Ideas For a Stay-at-Home Mother’s Day 2020

Mother's Day in Quarantine

As part of our “Love Essentially” series, Jackie Pilossoph helps us navigate the complex world of relationships. Have a question that you would like her to answer ? Contact her here, and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

When it comes to Mother’s Day, I’m a planner. Every year, I organize family outings that I feel will be enjoyable and memorable since, aside from my birthday, Mother’s Day is only day of that year that’s about me.

In the past, we’ve spent Mother’s Day at places that include a Cubs Game, Florida with my mom, Michigan Avenue, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Unfortunately, there won’t be any outings this year. The quarantine will have us spending Mother’s Day at home.

Here’s the good news. Staying home doesn’t mean doing nothing. Having been quarantined the past several weeks with two teenagers, we’ve gotten pretty creative when it comes to enjoying our time at home. Here’s my idea of a fun Mother’s Day at home.


Create a song playlist together and dance or work out to it. Sit down with your kids and create a family playlist that includes some of their songs and some of yours. You’ll be surprised at how many of your favorite songs your kids may know from movies and TV shows. Our playlist included “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” “Walking on Sunshine,” and “Dancing Queen.” Then, have a dance party or create a workout. Burning off some energy to great music is fun and healthy for your body and mind.


Have a spa day. Everyone’s in need of some extra self-care right now, and we’re really missing trips to the salon. Turn on some relaxing music, burn an aromatherapy candle, and give yourself an at-home mani/pedi while doing a face mask.

After Lunch:

Hop in the car and go on a John Hughes tour. If you live near Chicago’s North Shore and have older kids who’ve been introduced to John Hughes, Google the locations of scenes from some of his films, “16 Candles,” “Home Alone,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day off.” Then, map out your tour and go! We had so much fun stopping at each location and taking photos. My favorites included Samantha Baker’s house (located in Evanston) and Cameron’s glass garage (located in Highland Park).

Try on your wedding dress. Time to dig that box out of the storage and show your kids the dress you wore when you married Dad. Get over the fact that it might not fit. It doesn’t matter! The reminiscence will bring tears to your eyes (in a good way) and the expression on your kids’ faces when they see their mom in a white gown will entertain you. If you have a daughter, let her try it on and take pictures. We had so much fun doing this, and my 16-year-old daughter decided she wants to wear it at her wedding.

Give back together. Giving back has countless benefits. Have a discussion with your kids about who and how they would like to help the community. Then go online and either donate or sign up to volunteer. One way we chose to help is to put an inspirational sign on our front door every week.


Enjoy an elaborate Mother’s Day dinner. Cooking together is a wonderful time to talk, bond, laugh and learn. Discuss the menu a few days earlier so you can shop for the ingredients. We’ve made lots of meals, but favorites include salmon with soy, ginger and garlic with roasted potatoes, and salad, and spaghetti with meat sauce, mushrooms and asparagus, and warm French bread with roasted garlic spread. Kids might be hesitant to help at first, but if you remind them it’s Mother’s Day, that changes the dynamics.

After Dinner:

Game night. Get the whole family together and play a board game, do trivia, or have a casino night. Here are some great board games to try, plus some ideas for a fun family game night.

This Mother’s Day schedule could be the refreshing change you need; an alternative to kids watching TV, playing video games, or scrolling social media. An, in addition to offering a change of pace, these activities are vehicles for communication, vulnerability, laughter, connection and wonderful memories.

Sure, eating brunch at a fancy restaurant is a traditional way to spend Mother’s Day, and it’s also really nice. But the taste of a meal made by the whole family is just as good if not better. And, receiving Mother’s Day gifts like flowers and chocolates is lovely. But there are no better gifts than the love and warmth of family. The pandemic might be keeping us home this Mother’s Day, but it isn’t changing what Mother’s Day truly means to a mom.

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Jackie Pilossoph is a former television journalist and newspaper features reporter. The author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially, Pilossoph is also the creator of the divorce support website, Divorced Girl Smiling. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers.

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