I asked my daughter what she thought a mom really wanted for Mother’s Day. “To be left alone,” she told me. Personally, if I was left alone, I’d probably end up folding laundry and wondering where everyone went. I asked my mom once what she wanted for Mother’s Day, and my dad took me aside afterward and said: “Don’t give her anything. She has enough stuff already.” True, she was a hoarder. What to give Mom for Mother’s Day was always a dilemma, and apparently, a lot of others share this same problem.
This year is my third Mother’s Day without my mom, so while I no longer face the gift-giving dilemma, as a long-term mom, I can help by giving you the inside story on what a mom really wants (and needs!) for Mother’s Day. It may not be what you’d think!
Mother’s Day is a short time away and unless you planned ahead with that lovely pre-ordered photo book chronicling your most poignant moments spent with your mother, you may be scrambling your brain trying to come up with the perfect gift.
You could make your dilemma short-lived and painless by simply asking your mom what exactly she would like for Mother’s Day. She knows the day is coming up and if you usually give her something, chances are she’ll be expecting, right? But then again, if she’s like my mom was (or even me- guilty!) she’ll say- “it doesn’t matter.”
Mother’s Day Really DOES Matter
Yeah, let me tell you a secret. It DOES matter. This woman spent nine months carrying you inside of her body- yes, she SHARED her body with you. And, not all of it was sweet little kicks- there were aches, pains, getting nauseated at the whiff of coffee. She had to deal with swollen feet- swollen belly- swollen everything! And she put up with it all for that little baby growing inside of her- you. And that was only the beginning! She sacrificed a great deal, albeit willingly, for you. Her whole life was turned upside down and will never be the same again.
I’m not trying to guilt-trip you into getting a Mother’s Day present, just into celebrating your mom on the day dedicated to not only your birth vessel but probably also the person who wiped your butt and cleaned up your spit too.
What Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day
Every mom is different. Different stages of mom-hood usually mean different wants and needs. You have to ask yourself what does your mom usually do and go from there. What stage is your mom at right now?
Are the kids grown up and moved away? That mom’s best present would include a visit from you. Your time. Take her to a family dinner. If she’s more of a homebody, then bring the party to her. Bring a ready cooked meal or one you prepared in your home and clean up afterward. Talk. Catch up on life and reminisce on memories. If she’s a lot older, breaking out the home movies or slides (yeah, I remember those) may be a neat idea to round up the evening.
Does your mom still have kids at home? Maybe some kids off in the world and others still in the nest? Is she doing laundry and cooking and washing up? She needs an escape- she’s been a mom for a long time and needs reaffirmation that she’s still a woman, not just ‘mom.’
A gift certificate to a spa can be a good idea IF your mom treats herself to this every now and then, however, if she’s the type who has put her desires on a back burner, facing a solo trip to the spa can be daunting, so accompanying your mom there for facials and foot rubs together is a better idea.
If your mom is the type who doesn’t like strangers touching her, a spa day would be terrifying and uncomfortable for her, and bringing her a gift basket with bath salts, a DIY facial scrub and a magazine that she wouldn’t usually purchase for herself may be the better option. Offer to take any younger kids still at home out to the park for a couple of hours so she can relax, undisturbed, in a hot bath.
This mom has her hands full. She may be a stay at home mom (SAHM) or juggling work with mom-hood, and kids may be varying ages but all at home and relying on mom some way or another. This is the mom my daughter was thinking about, and yes, she needs a break.
Don’t give her a memento that will just add to her dusting or a pretty plant that she will feel guilty about when she forgets to water it and it dies.
If you left her home alone, she would undoubtedly be doing laundry or tidying up and not able to relax because she is surrounded by so much stuff-to-do.
Rescue this mom from her usual environment. Take her out to breathe some fresh air- like in a botanical garden, to a picnic pre-packed by you, in a state park or for a boat ride- a boat someone else drives and cleans! If you have to bring the kids and they need monitoring- make sure there is a responsible adult who can keep an eye on the wee ones, otherwise, this mom will take it on herself to do it too.
