Motherhood is the most precious and amazing gift in the world. There’s nothing like it. Whether you birthed kids, adopted kids, or whatever your circumstances may be – it’s amazing. Kids are beautiful little people that make your heart feel things you’ve never felt before. It’s unreal. Unlike any other feeling in the world. So what does Mom really want for Mother’s Day? The day that celebrates her greatest gift on the planet. Especially moms of young children – It’s not what you think, I promise.
I see you over there tired mom. You do it all. Whether you work outside the home or stay home all day with kids, you give it 100%. Dishes, laundry, cleaning, paying bills, taking kids to practice, watching games, playing games, refereeing fights, cooking, and everything in between.
And your day is coming – the day that celebrates you! So what is it that moms of young children want for Mother’s Day?
I’ve asked lots of questions recently to large groups of moms and the answer may surprise you! Granted – most of the mom I’ve surveyed are moms of young children. This may be a totally different response from those with older children.
So What Does Mom Really NOT Want for Mother’s Day?
Save your pennies. Get off Amazon. Stop trying to come up with the perfect gift. Because you know what?
She doesn’t want it.
Fancy Meal Out
She doesn’t want some elaborate day filled with messes and long waits at restaurants. She doesn’t want to wrangle three kids into fancy clothes and then attempt to get herself ready while there are little humans tugging at her leg or watching her pee. It’s not fun. It’s not relaxing and it doesn’t make her beam with joy.
Then, when said fancy meal arrives at the table, hers will be stone cold by the time she gets to eat after she finishes cutting up food, or taking kids to the bathroom. Because you know they only have to pee or blow out their diaper when the food arrives.
Host a beautiful lunch with all the moms and moms in law and aunts and everyone else. Nope, nope, nope. Because who’s cooking that meal? And who’s cleaning up that meal? Not fun. Not relaxing at all. Even if you’re a stellar partner and do the cooking, she’ll still feel like she has to clean the house. You may tell her it doesn’t matter because they’re family.
But it does matter to her.
And also, tiny humans that claim to be “starving” then refuse every single thing you put on their plate. No thank you. That’s every other day of the week. Not Mother’s Day.
Family Time/Family Outing
I love having a family fun day. Going to the park, the zoo, the library, the movies – it’s all fabulous and I love hanging out with my fam. But do Moms want to coordinate a family event on Mother’s Day? No. We don’t. We don’t want to hear the kids arguing about what we’re doing. And we don’t want to attempt to get everyone ready to get out the door.
Getting a diaper bag the size of a suitcase ready. Trying to nurse a baby before you head out the door, then someone poops or needs a 50th snack, and by now you’re approaching nap time. Someone is crying because the red shoes are lost or their socks “just aren’t right”. No thank you family outing day. Are you seeing a trend? Not fun and not relaxing.
If you have a limitless budget, you can skip right over this one. But for those of us with a budget and little kids, you know how stressful money can be sometimes. If you’re trying to get out of debt or save money, don’t go spending hundreds or thousands on fancy jewelry for Mom. Because you know what? She will feel guilty about the money. Oh, and it won’t go with my yoga pants and t-shirt. Especially when you have a brand new baby! Who is putting on full on gear to get out of the house? I was lucky if I had clean clothes on when my kids were infants.
There were a few women that responded with jewelry, but far less than I expected when I surveyed them. If you do go this route, make sure you’re pretty confident in her tastes. And I’m not trying to sound ungrateful. But if you don’t have a clue what she likes, you might end up spending hundreds of dollars on something she’d never pick for herself.
Prime example. I have a friend that has a sweet husband who included a lovely heart necklace for Valentine’s on more than one occasion. This girl isn’t a heart necklace kind of girl. As in, she’d never ever choose that for herself. But she felt too guilty to say it. And it’s not because heart necklaces suck. It’s because it’s not her style.
Here’s a perfect example from the survey:
- Something that celebrates my babies. Like a piece of jewelry that has something meaningful about them so when people ask about it I get to talk about them. I got myself a ring with both of their birthstones (opal and turquoise).
