By Caroline Goldstein
Mother’s Day provides us the special opportunity to spend time with our mothers or maternal figures in our lives. Historically, that time is often spent in close physical proximity to our moms. (For many of us, Mother’s Day is also an opportunity for lots of mom-hugs, which are, undoubtedly, the most powerful hug there is.)
This year, of course, things are different: Due to social distancing and quarantine measures, many of us are unable to celebrate with our mothers in person. But that doesn’t mean we can’t shower our moms with the love and appreciation they deserve—in many ways, connecting meaningfully with our moms and loved ones is more important this year than ever. We just have to get a little creative with how we create that connection.
Here are just five ways you can show your mom how much you care about her this May 10th, all while keeping a safe (but loving) distance.
1. Virtually explore the world
Cultural institutions and landmarks around the world are physically closed to the public right now, but many of them have opened their doors virtually.
Most of the world’s major museums are now offering free virtual tours: think the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, MoMA and the Met in New York, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and the Rijskmuseum in Amsterdam. No, it’s not quite a match for seeing the Mona Lisa in person then heading out for champagne at Les Deux Magots. But virtual tours are a fun opportunity for you and your mom to bond over beautiful things all the same.
Alternatively, you can take virtual tours of parks, gardens, and landmarks. Just a few of the literally hundreds of options you can explore include the San Diego Zoo, the United States Botanic Garden, the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, several U.S. national parks, and Disney World (seriously). Bottom line: Whatever attraction you and your mom have ever wanted to visit, there’s a way to do it without leaving home.
2. Take an online class
One of the best ways to bond with someone is by learning a new skill together, and a huge amount of virtual classes makes that possible. Of course, virtual classes have been around for years; but, much like the world’s landmarks and museums, online classes are now available from a much wider selection of institutions and disciplines.
Practicing a yoga, Pilates, or workout class via Zoom is a beautiful way to start your Sunday together. Then, you can hop over to a cooking tutorial, flower arranging class, or join an online painting party. If you and your mom are willing to put a few more weeks and monetary investment into your online course, consider taking a MasterClass with a global leader in their respective field. I think we could all stand to learn about self-expression and authenticity from RuPaul, right?
3. Have a spa day
Spa day: Always a good idea. This year, you can step it up a notch by signing up for a virtual beauty consultation from some of the world’s leading beauty, hair, and skin care brands, like Deciem, Glossier, Dr. Barbara Sturm, John Frieda salons, and sundays, a non-toxic nail salon in New York City. Some of these brands are now offering one-on-one consultations, while others are launching group classes.
If you and your mom are into makeup, you can also schedule a Zoom makeup class or two-on-one session with a professional makeup artist. For example, Huda Beauty is offering beauty consults with their makeup pros, who are offering advice on products, technique, lash application, and step-by-step guides for specific makeup looks. But if there’s a certain makeup artist you love, it can’t hurt to reach out and ask if they’re offering remote sessions.
But if you don’t want to go the class route, that’s fine too! If you’re living apart, send your mom a bespoke beauty care package: things like sheet masks, jade rollers, gel manicure sets, and cult-favorite Baby Foot peels (only for the brave) make great gifts and travel well. Make sure to get doubles of everything so the two of you can mask, facial-massage, paint, and peel together via FaceTime or Zoom.
4. Host a movie night
I don’t know about you, but one of the things I miss most about our pre-isolation life is watching shows and movies with family and friends. Luckily, there are a few ways you can host a virtual movie night with mom.
Start by installing Netflix Party, a Chrome extension that synchronizes video streaming and enables a chat feature among “party” guests. If the movie or show you want to watch is on a streaming platform other than Netflix, download Metastream, a Firefox and Chrome extension. This platform also allows group viewing sessions and chats, but this one is compatible with other major streaming platforms like Hulu and YouTube.
5. Throw a remote happy hour
You can never go wrong with a happy hour, whether virtual or not. Invite your whole family for Zoom drinks, make your favorite cocktails, and share all the things you love about your mom. Bonus points if you send out a recipe for a special Mother’s Day cocktail and snacks.
Caroline Goldstein is a commerce beauty writer for Bustle Digital Group, and her freelance writing has appeared in HelloGiggles, Refinery29, Men's Health, and other publications. Based in New York, she received her MFA in Fiction from New York University, where she taught creative writing to undergraduates and wrote her first novel.