Want to truly make every day Mother's Day? Give her a clean house and some time alone.

Instead of thinking about what to give a mom in your life, think about what you could take away.

Pssst. I've got a Mother's Day secret. Moms don't really need a brunch or flowers, as lovely as those things are. What most moms I know really want are the things she rarely gets—a clean house, and time that belongs to her and her alone.

Don't get me wrong. Moms enjoy spending quality time with their kids. But I know few moms who would say they don't get enough time with their children. Our kid cups are full to overflowing most days. It's quality time with ourselves that we crave, but rarely get.


This is why we lock ourselves in the bathroom on occasion. This is why we sit for a few extra minutes in the car after we park in the driveway. This is why we slowly walk every aisle of Target when we're out for a "quick errand."

We want time to read a book uninterrupted. We want time to slowly drink a cup of coffee and stare out the window. We want time to sit in silence of an empty house and just be without having to think about someone else's needs for a while.

We love our families, but the constant flow of our energy to our loved ones takes its toll.

Moms nurture. We teach. We comfort. We worry. We give ourselves to our children and partners, and most of the time we are happy to do so. It's a role we chose to take on (most of us, anyway) and we wouldn't trade being a mom for anything in the world.

But that doesn't mean we don't need breaks sometimes.

A poll conducted by TVBed.com and reported by the Daily Mail found that out of 2000 moms surveyed, three quarters felt like they live their lives entirely for other people. Many moms reported that they go weeks at a time without any "me time," and on average, mothers get a mere 17 minutes a day to themselves. That's not healthy for anyone.

One of the best things someone can do for a mom who's in the thick of motherhood is take her kids for a while. Make sure she knows they are safe and cared for and having a good time, and tell her to go take a few hours for herself. It doesn't matter what she chooses to do with that time—it's hers.

I guarantee she'll think it's one of the best gifts she's ever gotten.

Studies show that women still take on the lion's share of housework. That takes its toll too.

While gender roles aren't nearly as defined as they used to be, much of the work of childrearing and housekeeping still falls on women. Some of that is natural—babies and toddlers in particular tend to gravitate towards their first source of nourishment and nurturing—but some is leftover from days past when a woman's place was in the home.

And the housework bit gets really old after a few years. When you live with children, there is constant picking up, constant wiping up, constant sweeping up. It never ends. Just to have a decently tidy house requires a consistent, diligent effort to stay on top of the perpetual messiness of it all.

And that's just living with children. One might assume that living with a partner would make housework easier, as you can split the duties. But research shows that women with husbands actually do more housework than single moms do. Unless you live with a man who truly pulls his weight, having a partner actually makes housework worse.

I fortunately married a man who is awesome about splitting household duties, but even at that, our house is rarely clean for longer than a few hours. If someone gifted me few hours of professional house cleaning, I'd be thrilled. Heck, if someone just offered to fold my laundry for a few days, I'd be eternally grateful. Taking away the burden of constant housework, even just for a little while, is a wonderful gift.

I'm telling you, a clean house and time alone. That's what most moms really want anyway.

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Comedy legend Carol Burnett once said, "Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head." She wasn't joking.

Going through childbirth is widely acknowledged as one of the most grueling things a human can endure. Having birthed three babies myself, I can attest that Burnett's description is fairly accurate—if that seemingly impossible lip-stretching feat lasted for hours and involved a much more sensitive part of your body.

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via SNL / YouTube

Christopher Walken is one of the greatest actors of his generation. He's been nominated for an Academy Award twice for best supporting actor, winning once for 1978's "The Deer Hunter" and receiving a nomination for 2002's "Catch Me if You Can."

He's played memorable roles in "Annie Hall," "Pulp Fiction," "Wedding Crashers," "Batman Returns," and countless other films. He's also starred in Shakespeare on the stage and began his career as a dancer.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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Gerrymandering is a funny word, isn't it? Did you know that it's actually a mashup of the name "Gerry" and the word "salamander"? Apparently, in 1812, Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry had a new voting district drawn that seemed to favor his party. On a map, the district looked like a salamander, and a Boston paper published it with the title The GerryMander.

That tidbit of absurdity seems rather tame compared to an entire alphabet made from redrawn voting districts a century later, and yet here we are. God bless America.

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