Mother’s Day wish list: Express love for your mom without strings attached

Reem Al Sheedi tells her hospitalized mother that she loves her every day because
Reem Al Sheedi tells her hospitalized mother that she loves her every day because “I want to give her energy and strength” and love, expressed with warmth and sincerity, is healing. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Sunday is the designated day to tell the woman who gave you life exactly how much she means to you in word and deed.

But why wait?

“I tell my mother I love her every other day,” usually by phone, Facetime or text, said Ethan Mayo, 25, a dance teacher who lives in Hell’s Kitchen.

Sometimes his hug is “just an emoticon” as his mom lives far away in Alabama, but expressing affection and appreciation to his mom comes easy, said Mayo, as she has modeled love, acceptance and concern for him. Mayo and his mom “are very, very close,” he said.

Eight in 10 respondents told Lands’ End in a survey connected to its #DearMom promotion that they didn’t tell their mom they loved her as often as they should.

Another 63% said they don’t spend enough “quality time” with mom and 45% copped to a difficult time knowing, exactly, how to even show her they care.

Here’s a tip: Try telling mom you love her when you don’t want something. “It’s ‘I love you mom. Can I have a new pair of sneakers? I love you mom. Will you buy me a pair of jeans?’” said Angela Reed, 46, an account manager who lives in Cambria Heights, Queens.

She’s delighted that her kids are killing it grade wise, but it would be oh so nice if the tender moments didn’t preface a request. “I get a hug here and there, but they really say it (i.e. “I love you”) when they want something,” Reed said.

Not to say the sacred relationship between a mother and child is transactional, but some moms can’t help but notice that giant financial sacrifice precipitates declarations of adoration. “I’m paying the Hofstra bill: My son tells me he loves me all the time now,” said an amused Maria Skiba, 53, an accountant who lives in Sparta, N.J. She can’t count all the “I love yous” that pour in via phone and text now that her 18-year-old “squeaky clean overachieving” son is aware of college costs.

Other moms say you have to show love to get love — something Eneida Lugo, 53, of Clinton, says she did not know how to do before taking classes in parenting skills classes at New York Foundling many years ago. After having learned how to validate her children with love, acceptance and affection, she said, her seven children “show me their love – they really do! They hug me and caress me!” Their expressions mean a lot, she said, because “tomorrow is never promised.”

That is something that Reem Al Sheedi, 11, visiting from Dubai and staying in midtown with her maternal aunts, is just beginning to realize. Al Sheedi’s mother is being treated for colon cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Al Sheedi greets and leaves her mother every day with the Arabic words for “I love you,” hoping the sentiment will boost her mom’s immune system. Nothing gives a mom a lift like knowing how much she is loved and appreciated, Al Sheedi explained.

“I love her so much and she is sick: I want to give her energy and strength,” Al Sheedi said.

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