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3 Mother’s Day Activities for Homes Without Moms

3 Mother’s Day Activities for Homes Without Moms

There are Mother’s Day activities and things your family can do, even if – or maybe especially if – your kids don’t have a mom in the picture. You might have chosen to have your household be motherless. Or that choice may have been forced upon you. The key to navigating this holiday is to figure out what works best for your family and be sensitive to your needs (and not what people think you should need). So we’re sharing 3 Mother’s Day activities for homes without moms – like ours!

Triton’s mom Patricia on the left, and Jon’s mom Anne on the right. Both gone too soon!

The truth is that Mother’s Day can be a mine field. There are families like ours with two dads, single dad families, and loving, non-traditional households that don’t include a biological mother for a myriad of reasons. Forget what Hallmark, your nosy neighbor, and your local brunch spot thinks you should do this Mother’s Day. Just do you.

Here are three Mother’s Day activities for homes without moms.

You’ve got options!

When the girls were little.

3 Mother’s Day Activities For Homes Without Moms

Option 1: Lay low.

Skip the brunches, breakfasts and flower-laden dinner specials that abound every Mother’s Day. Turn off the TV too, and banish those sticky-sweet commercials and TV specials that are sure to come on. Why not spend today playing old school board games with your kids? (Just call it retro and they may be more inclined to indulge you.)

Maybe spending the afternoon baking those special chocolate chips cookies your own mother baked for you. That would make for a sweet day with your kids. (Pun totally intended.) My mom made these rad oatmeal-raisin-chocolate chip numbers that I really need to find the recipe for!

This could also be a good time for a self-care time out. Maybe this means getting a massage, or just giving yourself permission to sit down to read a book, or (Gasp!) take a nap!

lotus flower in girl's hands

Even the smallest of gestures can mean so much.

This option means you choose to opt out of Mother’s Day this year. And listen to me when I say this: That’s totally OK.

Option 2: Focus on Mother Earth.

You may think this is possibly too kitschy of an idea, but why not? The Earth really is the ultimate mother, right?

Spend time in the garden. (A community garden or a friend’s garden is acceptable if you don’t have one handy at home.) You could even decorate planters and bring some flowers indoors. Personally, I think Mother Earth would love a sweet little herb garden on my back deck as a Mother’s Day present!

girl picking carrots

Gardening is a great way for the family to spend time together.

You can also take the kids out to pick up trash in your community and let them post their #cleanupchallenge selfie, (which is trending and guaranteed to get them likes. #Bonus.) We did this on the beach in our hometown recently, and it was actually pretty fun.

If you have little ones, read books about Mother Earth and then get outside and play in the dirt to help them make the connection. This option gives your family the choice of focusing on a bigger, more theoretical idea of motherhood.

girl pushing wheelbarrow

Doing some gardening gets everyone outside in the fresh air on Mother’s Day.

Option 3: Celebrate all the mothers in your life.

Instead of opting out or honoring Mother Earth, you can embrace the holiday with some Mother’s Day activities for the important women in your children’s lives. Why not help your kids celebrate all the mothers that surround them?

Your kids might not have a mom in their home, but there are probably wonderful women all around who have freely given their mothering gifts. Can the kids make cards or cute, little gifts for them? How about inviting those lovely women over for a brunch they don’t have to cook or clean up afterward? Grandmothers, aunts, neighbors, cousins-once-removed, that lady around the corner that always greets them with a smile. If a woman has helped to mother your children in their own unique way, use Mother’s Day to show your thanks and appreciation.

potted flowers

Potting flowers for beloved women in our lives.

This option is best for families who really want to celebrate this holiday and participate in the Mother’s Day activities that tend to occur.

Homes Without Moms

The bottom line is that Mother’s Day activities for homes without moms don’t have to include a mom. And your family doesn’t have to be excluded from any fun on the second Sunday in May because there’s not a mother in the house. You can celebrate this day in your own special way.

Think about whatever makes you and your family happy and feels right to you. Then, with all the love in your heart, go with it.

2DadsWithBaggage family in Puerto Vallarta

Family is what you make it.


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Acts of Kindness You Can Do With Your Kids

Acts of Kindness You Can Do With Your Kids

Sometimes Triton and I get all caught up helping our kids with school work, getting them to and from their music and sports lessons, etc. But really? The single most important thing we can teach our kids is to be kind. Bullying (both online and in person) is rampant among kids as well as adults. If more people lived by kindness first, the world would be a better place. (Ahem, that means you too, 45.) Part of fostering genuine kindness in our kids is by coming up with acts of kindness you can practice with your kids on the regular.

