No and low-cost gift ideas for moms

Mother’s Day is Sunday.  I saw a cartoon this week where a woman was interviewing for a job as a mom.  She said to the interviewer, “So, I only get one day off for Mother’s Day?”  The interviewer responded, “Yes, and technically we still work then.”  I laughed.  It was funny in the way that something is when it has a nugget of truth in it.  There are no days off from motherhood.

Ideally, all moms would be able to relax on Sunday and do what they want to do.  But, that’s just not reality.  And, sadly, many moms I know have low expectations for this holiday.  However, it doesn’t take much to make moms happy.  I write this from the perspective of a mom with little ones.  In case you haven’t done any shopping, yet, or are budget strapped, here are some mostly free ideas for moms of young children this Mother’s Day.

1. Give her the gift of a nap.  Yep.  This is my number one.  I love naps.  At any given moment, I would happily fall asleep if I could.  This includes a nap sitting straight up in a chair (been there, done that).  A nap where someone else is in charge of my youngsters for a couple of hours and I actually get to lie down in bed?  Now THAT’S a wonderful gift!

2. Give her a compliment on her appearance.  When I had some upper back pain recently, I realized part of the problem could be that I’m constantly hunched over doing things like changing diapers, nursing, playing games, wiping faces, etc.  Between my hunching, my post-babies’ body (which wasn’t a stellar one to begin with) and the fact that I’m beyond overdue for a hair cut, there’s nothing about me that feels attractive 99.9% of the time.  Sometimes I’ve literally looked in the mirror and done a double-take when I find that I don’t look nearly like the exhausted, hunchbacked zombie I feel like I am.  A sincere compliment from my husband might make me roll my eyes on the outside, but it also makes me feel good on the inside.

The beautiful flowers my husband recently gave me that brightened my day and were ideal for me in that I can enjoy them for a couple of weeks but not feel pressured to plant them and keep them alive.

3. Give her some flowers.  Listen, I have a fear of plants (I admit way too much in this blog) and even I love getting flowers.  There’s just something cheerful and uplifting about a vase of fresh flowers.  They don’t have to be anything fancy.  A bouquet of fresh flowers from the grocery store are just fine.  The best kind of flowers to a gal like me are those I can enjoy in a vase for a week or two then throw out.  (This is why my wise husband brought me home some beautiful yellow roses last week instead of my favorite spring flower of tulips because he knew the tulips would cause me pressure to keep them and keep them alive.)  Other moms might like the kind they can plant and maintain.  Whatever your lady likes, go for it!

4. Give her a night off from cooking. Even better, give her the whole day off!  Whether we’re the kind of mom who cooks everything from scratch or relies on convenience food or somewhere in between the two, moms of little ones are constantly doing food prep of some sort.  We probably don’t mind most of the time, but getting a break from making three square meals plus snacks for a day is nice.  Even better is a homemade meal that we didn’t have to lift a finger for, but takeout or dinner out works, too.

5. Give her the gift of laundry.  I still keep my laundry schedule as best I can with a newborn and 3-year-old, but I also pretty much always have a load of laundry hanging over my head.  Right now, I do really, really well if I get two loads of laundry finished in one day.  More typical is one load of laundry and even that may sit in the dryer for a few hours (or overnight…).  Doing laundry for any mother is a blessing.

6. Give her the gift of a clean house.  There are all sorts of sayings about how cleaning your house when you have young children is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos or shoveling while it’s still snowing.  And they are all true.  Any home in which young children reside could use some cleaning whether it’s putting away some toys, scrubbing toilets or vacuuming.  If I weren’t so embarrassed to do so, I’d take a photo of my living room right now and show you the help it needs, even while it’s not nearly as bad as it has been in the past.

7. Give her the gift of uninterrupted time with her children.  What moms really want (after more sleep) is more good memories with their children.  Most of us have realized that their childhoods go flying by.  Sometimes doing the above tasks and chores keeps from being able to just sit for long periods and enjoy our children.  Moms need that.  Children need that.  Take mom out of the house with the kiddos and have a picnic.  Or just let her sit for the day and play with the kiddos without having to worry about cooking or cleaning.

8. Give her gifts made with love.  A craft created by little hands just for mom that mom didn’t have anything to do with is special.  Yes, we are that easy.

9. Give her the gift of alone time.  We definitely want more memories with our kids, but we also could use some alone time to sleep, read, sleep, shop, sleep, watch television, sleep or whatever we want to do.  I’ve been almost finished with the same book for the last three months since the birth of my son.  I seriously could have the book finished at least within an hour, but finding an hour to just sit and read on any given day is impossible.  Maybe make mom’s alone time outside of home so she’s not tempted to clean or catch up on other chores.  We’re kind of crazy like that.

10. Give her the gift of appreciation.  Moms do what they do out of love.  We get up every morning and wipe noses, make lunches, play pretend, do laundry, kiss boo-boos, hug through tears and even discipline because we love our children more than anything else. But, we still need to hear thank-you sometimes.  We need to hear it from our spouses and from our children.  My husband has been good at this so our daughter is learning to as well.  Just the other night she thanked me for dinner while she was eating.  Everyone likes to be appreciated.  We moms need to know that all our hard work and sacrifices are being noticed.  We don’t do them for glory or for thanks.  We do these things for love, but being appreciated makes us feel good and helps strengthen us to keep going.

Moms really are pretty easy to do things for.  We appreciate small acts of kindness.  Most of the time we’re so busy taking care of everyone else that we don’t do much for ourselves, so when someone else does something to take care of us, we appreciate it.  We accept it as a gift.  And we enjoy it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow mamas!  You are awesome, strong women who are doing the best for your children.  May your day be filled with lots of love and laughter and, if you’re lucky, a nice, long nap!

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