Grandmothers should be remembered on Mother's Day. They are still mothers, even though their children are adults. Also, without them there would be no new crop of parents.
Mother's Day should not, however, devolve into a struggle, no matter how subtle, between older moms and younger moms. That's the kind of thing that can do irreparable harm to a family.
Who Gets Priority?
Moms who are still in the trenches should get primary consideration on Mother's Day.
If the kiddos want to serve their mom breakfast in bed, she should be able to enjoy her slightly burned toast in peace. If they want to take their mother out sans grandmothers, that should be okay, too. Still, at some point grandmothers should get a bit of recognition.
It's true we have Grandparents Day in September, but although it's a real holiday, it hasn't really caught on with many families. Mother's Day is the default holiday for honoring grandmothers. Still, with multiple moms to honor, the logistics can be daunting. Imagine a family in which the children have a mom and a step-mom, plus two grandmothers and a great-grandmother and maybe a step-grandmother — the mind boggles.
Maybe we should start celebrating Mother's Day for a weekend or an entire week instead of trying to cram everything into a single day. My family has several birthdays that fall around Mother's Day, so often we combine the birthdays with Mother's Day to create one giant celebration that takes place around that time, not necessarily on "the day."
Still, when Mother's Day rolls around, everyone is very aware that it is "the day," and every mother would like a phone call. Grandmothers shouldn't sit by the phone and wait for it. It's a better idea for them to call and wish their daughters and daughters-in-law a happy Mother's Day and get their rightful greetings in return.
It shouldn't matter who calls whom.
What to Give
As for gifts, most grandmothers are good with flowers or a card. Many grandparents are downsizing and de-cluttering and don't really need more things. If they are given gifts, most grandmothers prefer sentimental gifts, like photographs of the grandchildren or something made by the grandchildren.
It's also become popular to choose alternatives to traditional gifts, such as gift certificates for massages and pedicures, movie passes or theater tickets. Outdoorsy types will enjoy passes to state parks or national parks. Contributions to a grandmother's favorite charity can be meaningful gifts, too.
Long-distance grandmothers often have to miss out on Mother's Day festivities. Many young families are diligent about sending a gift or flowers, but many others get caught up in their busy lives and forget, for which they should be forgiven.
The bottom line is that grandmothers deserve to be remembered on Mother's Day, but it's best not to have unrealistic expectations for the holiday. We should enjoy our families every single chance we get. A really nice day in the park with grandchildren can be more memorable than a gift, and a warm snuggle can be the most precious gift of all.