Kindness has a ripple effect. When someone receives an act of kindness, particularly a random one that requires no reciprocation, they are more likely to pass that kindness on. You know, pay it forward!

My mama and pop taught me well, and we’re showing our kids how to show kindness to others.

Acts of Kindness You Can Do With Your Kids

Hold the door

When I am running errands by myself or with my family, it always gives me a smile when I see a kid stop to hold the door for someone – even me! It’s such a simple act, but it shows such courtesy and respect to others. Remind your kids to open the door for others, especially those with young children, carrying things, or the elderly or disabled. However, holding the door just to be kind regardless of the baggage being carried by the recipient of the kind act is also appreciated! After a while, it just becomes habit – a good habit.

Kindness rocks

This is such a fun activity regardless of age. In fact, teenagers are often the biggest fans of kindness rocks because it allows them to be creative and spread a positive message at the same time. Start with a bunch of plain rocks and paints or markers to decorate. Be artistic – write positive messages on the rocks and hide them throughout your city. Many communities have social media pages or groups that designate a hashtag or saying to write on the rock. Finders then post the rocks on social media, hide the found rocks, or create more to keep the positivity moving. Messages such as “you matter”, “you rock”, and “be kind” are often found on these stones of kindness.

peace, love and kindness rocks

Decorating rocks with messages of kindness, we can then put them in public places around town for others to find.

Share talents at a nursing home

Find a local nursing home and have your child share their own gifts with members of the community. If your son or daughter is a musician, they may choose to play a special recital or concert on their instrument. Singers could perform solos or ensembles with other talented vocalists. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t have a musical bone in their body. Simply reading a story to a resident is sharing the gift of time, companionship, and education. We’ve even just had the kids read one of their children’s books aloud. Believe me, those residents just love the time spent and don’t expect for you to read them the next great historical novel.

kid reading book

Even reading a kids’ book to a nursing home resident will make their day so much brighter.

When I was a kid, we did this through our church. I hated the thought of having to spend time with old people in a scary nursing home, but as soon as I got there and saw how happy they were to see us I changed by mind. It may be intimating at first, but your kid will quickly warm up once they are there.

Send thank you letters

Think about someone who has made a difference in your life. This may not be an obvious person, like a parent or your spouse. It may be a teacher, a mentor, or a colleague. Write a letter to that person or take a moment to call them and read your words of gratitude. Model this with your children and have them do the same. This not only will add joy to the recipient’s day, but it feels good to show kindness and gratitude without having a particular reason. We have taught our kids to handwrite thank you notes for gifts received at holidays and birthdays. But this is something even more special. Believe me, you’ll want to do this with your kids again and again.

thank you note and pen

Writing thank you notes is one of the most gracious and polite things my parents taught me.

These are simple tasks to promote kindness in your home. These acts of kindness you can do with your kids can spread positivity way beyond your own family. Hopefully, you can these as a starting point to make a difference in your community and the world around you.

Most importantly, you will be teaching your kids to make a difference with their positive actions. Good lessons all the way around!


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A Dad Among Moms at the Mom2.0 Summit

A Dad Among Moms at the Mom2.0 Summit

I’m gearing up for my second foray into the mom blogging world with big plans to attend the Mom2.0 Summit this coming week on May 2-4. Last year, my good friend Nicole Standley from The Jet Set Family encouraged me to go, and boy was I glad she did. Being among all those amazing and talented bloggers and influencers was a turning point for me, even though I was a dad among moms at the Mom2.0 Summit.

Vera Holroyd and Jon Bailey at Mom2.0

Old friends and new friends combine at Mom2.0 to celebrate and learn together. So glad to spend quality time with my close friend and fellow Hilton Hotels brand ambassador, Vera Holroyd of Passports & Spice.

A Dad Among Moms at the Mom2.0 Summit

Yep, out of the 700+ attendees at Mom2.0 last year in Orlando, I was among the rarified group of maybe a dozen dads in the crowd. At least we stood out! Passing each other in the halls of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Orlando, we men smiled and nodded – shaking hands, exchanging a few words, making friends. To be honest, I felt a little lost because I am not a woman (!) and also not a straight dad. I think I met one other gay dad there, and Mitch Chatain of Gay NYC Dad is accomplished and quite comfortable in his position. Me on the other hand? I felt awkward and tentative, not sure how others would react to my jam.

posing with Flipblogger

Mom2.0 Conference sponsors like Flipblogger make a big impact with attendees.

