting. I highly recommend this practice and we expect to continue it in future years.
I love the idea of everyone wearing a red or white carnation to honor their own mother and signify weather she is still alive or not. If you have someone in your ward with an allergy you could use a small artificial flower to pin on. PLEASE don’t have someone come in to take over my calling on Mother’s Day so that I can go eat treats! I enjoy planning something special for my class on Mother’s Day.
Our Mother’s Day gathering during the third hour has been wonderful for our ward! We focus on womanhood and let the sisters eat and visit together. As a ward with very large boundaries, it’s hard to get good attendance at RS activities. This is the one time during the year that we have the majority of our sisters in one room interacting together, so as a RSP it’s an important event for me!
Sadly, there’s no perfect answer. We have a sister in our ward who grew up with an abusive mother – an awkward, sad fact I discovered during a class. Another sister has a mother who committed suicide. Since my relationship with my own mother was complicated as well, I’m thinking this wouldn’t work well for our ward. I’m on the “give me chocolate” bandwagon.
I believe that Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) is best celebrated at home. No fanfare please! Just give me some chocolate on the way out of the chapel and let me go teach my SS class. Oh and please stop singing “Love at Home” every year. And this is coming from someone with an intact home with no major issues. I can’t imagine how that song must be hard for many sisters on Mother’s Day with challenging family situations.
YES Sharon, I agree with you that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day should be celebrated by the family at home! The ward does not need to take this over.
Our bishop nixed all Mothers and Fathers Day gifts a few years ago for that very reason- he said it’s a day for families to give to mothers, not the church. There were a few people grouchy about it, but now it’s not a big deal.
Kasey, I agree with your Bishop (and this is coming from someone who has planned the mother’s day gifts out for the past several years).
I wish we could just let families celebrate it. Perhaps have some talks about the high calling of motherhood. But nix the gifts.
Now if they wanted to do something for Fathers Day and bring us all pizza in the third hour, I’d be up for that! 🙂
I agree with the concept that women should choose what they would like to do for Mother’s Day, and for me that means spending time with my family. Since they don’t attend church, that means I stay home with them. Everyone’s situation is different, and I feel women are confident and wise enough to know what is best for them and their situation. If they are sad (as I was after giving my first daughter up for adoption), I would choose to stay home to avoid the awkwardness others’ felt over my situation. There is no easy way to say something that might be considered offensive, even if said with love. It is like a death. There is no easy way to bring peace. I think as women we need to find our own center, our own peace, and continue on, past Mother’s Day, to hopefully a peaceful and joyful life.
My feelings exactly.
Well, we do the tried and true (and probably worn out) “candies and message in a bag” gift and let the young men pass it out. Kinda like this https://tinyurl.com/y9h392ut.
This year we’re going to have the youth write a unique quote about mothers from a general authority to put in the bag.
These comments are proof that no matter what you going to do, you’re going to upset someone. If you don’t do anything, someone will be mad that you didn’t do anything.
Chocolate? My wife is lactose intolerant so she always end up giving me her chocolate. Good for me, not so much for her.
Our ward has given a live tomato plant, or flower in a pot. We all love that.
Our ward always does flowers, right after Sacrament meeting, and this is a real problem for me because of my allergies. I have to go home right after Sacrament meeting, because the Sisters all bring their flowers with them to the other meetings. I also feel that Mothers Day should be just like Fathers Day where nothing is done at Church.
Mothers Day for me is when my children and Grandchildren call me. This is what I need for Mothers Day.
I grew up in the Lutheran Church in Detroit and the red and white corsages were done in our congregation every Mother’s Day. I would love to see this done again.
I grew up in the South where red and white flowers for women and girls were not optional. Everybody did it. I can remember my grandmother getting teary-eyed every year to get that white flower; some years later my own mother cried every year when she got the white flower. Now my “white flower” time has come, and I don’t want one. Despite the fact that I KNOW I will be with her some day, I don’t want to wear that reminder on my shoulder when it’s branded in my heart already.
we have traditionally done a small chocolate bar and had the YM/YW hand them out after the end of sacrament meeting. Last year we heard through the grapevine that chocolate was not a great gift for many people who were struggling with dietary or weight issues, so instead I got one of the short talk/pamphlet things from Deseret Book and we gave them out. I like it because we labeled them so we knew we could reach every sister in the RS (including having ministering brothers/sisters deliver to those who didn’t attend). Now this year the EQ president overheard several sisters (during a ward service project!) speaking in “non-glowing terms” about last year’s Mother’s day pamphlet. Luckily, I have already bought Dove bars (with the option of dark or milk chocolate)!
Bottom line: there is no way to win on this one. The Mother’s Day church experience (and all that goes with it) is one of the few things I don’t love about being bishop.
After reading all of the comments I suggest we pay tribute to the mother of Jesus on Mother’s Day.
Too bad we don’t have more information about Mary. ?
I think giving gifts for Mother’s/Father’s Day is a tradition that doesn’t need to continue. You can never make everyone happy. The talks can be focused on Mary, or other women in the scriptures.
I completely agree with Mary Parker that this tradition of mothers/fathers day gifts needs to be discontinued; and have felt that way for years. Where did this tradition come from anyway?
I’m always grateful for whatever I receive on Mother’s Day. Even if it’s not what I really want or need, I appreciate the act of kindness.
Oh Man! As a Bishop ( even a covid bishop) the past 2.5 years I have not looked forward to the added pressure of a special gathering or gift second hour for the Sisters on Mothers day. Dont get me wrong…………. I love and honor all the sisters young and older. I love and honor my mom and my wife especially on this day. Its a conflict to be with my youth as directed and also be “attentive” to the Sisters. I am considering turning this conundrum over to the ward council and our newly called Ward Activities committee for the direction and help needed.