Did you know 72% of American mothers with children under 18 also work? With stats like that, Mother’s Day takes on a whole new meaning at the office.
But you’ve also likely heard in recent years that Mother’s Day can be a complex topic for many. You probably have employees who struggle with their relationships with their mothers, who have lost their mothers, or who would love to become mothers but struggle to conceive. For these reasons, you should thoughtfully plan your Mother’s Day celebrations at work.
It’s no secret that working mothers struggle more with unfair work policies and balancing home responsibilities with the demands of a career than working fathers do. And with many of us returning to the office despite a brief period of remote work for all, this may remain the case for some time. Parenting is essential to many of your employees’ lives, and it’s crucial to acknowledge!
So, how can you both celebrate working moms, especially the ones on your team and acknowledge the nuances of this holiday? Here are a few ideas to celebrate this Mother’s Day at work with an eye toward a more inclusive workplace.
7 Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day at Work
1. Give Them a Small Mother’s Day Gift
It’s not easy being a full-time employee and a full-time parent! Support your workplace moms by giving them a small gift from the team. Maybe it’s a flower on every desk or a “World’s Best Working Mom” coffee mug. Or put together a gift basket with upscale chocolates to “hide from the kids.” A gift card to your local coffee shop would also be a nice gesture. The point is: you can show gratitude for the moms you work with in countless ways that aren’t expensive but do feel meaningful!
2. Celebrate Working Mom’s Monday
Yep, it’s Mother’s Monday, or Working Mom’s Monday is a thing. It takes place the Monday after Mother’s Day every year, and many organizations provide unique programming and opportunities that day. This year, The Mom Project, a brilliant non-profit supporting working moms and their allies, is throwing an afternoon of free celebrations with guests, including Marie Kondo. Why not let your whole team take those hours off to enjoy themselves while celebrating the moms they work with every day?
3. Gift a Family Experience
What is the best way to show gratitude to working moms? Give them a special treat for their days off. Whether it’s complimentary tickets to an amusement park for the whole family or a spa or facial service, experiential gifts are the best. Family-friend restaurant gift cards are always a good idea, too!
4. Throw a Working Mother’s Day Event (In-Person or Remote)
Have a family-oriented workplace? Make celebrating moms a company affair by setting up a happy hour or coffee break hour with bingo, trivia, or other challenges. We love the idea of quizzing people on whose kids are named what or whose kids are Geminis or Aries. The winner gets a special gift card!
5. Introduce a New Maternal Leave or Parental Policy
What better time to introduce a new policy devoted to supporting your team’s working parents than around Mother’s Day? Send an office memo announcing an increase in maternal leave days or a daycare stipend. Even if you aren’t planning on introducing a new policy, now is a great time to ensure everyone knows what you offer working moms and working dads. Have your HR team send out some educational materials via email or host an “ask me anything” style lunch hour to answer parents’ questions.
6. Make Mother’s Day a Company Holiday (Or Early Release)
If your team works on Mother’s Day Sunday and the time and capacity are available, consider offering your team a full or half-day off — even an hour-early release will mean the world! This perk gives mothers on your team extra quality time with their families.
Note: If you offer this policy, ensure you do the same on Father’s Day.
7. Plan a “Bring Your Kids to Work” Party
End the day with a social hour for kids and parents at the office. It’s a great way to encourage working moms and dads to connect even more deeply, plus parents love showing their kids where they work. If planning this event for Mother’s Day seems like too much of a lift, consider introducing an annual Parent’s Day for working moms and dads. You can send out a memo announcing the plan on Mother’s Monday.
Remember: not everyone wants to be — or can be — a parent. Invite anyone without kids to enjoy the party and offer them the chance to leave the office early. Not everyone wants to celebrate parenting!
Final Note: Keep it Flexible
You likely have some, if not many, employees who may have lost their mothers, are unable to become mothers, or who don’t wish to observe the holiday for another reason. Be sensitive, and allow them to opt out of any communications, events, or celebrations. When planning Mother’s Day activities, ask yourself whether anyone will feel excluded. You may even want to send a survey before Mother’s Day to ask if your team is interested in celebrating! When all else fails, err on the side of caution.
Bonus: Build Resources for Parents into Your Onboarding
Recognize their efforts no matter how you choose to celebrate Mother’s Day at work! They are true superheroes!
When hiring working moms and employees in general, provide them with a comprehensive onboarding experience to set them up for success. Working from home, starting a new job, and juggling parenting responsibilities can be overwhelming! Consider implementing an onboarding best practice checklist to help make their transition into the role more seamless and manageable.