I certainly can’t speak for every mother out there, but my informal survey of mom friends and family members seems to indicate that what most of us want for Mother’s Day this year cannot be contained in a box or bought at a store. While the ideal gift varies based on the age of your children (A mama of a three-year-old wants something very different than a mama of a 30-year-old.), these gift ideas provide options to please all the moms in your life.
1. Alone Time: For most stay-at-home moms with young children, alone time is the most precious gift available. Imagine a day where mom can read a book, eat lunch without having to get up several times, or even use the bathroom without having to negotiate sibling arguments through the door.
How about having a nice family breakfast together and then giving mom the rest of the day off? If she loves to sleep late, let her laze around for the morning and afternoon and meet back together for dinner. The key here (and this is important, gift givers) is to ensure that mom doesn’t return home to a disastrous mess.
Speaking from personal experience, nothing brings a mom down from cloud nine faster than returning from time off and walking into a kitchen with spilled Cheerios on the floor, muddy footprints throughout the house, and toys covering every surface imaginable. Take the kids out for the day, or better yet, do some spring cleaning while mom is taking time off.
2. Memory Book: Create a scrapbook for your mom that details your favorite memories of her from your childhood. If you have siblings, get them to contribute. Come up with categories — funniest memory of mom, sweetest memory of mom, most impressive memory of mom — and include photos or drawings as well. This is a gift destined to become a cherished family treasure.
3. The Gift of Expression: Let your mom know how much you appreciate her by being creative. If you’re a writer, express your feelings in a letter or poem — tell her in great detail all the things you appreciate about her. More of a visual person? Make her a video! To get inspired, check out this music video that Judy Schell’s daughters made her for her 70th birthday.
4. A Family Get Together: Whether your family is spread out across the country or you live minutes away, most moms would love to have all their kids with them on Mother’s Day. If being there in person isn’t possible, you can always Skype or use Google Hangout. My brother is teaching in Turkey, and we set up the computer at the dining room table — it’s almost as good as having him there in person!
5. A Day Out: Sit down and think about what your mom’s ideal day would look like. Does she have a favorite breakfast place? A museum exhibit she’s been wanting to see? Does she love to stroll through gardens or historic neighborhoods? Is there a friend that she’s been wanting to visit but doesn’t want to make the drive alone? It doesn’t have to be expensive. To make it extra fun, you could create a little brochure that includes a list of the activities and the times.
6. Cross Off a To-Do Item: Is there something on your mom’s to-do list that she’s been wanting to get done for years? Fix the screen door? Install new lighting in the kitchen? Vacuum out the sand in the car from last year’s beach vacation? Come up with a list of chores and get them done for her. You’ll be giving her the gift of time and peace of mind.
7. Show Off Your Talents: If your mom paid for singing lessons or attended all your dance recitals, show your appreciation by writing her a song or choreographing a dance for her.
8. Share a Skill: Does your mom want to start a blog or learn some yoga poses? If you’re skilled in these areas, spend a few hours with her teaching her the basics. If you’re not, look into buying her some classes. Check out Skillshare for a great selection of affordable classes that your mom could do right in her own living room.
9. Support Her Favorite Cause: Is your mom passionate about the environment? Does she volunteer with Habitat for Humanity? Does she shelve books for the local library? Show her that you care about what she cares about by making a donation to her favorite cause. Better yet, spend the day volunteering with her!
10. Membership: Is there a local museum or botanical garden that your mom loves? Get her a membership for the gift that really keeps on giving. Bonus: If you really want to make her happy, get yourself a membership as well, and set several dates during the year to spend together.
Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s to more fun and less stuff!