Whose mom comes first on Mother’s Day? Your own mom, your grandmother, your stepmother, your mother-in-law, your kids’ mom, your surrogate mother? I think I’ll stop here, but you get the idea. There’s a great deal of pressure put on this Hallmark holiday, and it can come at you from all directions.

For example, do you feel obligated to put your mother-in-law first?  Does your wife passively-aggressively pit you against your own mother?  Or has your own mother passed away and you miss her?

And if you’re a mom, WHAT ABOUT YOU ???  How can you avoid being stressed, disappointed or frustrated on Mother’s Day?

To begin with, I’m going to suggest that you take a step back emotionally and give the following things some thought:

(1)  In a perfect world, what would make you the happiest on Mother’s Day?

(2)  Is the way you traditionally spend Mother’s Day okay with you?

(3)  Have you communicated your expectations to your family?

(4)  Are you willing to be flexible?

Next, please understand that the position of “it’s MY day” is a me-me stance; irrespective of who is taking that stance.  In Mediator-speak, “me-me” translates to “lose-lose.”  Instead, think about turning the tables on Mother’s Day with a new attitude.  Change it up!

What would it look like if you started a new family tradition this Mother’s Day?  How about a take-out fried chicken picnic, a bowling tournament, or a cooking challenge?  Get creative with a new approach.  Even if the idea ultimately bombs, just think about how everyone will laugh in the years to come:  “Remember when we did our own ‘Chopped’ episode?  It took weeks to get the kitchen clean!”

On the other hand, would it be so awful if you just checked out entirely?  Took a hike, got a massage, went to Yoga, had a champagne brunch with some non-mothers?

Same rings true if you’re the husband, the dad, the son.  What if you gave your mom and/or your wife permission to change things up this year?  What’s the worst that could happen?

People who get stuck in roles and traditions that don’t bring them joy and gratitude bear the sole responsibility for initiating a change. That change starts with a conversation.  And that conversation starts with the word “I.”  So when you begin to talk about Mother’s Day, remember to express your own feelings first.  Communicate your expectations, translate your ideas with enthusiasm, and then temper them with your willingness to take baby steps.  It’s just for this year, right?

If past Mother’s Days haven’t worked for you for whatever reason, try something new this year — just this once to see how it goes. You might be onto something!  What’s the worst that could happen?