However, I quickly learned this was the perfect place for me to be. Many other attendees felt awkward and tentative, and there were lots of first-timers there just like me (only not male). They instantly drew me in with welcoming smiles and reassuring stories about their own journeys. I fell in love with all of them instantly.

Suddenly, we weren’t women and men – we were bloggers and influencers all there to learn and support one another. It was powerful and awesome to be a part of it.

attendees learning from conference speaker at Mom2.0

Every conference attendee at Mom2.0 Summit was there to learn, and boy did we ever! Here, Nicole Standley leads a session on travel blogging.

Instant Friends and Lifelong Supporters

With a few good friends and a number of new connections, I dove into the crowd with eyes and mind open. What I received in return was more powerful than anything I could have imagined – true and supportive friends who genuinely want me to succeed.

On an outing with the TODAY Parenting Team to Universal Studios, I boarded the bus at our hotel and sat randomly next to the most wonderful and inspiring woman. Adrian Harrold Wood, PhD and author of Tales of An Educated Debutante, drew me in with the story of her family and background. Her kindness made such an impression that night, I immediately found all her social media platforms and followed her like a crazy stalker. Our virtual friendship has remained strong, and I can’t wait to greet her with a big hug to catch up.

Adrian Wood, PhD

Tales of an Educated Debutante is one of the most intelligent, well-written, heartfelt blogs I have the pleasure of reading.

Another friend that same night has become a mentor of sorts. Catherine Pearlman of The Family Coach is an accomplished parenting specialist and successful author of the book ‘Ignore It’, and the short amount of time we spent together has grown into a steady mutual support system. Although we talk every so often, I can’t wait to see Catherine IRL and talk about that book I keep trying to write.

I met my good friend Amber Mamian of Global Munchkins at Mom2.0 last year, and our friendship has grown tremendously over the past year with many partnerships and knowledge exchanges. She’s destined for the big time (kinda already is a big deal) and I’m grateful for her wisdom and guidance.

Amber Mamian rocks it with her empire Global Munchkins.

I could go on and on about all the amazing women (and men) I am now fortunate to call my friends, all because of attending Mom2.0. I’m looking at you Dana Zucker, Sarah Hirsch, Kim-Marie Evans, Krista Rizzo and so many more.

Brand Relationships Strong and Sure

One of the other important things Nicole impressed upon me was the business of brand partnerships at Mom2.0. Feeling like a total newbie, I wasn’t sure what I could offer brands with my blog and circle of influence.

As it turns out, those brands could not have been more open and interested. When I realized I could just be myself and that is what brands really wanted to see from me, I found my inner strength. I began such a great connection with Kia Motors that now I have actually worked with them, and the same for TODAY Parenting, Marriott, Facebook and a host of others.

test driving Kia at Mom2.0

Kia shows up bigtime at Mom2.0, allowing attendees to test drive the latest models.

Oh, and Maybe an Iris Award

It’s been a long road from last year’s conference to this year’s Mom2.0 Tenth Anniversary Summit in Pasadena. I’ve worked hard, learned a ton, recognized how far I still have to go, and made endless lists of how to get there. Best of all, I’ve collected an amazing group of followers along the way that seem truly interested in my content and what I have to say.

I’m incredibly honored to be recognized by my peers and nominated for Best Dad Blog of the Year in the Iris Awards (the Oscars of the mom blogosphere). The group of dads on this list with me is absolutely stellar, and several of them are friends I will be rooting for on awards night. Jeff Bogle of Out with the Kids and Papa Does Preach‘s Mike Cruse, you’re my Kia crew! To Chris Read of Canadian Dad, Creed Anthony of Captain’s Log, Dad and Buried‘s Mike Julianelle and Someday I’ll Learn‘s Nate Day, I look forward to meeting you and cheering for whomever takes the stage as winner.

What a journey! From newbie to Iris Award nominee in one year. I have Mom2.0 to thank for giving me strength, helping me find my voice, providing me with a support system, and teaching me a TON of shit.

I can’t wait to see what this year’s event brings. My entire next year will be supercharged after this week!