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On Mother’s Day, rest is the best gift you can give

Q: What can I do for my wife on Mother’s Day to show her how much she means to me and our young children?

Our seven-year-old daughter (let’s call her Unicornsparkle Spendsallmymoney) is already devising a plan for celebrating her mom on this upcoming Mother’s Day. She whispered part of that plan into my ear at the dinner table the other night, like it was a big secret. “Breakfast in bed,” she said. Old standard, for sure, but I think she’s on the right track. More bed, though, and less breakfast.

Let her sleep. That’s my recommendation.

As parents, it feels like you’re always running. You’re running after the kids all morning, rushing to get them dressed, sprinting to find their shoes, dashing after them to get them into those shoes, tearing through the house to find your keys, finding your keys somehow in the kids’ shoes and then racing them off to school/daycare. And then there’s work, followed immediately thereafter by picking up the kids and transporting them back to your house so you can chase after them all evening in order to get them fed/bathed/caught up on homework/deloused/into bed at a decent hour.

And then, just when you think you get to lie down for seven hours straight, you don’t because (spoiler alert) children wake up very early.

When I sleep, I am incredibly dedicated to the craft. It’s more of a coma. My wife and mother of our two darling children, sweet Annette, though, is more like a Mom-azon Echo, always listening for someone to say the magic word.

I one time witnessed our youngest child whisper “I’m thirsty” in his sleep, and my sweet wife explodes out of bed, not bothering to wait for her eyelids to open or a little thing like consciousness to slow her down, and she was three-quarters of the way back to the boy’s room, a glass of water in hand, before she wakes up, mid-sprint, and began asking questions like, “What is happening right now? Why do I have water? Are the children alright? WHAT IS THIS PLACE?!”

So, yeah. She gets some sleep, but it’s not enough, and I always feel pretty awful about that. I’m trying to be less good at sleeping, but unfortunately, I’m really good at just about everything I try doing, deep-sleeping especially. If someone could kindly point me toward a Lighter Sleeping Academy that is accepting applications, I’d appreciate it.

But until that day comes when you see me post a picture of myself on the front step, holding a blackboard that reads, “First Day at Wake the Hell Up University,” on my Instagram, I am instead trying to work on creating opportunities for my lovely wife to get a mid-afternoon nap in, whenever possible, on the weekends. Any time the kids allow for that to happen. They’re really quite fond of her, I’ve noticed. An hour of separation is sometimes 59 minutes more than they’re willing to give.

Mother’s Day is special, though. She gets to sleep in, if that’s what she wants. I’ve told the kids, get ME up at the crack of dawn. Try not to need anything in the middle of the night, but if you do, please use this Tazer I’ve left by the side of the bed on old Dad to get me moving. DO NOT WAKE UP MOM. Let her rest, children. You can give her the card and oven mitt combo you made her when she gets up of her own volition, probably at 9 a.m., but I have made arrangements for as late as 10.

I think the best gift we can give the mom(s) in your life is the recognition they deserve. Being a mom is a supremely difficult job, and moms don’t always get the kudos they’ve earned. So, that’s why there is Mother’s Day. It’s the day when we can let them know how great they are. Let them know.

And let them rest a little. They’ve earned that, too.

Kelly Hagen is a writer and communications director for North Dakota United. He lives in Bismarck with his wife, Annette, and their two young children. If you have a question you’d like to Ask A Dad, send an e-mail to or leave a comment at the Prairie Parent Facebook page,

Written by Kelly Hagen

Kelly Hagen

Kelly is the Director of Communications at North Dakota United. He has been with NDU since merger in 2013, and worked previously with the North Dakota Public Employees Association since 2011. Kelly is in charge of coordinating and distributing print and electronic communications between members and with the public, is the editor for United Voices magazine, administrates the website and social media properties, and works directly with local leaders to build their own communications infrastructure. Kelly is originally from Wilton, ND. He received an Associate of Arts degree in journalism from Bismarck State College and a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communication from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Prior to his employment with NDU, he worked for the N.D. Department of Health, the Fargo Forum and the Bismarck Tribune. He lives in Bismarck with his wife, Annette, and their two children.

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