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What burnt-out moms really want for Mother’s Day

It's been a trying year for the average American mother. Now she deserves something nice.
It's been a trying year for the average American mother. Now she deserves something nice.Maura Intemann/Globe Staff/Adobe

Over the past 14 months, the moms in our lives have shouldered so much — too much. Maybe they hung onto paid work while MacGyvering the kids through Zoom school. Maybe they lost paid work due to the economic downturn — or the spontaneous combustion of caregiver support. Others deserve the title of “heroine” twice over for working the front lines while keeping it together at home. Whatever they went through, wherever they’ve landed, it’s been a trying year for the vast majority of American moms. And now they deserve something nice for Mother’s Day. Five moms from the Globe newsroom offered suggestions.


A smile in her step

After a year of wearing a mask on walks through the neighborhood and hikes in the Blue Hills, I long to spend the afternoon in the woods bare-faced, smiling at people instead of scurrying to the other side of the path when they pass by. My family ventured out last Mother’s Day for our first hike during the pandemic, and it was lovely but tinged with anxiety. This year, I want to stroll leisurely. I want to let my daughter run freely. I want to stop for a picnic and bask in the sunshine.

— Katie Johnston, labor and income inequality reporter

Time out for grown-ups

With two small kids, my penchant for date nights and dinner parties had dropped off significantly even before the pandemic. But now, as I approach full vaccination, I want nothing more than a night out with friends this Mother’s Day. Adult friends who I don’t need to cook for, won’t need me to cajole them to finish their fish sticks or to not throw yogurt on the carpet. Dinner with friends: what a concept.

— Janelle Nanos, business reporter

A little stretchy number


The vaccine is coursing through my veins, and I’m increasingly eager to get back into the world. I am not, however, excited about returning to hard pants. You know — buttons, belts, constrictive waist bands. Certainly, it is time to leave behind the schlubby sweat pants I’ve been living in this past year — possibly in a roaring, cleansing fire — but let’s not go crazy. So this Mother’s Day, I want nice-looking soft pants. With elastic waists. Comfy fabric. Pants I can feel good about being seen in public, but that accommodate the new sartorial freedom I’ve come to cherish.

— Victoria McGrane, politics editor

Refills on rest and reading

For more than a year, work plus my daughter’s online school equaled zero time for pleasure or pause. Now this husk of a brain needs a break, or I’ve no hope for recovering the mom, wife, and human I was. All I want are three or four hours of uninterrupted time in the backyard hammock — preferably with the book I keep trying to read, and preferably with a bottomless glass of something pink.

— Christy DeSmith, assistant arts editor

A real, live vacuum cleaner

I would love a handmade card from my beautiful son, and for someone to vacuum my house.

— Kelly Horan, deputy editor, Ideas