Take her out to dinner- somewhere that doesn’t have disposable everything. She needs a treat. Then take home a movie of her choice (yes, even if it’s a sappy romance!) and something nice to drink, put the kids to bed early, hide the ironing pile and let her truly unwind.
Other ideas for this mom: a family scrapbook that you have already filled in, because chances are she was thinking about doing it herself, but never found the time.
Mom with Young Kids
This mom is living in a haze and probably has one child tugging at her at all times. She may even cringe at times when she hears someone say “mom.” Yes, she loves being a mom, but she probably misses being a human being too!
Get her a babysitter and take her out so that she can have an adult conversation, drinks without sippy cups and a meal that’s not cut into bite-sized pieces. Make reservations in advance and make it a special, dress up occasion. She may protest that she doesn’t miss wearing heels, but that’s only because she can’t imagine chasing the little ones while wearing them!
This is the mom who would accept that Spa gift certificate, as long as you offered to babysit the kids!
Brand New Mom
This mom is working on half-sleep constantly and she has a long road ahead. She needs someone to take the baby out just so she can get a long hot shower and take a nice nap herself. Her ideal gift is sleep.
Offer to babysit for this mom, tidy up the house and do the dishes, and maybe give her a gift of nice shower gel (she won’t have time for those bath salts!). Bringing a ready-made meal to her would make a nice touch too- just cart away those dishes!
Other Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for All Moms
Making Mom a Meal? Read This First!
Offering to make a meal? What mom wouldn’t love someone else doing the cooking for the day, or just a meal? Before you begin, let me give you a tip- see it to the end. If you cook a beautiful dinner and then leave the clearing and washing up for mom, don’t bother. Mom would be happier having Chinese takeaway with throw away cartons. No one loves washing the dishes. You don’t and neither does she!
Giving Mom Knick Knacks
Refrain from giving knick knacks. Seriously. I can tell you that as a mom we will say thank you because you’re our child. But a knick knack is merely a dust collector and if you gave it to us we will feel guilty about putting it into that yard sale when we need to clean out our house. It will end up sitting on a shelf collecting dust with the forty other figurines that we can’t part with and guess what- you’ll inherit it back!
I once commented on an elderly woman’s extensive cat figurine collection “You must love cats.” She looked at me as if I were crazy and told me that someone gave her a cat figurine once and then everyone, thinking she liked cats, piled these little dust collecting figurines onto her. Her house was full of these glass cats. She would have rather had a cruise with rum runners. So unless it’s a Faberge Egg or a Monet that is more of an investment, hold off on those knick knacks! Give mom memories, not mementos. Next time you find yourself reaching for that glass rabbit, ask yourself- does mom really want this?
Exception to the knick knack rule
AS in grammar, there are always exceptions to the rule. You know your mom best. If she is an avid collector of signed NASCAR baseball caps- and she really really wants that certain one- go for it. If she has a display case holding 39 US quarters displaying the states and you can help her out to reach that 50 to complete her collection, by all means, do it.
Flowers and Chocolate
Ahh, the old stand-by: flowers and chocolate. Actually, they make a great Mother’s Day gift as well and a lot of moms do love their chocolate, so don’t discount this cliche. Pick up a pretty bunch of flowers- and add a unique type of chocolate. There are so many kinds to choose from these days. Does mom like coffee? Think espresso bean chocolate. Raspberry dark chocolate is another good one, and of course, there’s the old Forrest Gump standby of an assorted box of chocolates.
Mother’s Day isn’t about buying expensive presents, or any presents at all. A cup of coffee or tea in bed. A handmade card. Some beautiful kisses and sweet hugs from our babies are the real stuff that makes our heart soar, no matter how old you are (and we are either)! We want to be thanked, loved and appreciated. That’s the kind of stuff moms REALLY want for Mother’s Day.
What’s your idea of a perfect Mother’s Day? Leave a comment below and let us know!
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These are really good ideas. 🙂 I always love it when I can just go out by myself for Mother’s Day. I’m an introvert, and a meal that I don’t have to cook or clean up, enjoyed by myself in peace and quiet is awesome!
Thanks, Leah- and yes, I agree- quiet time & a cuppa works for me (& a break from washing up!). Wishing you a lovely Mother’s Day!