Often, moms do virtually all of the giving and very little, if any, of the taking from their families. They may not say it, but most of them want to be appreciated in small ways. You don't have to buy them a car or a house (you could do that too), but it's the small things that count with mom.
Here are some ideas of how you can let mom know that all of her giving has and continues to be appreciated.
1. Give mom a vacation
Don't think Hawaii. Think of a day away from the kitchen. Or the home. Give her a vacation from the home where for her, most of the seemingly endless housework is done daily. Or, if she doesn't want that, start doing your share around the house. Maybe you could start giving her one day of the week off, when she does no cooking or household chores. Remember, fathers and husbands work hard at the office, but they get a two-day weekend in most cases. Moms usually don't even get a full day off. And if they are also working outside, it's like two full time jobs.
2. Let's hear her life story: a mom's circle
She may have read you bedtime stories when you were small, but now it's time for her to tell you a different story-about herself. Make a mom's circle at home in which you ask her to tell her life story. Mom's circle may actually turn into a project: one family member could write this up into a report, another could make a story book out of it and a third could video/audio record it. A mom's circle may become an ongoing family tradition.
3. Try beating mom's cooking
While most moms ask their kids what they want to eat, turn the tables around and do the same for her. Is there special food your mom likes? Buy or prepare that food for her (if you are not the best of cooks, maybe it's safer to just buy it).
4. Is your mom in a nursing home
If your mom is in a nursing home, why not plan to bring her home for a weekend visit to stay with you. Even better, why not make this a weekly, or twice a month set up, so you can spend more time with her and she can be around those who really love her more often? Of course the ultimate gift will be if you can liberate her from that nursing home so she can stay in her room in your own home.
5. Arrange a mammogram for her
Every three minutes, a woman in America is diagnosed with breast cancer. That woman could be your mom.
A woman's chances of developing breast cancer increases with age. The National Cancer Institute recommends women age 40 and over be screened with mammography every one to two years. It also advises that women at higher risk of breast cancer get medical advice before they are 40 about when to begin screening and about the frequency of their screening. Do this for your mom, so you can see her spend the rest of her life in good health, Insha Allah (if God wills).
6. Is your mom a bookworm?
If so, buy a small cabinet and buy all of the books you can afford. Then take it to her home and set it up for her.
7. If your mom is a non-Muslim
If your mom is a non-Muslim, try fasting for a day (Nafil or extra fasting), and keep thinking and praying for her. Ask Allah that He guides her and ask Him what you can do to help her understand her own Creator.
8. If your relationship has not been the best with your Mom
If your relationship with your mom has not been the best, sit down in front of a year-long calendar or planner and mark down dates and things which you can plan to improve this relationship. Start off by making a formal first appointment. Then pick dates on which you can keep contact with her and build your relationship on a regular basis.
9. If mom is not alive
If your mom is not alive, visit her relatives and friends and ask what you can do for them. Consider these two Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him):
1. The Messenger of Allah said: When a person dies, his actions come to an end, except for three things: a continuing Sadaqa (charity), knowledge from which benefit is still being derived, and a righteous child who prays for her or him (translated meaning from Muslim).
2. Abu Usaid Saidi said: We were once sitting with Rasulullah when a man from the tribe of Salmah came and said to him: O Messenger of Allah! do my parents have rights over me even after they have died? And Rasulullah said:
Yes. You must pray to Allah to bless them with His Forgiveness and Mercy, fulfill the promises they made to anyone, and respect their relations and their friends (Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah).
10. Pick up her feet and spread the word
The Prophet Muhammad said: Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother (Ahmad, Nasai). Ask your mom to lift her feet, so you can locate where Jannah is. Then tell others about your discovery by sharing what Islam has to say about moms and their importance in our lives.
Photo Attribution: Peter van der Sluijs - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Young_mother_with_a_group_of_girls_Indonesia.jpg