Some of us moms can be notoriously hard to buy for — you could ask us what we want for Christmas and we wouldn’t even have a clue. Truth is, those of us with kids at home spend so much time meeting the needs of those that live under our roof that when it comes to figuring out what we need personally, we don’t have the slightest idea.
Rest assured, gift-givers; all hopes of getting a good gift for Mom are not lost. I’ve compiled a list of the seven most perfect gift ideas for the mom in your life — satisfaction guaranteed.
1. A Night Out
Give Mom the gift of a night out with friends — buy her a gift card to a fun, lively restaurant and offer to watch the kids (and if you’re feeling really ambitious, put them to bed for her, too). Some days it feels to her like the only friends she has are pint-sized, so anything to help her realize that she is still capable of adult conversation is gift enough.
Make sure to solidify the date with her the day you present her with the gift — otherwise, she’ll either forget about it entirely or feel guilty about asking so much of you and not bring it up in the future. We moms are good at both of those things: forgetfulness and unnecessary guilt.
Bonus Tip: If you’re the hubby doing this for your wife, get all your wife’s friends’ husbands to do the same thing — you and all your fellow husbands will score infinite brownie points.
2. A Clean House
You know how many moms would quite literally drool at the thought of having a clean house? As moms, we spend a significant portion of our lives feeling like we’re trapped in the infinite cycle of cleaning — dishes, laundry, sweeping, repeat. It never ends.
Gift Mom a cleaning service for a day — one where they dust, wipe, clean and scrub everything in sight. I struggle to even put into words what any mom would feel upon walking into a clean home that she didn’t even have to clean — how glorious.
Bonus Tip: If you tend to be someone who speaks their mind maybe more often than you should, tread lightly on this option. As much as us moms want a clean house, we don’t want others to think our house is messy (even if it totally is), and if you tend to be the opinionated type, giving this gift can be easily misconstrued. If you do decide to gift this, do it carefully and humbly — say “I just wanted to give you a break for a day” or something of that nature. Don’t make her feel judged for having a messy house — it comes with the territory.
3. A Day to Herself
With constant cries from a baby, nagging questions and stories from littles, hungry bellies pining for lunch, dishes that scream “wash me,” and clothes that cry “fold me,” it takes everything in a mom not to crack under the pressure. We long to have nothing to take care of — just for a change.
So take the kids somewhere away from the house and make sure the hubby is gone, too (unless, of course, a spouse is the one gifting this). This gives Mom the chance to decide what she wants to do, rather than allowing her to morph into what others want or need, or even what needs done around the house. Be clear to her that she is not allowed to use the time to catch up on laundry or cleaning; this is her time to relax and refresh.
Bonus Tip: Provide her with a list of options for her day — when all you do is take care of other people, oftentimes it’s hard to figure out what exactly it is that you want to do. Tell her to read a book, take a bath, sleep, go shopping, or pick up her favorite bite to eat. Whatever it is you know Mom likes to do most, suggest she do that very thing.
4. A Trip to the Grocery Store — Alone
This is one of the easiest gifts to give — offer to watch the kids for a few hours so Mom can aimlessly wander the aisles of the grocery store in peace. Trust me, those few hours without kids in tow for even something as mundane as grocery shopping will feel like heaven to any mom.
Bonus Tip: Give her a gift card to that grocery store she loves but is just too expensive or far away to shop there on the regular, like Trader Joe’s, Heinen’s, or Whole Foods.
5. A Massage
Schedule Mom a massage and tell her you’ll take care of the kids while she’s gone. I don’t think I need to elaborate any further on this one — trust me, she’ll absolutely love it.
Bonus Tip: If you’re the spouse, Google some effective massage techniques for hands, arms, back, legs, and feet and try it yourself — just make sure the kids are gone, of course.
This gift can come in many forms. Whether you take the kids for the entire night, or just watch them for a couple hours during the day, any time at all to sleep is worth more than gold to a mother.
Bonus Tip: If she has a newborn, she especially needs this gift. Offer to stay there for a night. Rather than Mom waking up to the slightest noise or movement, take the baby into the guest room with you — when he/she wakes up to eat, take the baby to Mom (if baby is nursing), and once she’s done, burp and change the baby so Mom can go right back to sleep. Dads can do this one, too! You will be exhausted, but not as exhausted as she is — it will make a world of difference for Mom.
7. A Meal
Why do meal trains stop after the baby is born? Can’t they last till they’re, I don’t know, leaving for college?
Pick a date and tell Mom you’ve got dinner covered that night. Whether that’s ordering a healthy meal for the family from a nearby restaurant, bringing her something homemade or cooking yourself, any meal that Mom didn’t have to cook is sure to be a winner.
Bonus Tip: Bring the meal in a disposable container so she doesn’t have to wash any dishes or remember to return any Tupperware.
Although these aren’t all tangible gifts, they are incredibly meaningful and practical to any mom with lots on her plate (which, let’s be honest, is every mom). So skip the spa kits and chocolate this Christmas — okay, maybe not the chocolate — and do something that will leave her feeling refreshed and appreciated after the busy holiday season.