Homemade cards, home cooked meals and "just being together" will make up the celebration, the mom of 19 tells PEOPLE

By Alicia C. Dennis
Updated May 08, 2015 05:00 PM
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Credit: Taghi Naderzad

When Mother’s Day comes to the Duggar house, the celebration is, well, Duggar-sized.

“Oh boy, do we ever celebrate,” Michelle Duggar, 48, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “We definitely do. Jim Bob and the kids come up with all kinds of ideas.”

For the matriarch of the famously expansive clan, which stars in TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, Mother’s Day usually includes over a dozen handmade cards, no cooking for mom (she might get one of her favorite meals – chicken and dumplings) and all “being together as a family,” she says. Husband Jim Bob, 49, helps the kids with all the preparations, she says.

“My favorite is the handmade cards, those are the most precious keepsakes ever,” she says. “Dad and the older girls have the little ones working on cards. It melts my heart reading them. Those are keepsakes we save, stacked in a box in Jim Bob’s office. I look back at my mother’s day cards through the years and think they are so sweet.”

The mom of 19 says that her family pampers her throughout the day.

“I don’t have to do any cooking, that’s fun,” she says. “I don’t have to plan or think about meals or anything like that. I get really spoiled.”

She says she’s also enjoying being a grandmother. Her daughter Jill, 23, gave birth to son Israel David with husband Derick Dillard on April 6. Meanwhile, her daughter-in-law Anna, 26, who is married to Josh, 27, is expecting the couple’s fourth child. (Josh and Anna are already the proud parents ofMackynzie, 5, Michael, 3, and Marcus, 1.)

Though Anna won’t be joining the rest of the family this year – she and Josh are at their home in Washington, D.C. – Mother’s Day won’t go uncelebrated.

“Josh is good at keeping surprises,” says Anna, who is now more than 30 weeks into her pregnancy. “He usually makes breakfast for the family, we’ll go to church and then maybe go out to lunch or go to the zoo. Any day as a mom that you get to get out and do something fun when you have all little ones is the fun part. Mother’s Day for me is celebrating with the ones who made you a mother.”

She says the word that comes to her when she thinks of being a mother is love.

“I am reminded of my mom and my mother-in-law,” she says. “And being a mother is about love. A definition I like about love is giving to others their basic needs without having any motive of personal reward. And that’s being a mom.”

Her mother-in-law Michelle agrees.

“The joy of being a mom is knowing that you have the privilege of investing into another person’s life for eternity,” Michelle says. “Pointing them in that direction and to success in life – it is one of the greatest things to do with your life.

She says she celebrates the responsibility of motherhood.

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” Michelle says. “We have the privilege of putting our imprint on these little lives.”

RELATED: Michelle Duggar’s Message to Her Daughters About Body Image

19 Kids and Counting airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT) on TLC.

Want more Duggars? Click here to get weekly updates on the stars of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting in the Duggar Family Newsletter.