By Alma Schneider

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May has arrived. The showers are gone; the flowers are in bloom. And Mother’s Day is just days away. For many, the excitement or anxiety has already begun.

How do I make Mother’s Day meaningful, fun and stress-free for the special Mother in my life?

Let’s note, before we go any further, that many Mother’s Day planners have multiple Mother’s Days to plan, perhaps for their own mother or step-mother in addition to their wife or girlfriend. Take a moment to figure out who needs the most adulation on this loaded holiday… the Main Mom. A card or flowers should suffice for the others.

The first step is, and I do believe I speak for the majority of moms out there, to get a sense of what the Mom wants/needs for her special day. For example, a day spent with the kids at an amusement park may seem like it would rock her world. But what if she really wants to just be alone, getting pampered at a spa, as far from the kids as possible? Many Moms like to split the day between family and stress-free relaxation. Get a sense of her expectations (ask her!) before planning.

With that information in mind, here are some activities for her special day:

Allow Mom to sleep as late as possible. This is very important! She probably hasn’t slept past 7:00 a.m. since her birthday or Mother’s Day last year. This may require some early morning diaper duty; this may involve some advanced kid wrangling. Taking the little ones out of the house entirely is probably the best way to let her sleep undisturbed. Mom should not be grumpy, tired or resentful that she still had to wake up early on her special day. She deserves to sleep. Let her!

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Make her breakfast in bed (or elsewhere) once she’s awake. The kids can help make the food, fold the napkin or carry in the silverware. Let them do anything that won’t result in an accident or spill.

Find tasty Mother’s Day recipes.

Allow Mom to relax after breakfast. She may like to watch TV, read or shower at her leisure. This is the perfect time to prepare the Mom coupons, or the kids’ presentation of the Mom coupons. Of course, her favorite flowers would complement this gift nicely.

You did make Mom coupons, right? This coupon book gives her separate coupons for hugs, foot massages, a day without whining, a night off from making dinner. It’s these small, everyday treats that mean so much throughout the year. And coupons are an easy way for her to ask for what she needs. Get as specific as possible, given her personality. The kids may have some imaginative ideas as well.

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

Individual quality time with each of the children comes next. She can get a pedicure with one kid and then going to get a special snack treat with another. These excursions should be fun and fairly quick so there’s little room for boredom or tantrums. These one-on-one outings can become the basis of a special Mother’s Day tradition with memories Mom and the kids can cherish and look forward to every year.

While Mom is out, you can get her car cleaned, shop for the next week, straighten up the house or accomplish some other chore that would make her life a little easier.

Find great Mother’s Day gift ideas.

The last part of the day can be Mom’s pick. She may opt for a massage or a movie with a friend (perhaps starring Jon Hamm or Ryan Gosling). Let her choose. This is her special day!

These gestures will help make Mother’s Day even more enjoyable. But the most meaningful gift we can give Mom is the everyday acknowledgement that we appreciate who she is and what she does.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Visit the Mother’s Day Section at CBS Local.

Alma Schneider is a licensed Clinical Social Worker helping individuals overcome their psychological and practical obstacles to cooking and parenting on her blog and consulting business, Take Back the Kitchen. She is a native New Yorker transplanted to the suburbs with her husband, four children and loving yet stubborn Beagle Shiloh.