Written by: Shannon Mahre. Shannon is a professional photographer, writer, coach, athlete, mom and wife based in Washington state. Shannon, along with her husband Any, own MADE (Mahre Athletic Development Experience) and teach adventure clinics, retreats, classes and events for the entire family. Find Shannon on Instagram: @shannonmahre.
Being a mom is the greatest gift I have ever been given. It has challenged me, changed me and it’s made me stronger and more selfless than I ever thought possible.
As Mother’s Day sneaks up on us this year, now more than ever, it’s important to celebrate ALL of the mamas in your life — including yourself! So whether you are trying to plan a special day for your mom or wife or you are taking the initiative to celebrate and give back to your own health and wellness as a mama, here are 5 Mother’s Day experiences I know every active mom with love.
1. Plan mom's dream day in the mountains, forest or desert
Is there a mountain, lake, waterfall or trail that your mom or wife has been dying to get out to, but she just hasn’t had the time to plan the trip and route? If your mom is like me, there are hundreds of beautiful places all over the world that she would love to go to. Now it’s up to you to make her dream a reality, even if that spot is just 30 minutes from your front door.
Once you’ve decided on a specific destination, it’s time to figure out logistics: Are there trip reports on the area you want to go to? (This time of year, trails are sometimes still covered in snow, so recent trip reports are super helpful in the planning process.) What does the weather report for that day look like? What gear do you all need to bring? Is there biking available or will it just be a hike? Also, don’t forget to pack lunches, snacks, water and extra layers and gear for all of the parties coming. And if you really want to win some brownie points, pack some post-hike or ride beers or wine for her to sip on before hitting the road.
And, for goodness sakes, have a dinner planned out for her for when you get home as well so that she doesn’t have to cook and clean when you get home from the adventure. The less mom has to do on this special day, the better.
2. Head to the water
If the sun is shining and the water is calling mom’s name, head to a local beach or lake for a day on and near the water. This time of year, it may not be the warmest out, but that doesn’t mean that a walk on the beach or a paddle on the lake isn’t a great activity to partake in.
If you think your mom would want to do more than hunt for agates and feel the salt air on her skin, Stand Up Paddleboarding might be right up her alley. Stand Up Paddleboarding is an extremely fun and easy-to-learn activity that people of all ages and fitness levels can partake in, and most cities and towns near water rent all of the gear (paddle, board, PFD, whistle, light & wet suit if needed) that you need for a day on the water.
As mentioned above, be sure to pack a scrumptious picnic lunch and snacks (mimosas anyone?) for her and the family so that you can all relax at the beach as long as you want. Pick up food from your mom’s favorite restaurant on the way home or throw some chicken and salsa in the crock pot for easy tacos when you all get home. Don’t forget to save a shell or a special rock from the day to give to your mom that night after dinner — a memento from her special day with you.
3. Did someone say wine and wildflowers?
Are wine and wildflowers mom’s thing? I have the perfect plan for you to wow her and make her feel as important as she truly is to you.
First, start the day off with breakfast in bed. Whether that’s eggs and toast, waffles, French toast or those protein pancakes she loves so much drizzled with peanut butter, let her sleep in and wow her with your culinary skills (you may need to practice beforehand… hint hint). P.S. Coffee and a mimosa will get you extra brownie points.
Post-breakfast, let her leisurely get ready for the hike you have planned. Pick a place that hopefully this time of year will be full of wildflowers – if not, choose one with beautiful views or breathtaking scenery if you can. Bring some snacks and water on the hike for everyone as well as layers and extra food if you are straying a bit from home.
After the hike, grab lunch from your mom’s favorite restaurant and either eat there or pick another fun spot for a picnic: a lake, the beach or even a park. When you get home, grab the flowers that you purchased or picked for her (the day before) and put them out on the counter with the homemade card that you made — chocolate is also appreciated too.
The last step of this special day is to give your mom the freedom to do whatever she wants for the rest of the day, and offer help if she needs or wants it. You may find yourself planting flowers with her in the garden, heading out for a bike ride with her or even just having a quiet afternoon at home. Either way, just make sure it’s all about her.
4. Sign her up for a clinic or private lesson
Being a mom, I have a hard time purchasing things or experiences for myself, even though I know that I would love to do them AND they'd help me up my game on every single activity that we like to do. One of the best ways to learn a new skill or to improve at something you are already doing is to take a clinic or private lesson. Luckily, there are tons of women-based coaches and clinics out there for almost every sport or activity that you can imagine: mountain biking, skiing, surfing, paddle boarding, trail running, kayaking, yoga, climbing, dirt biking. Honestly, the sky is the limit.
Through my company, Girls with Grit, at least 50% of the women that are in my clinics or that get private lessons from me in skiing, mountain biking, SUP or trail running are there because their significant others purchased it for them as a gift (because yes, they wouldn’t do it for themselves).
So, if there is an outdoor (or indoor!) activity that you know your mom or wife would love to try or that she would love to get better at, research local coaches and offerings in your area. And if there aren’t any close to home, check out retreats in nearby areas that she could travel to for a weekend. Can you say ultimate active mom gift?
5. Friends + Family
Sometimes Mother’s Day for an active mom doesn’t mean being with her family from dawn to dusk. Maybe it means allowing her to have some time alone with her friends as well as have family time later on in the day. For this experience, the key is knowing her well enough to give her the day that you think she will appreciate and love the most.
Maybe that looks like making her that favorite breakfast after leisurely sleeping in. Then, set up a hike or trail run for her with her friends. And pack them some post-hike appetizers in a cooler for them to enjoy before heading home to their families. My advice on the contents: salami, olives, crackers, cheese, fruit, dark chocolate and ingredients to make mimosas.
For the afternoon, plan your mom’s favorite family adventure. That could be paddle boarding, biking or even another hike that doesn’t involve her packing all of the gear and food for the journey. Make her favorite meal for her for dinner and make sure that you do all of the clean-up and prep.
The rest of the night? Mom is off-duty. That means that she doesn’t have to put the kids to bed, but instead, she gets to take a nice, long bath with her favorite glass of wine and book…in total solitude.
Hey, us active moms need pampering too!
Bonus Mother's Day Idea
If you can remember, snap photos during the day from morning until evening (from the meals you make her, to the adventures you take her on) to make into a photo collage of your mom’s special day. Believe me, she will love it.