I remember last Mother’s Day. I had been working for Ganz for about two to three weeks when a couple of guys nearby got into a discussion about what to get their wives. They both had new babies at home and it was going to be their wives’ first Mother Day. They were debating between jewellery and flowers. I desperately wanted to interject that what a new mother really needed was some time to herself but I felt like I didn’t know the guys well enough so I held my tongue. I still feel guilty about it – I had the chance to offer some sound advice that a new mother could have benefited from and I was too shy to impart it!
Although I may sound cynical I will admit that the best Mother’s Day gift I ever received was a beautiful poem written by one of my sons two years ago. (In fact he’s kind of set the bar so high that his brothers don’t really stand a chance of beating it, but I will happily take full advantage of their attempts to try.) And I treasure every hand crafted Mother’s Day gift and/or card I have ever received.
Having said that, I do have some suggestions for Mother’s Day gifts that don’t involve little hand prints or home-made presents or cards. They involve Mom getting some time to relax, with or without her family along.
1. A day – or just an hour – at the spa
Mothers spend so much time running around taking care of everyone else that one day a year it is nice to be the one being taken care of. This doesn’t have to be an exorbitant gift – while a massage or facial, while wonderful, can be expensive, a manicure can cost as little as a bouquet from the florist and still offer a much needed break. And it doesn’t have to be a solitary exercise. A Mother’s Day spa afternoon is the perfect time for a mother to connect with her little girl while they get their nails done together.
2. A movie of her choice
Whether it involves a trip to the cinema or just renting a few videos to watch at home, sometimes it’s nice to just veg in front of a chick flick for a couple of hours. Much as I love children’s movies (I work at Ganz – a passion for children’s entertainment is a prerequisite) even I can get my fill of family flicks, or sci-fi action adventure. Give me a period piece and I’m in heaven. Your mom might like foreign films, romantic comedies, or (like me) have hours of taped Daily Shows to catch up on. It doesn’t really matter what she watches as long as it gives her a chance to escape to another world for a couple of hours.
3. Breakfast in bed or dinner out
These are the standards but I have one caveat to add. While the breakfast in bed itself is great – what’s even better is coming downstairs afterwards to a spotless kitchen. If you decide to treat mom with one of these simple recipes, be sure to clean up after yourself. That will be the icing on the cake. Dinner out in a restaurant of mom’s choice is a pleasant break for the whole family and, as with the suggestion above, the added treat for Mom is not having to cook or clean up after anyone.
4. A great book and an afternoon to read it
This suggestion works best when there’s a hammock involved. If your Mom is anything like me or most of the mothers I know, she feels guilty taking time out for herself. There are so few times that we get the opportunity to put our own needs before everyone else’s. So at least one day out of the year we need to put our guilt aside and take a couple of hours to do absolutely nothing. Whether she reads a book or magazine, does a crossword, or even has a nap, the important thing is for Mom to relax.
5. Coupon book for chores
I know this has been done, but if you’re prepared to actually carry out the list of chores in your coupon book, then by all means do it! There is nothing we welcome more than someone offering to take something off of our plate!
This list of gift ideas is not going to be ideal for everyone. I’m sure there are plenty of moms out there with well-organized homes whose kids are trained to pick up after themselves, take turns cooking and let Mom have some peace and quiet once in a while. But for mothers like me, who are drowning in piles of laundry, never seem to have enough hours in the day, and can’t seem to get on top of all those household chores without a small human constantly hanging off them, then some time to chill out is probably just what the doctor ordered.
Oh, and do you know what would complement any of the gift ideas on this list perfectly? A hand print craft and a home-made card.