If you’re going the jewelry route – go take a look in her dresser or jewelry box so you can stay with her style. Take some pics of her necklaces or bracelets and take those with you when you go shopping. Or stick to the birthstone route.
So now that we have the most obvious “No’s” out of the way, what does she really want? What can you give a mom, especially of tiny kids that she will truly thank you for?
She just wants to take a damn nap. Uninterrupted sleep. No one is in the bed pulling the covers. No one is snoring (hear me on this – don’t even think about grabbing a nap for yourself too while she’s at it). The bed is hers and hers alone. And even better if you take the kids and head out. Get outta there. Leave her alone and let her sleep.
No one can nap well if there are screaming kids in other rooms begging to wake up mommy. Or if there are little knocks at the door every 5 minutes. Silence. Pure and blissful silence.
And I mean a guilt-free nap. Does it mean that she doesn’t love her kids? Hell no. She does love them and she may be their primary caregiver that fixes all the booboos, does the late night feedings, packs their lunches every day, reads to them, bathes them, and does all the other things that her household needs. Just because she wants one day for herself does not make her selfish. She’s not a bad mom because she wants a peaceful sleep.
I remember when I had my son and it became obvious to me right away why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. It can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Or the time my infant daughter decided to not sleep from 10 pm to 6 am every single night. I was losing it. One time I was holding her and just looking at her asking “what do you want?” through tears and clothes filled with spit up. My sister happened to be there, came in the room, took the crying baby, and told me to go sleep. And nothing else. She didn’t ask me a million questions, she didn’t wake me up. She just said sleep. And it was exactly what I needed.
Uninterrupted time alone. To herself. No one asking for stuff, not preparing snacks or refereeing kids, just alone time. Whether she spends that time shopping, at the spa, binge-watching Netflix, crafting, cooking for her own pleasure, or just alone time at home. Hours that belong to only her.
And guilt free hours. Mom doesn’t want to hear you fret about how you’ll do it or what you’ll do. She doesn’t want to make you an elaborate plan for the kids so she can have a few hours. Figure it out. Take them to the park. Take them to Grandma’s house – who cares. Just take the kids. Get them out the door by yourself. Pack the bags and don’t call her to ask her questions. Just go. And leave her alone for a few hours. She’s not being selfish. She just wants a break to be her and not a mom for just a bit.
Maybe she wants to go to Target without the kids in tow or a mile long list that includes sippy cups or diapers. And don’t even think about texting her with the dreaded “what time will you be home” text. That ruins it. Let her take a nice bath or shower – ALONE – and then get ready on her own time and head out for an alone shopping trip. And let her stay as long as she wants. She’ll be relaxed and happy when she returns.
Clean the House
Working, cooking, cleaning, shopping, making sure everyone is picked up from this activity or that one is exhausting for any parent. Cleaning house often falls behind because there’s just no time left at the end of the day.
So many responses I got from moms for dreamy Mother’s Day gifts included a clean house. Is it going to be a lot of work for you, especially if you don’t hire a cleaning team? Yes. It is. But you got this. Clean it from top to bottom – it may turn right back into a pumpkin at midnight, but it’ll make her happy. She can take a day and go shopping alone while you clean. Then you can have that dinner together with the family that night. In a clean kitchen. That she didn’t clean. And that she won’t clean up.
Plan a Lovely Day from Start to Finish
Not every Mom wants time alone, but they want to feel special on Mother’s Day. This seemed to be a popular response from moms. Plan a whole day for her – it doesn’t have to be elaborate, although if you can throw in a massage or pedicure, that’s great too. But the point is that you planned it, she didn’t. And please see above about a fancy brunch or meal. If she’s got to spend hours wrangling kids into fancy clothes and doesn’t even get to enjoy a meal, then pick something else.
Maybe your family loves the park. Get it all together, head out to the park and have a good day. But, if family outings often fall apart if she isn’t coordinating everything, skip it. It could be more along the lines of planning to let her sleep in, feed her breakfast, tell her to go take a nap, and you handle the kids all day. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just the fact that you go out of your way to plan it for her is special.
- “We do church and then an activity together. A museum or bike ride and hubby packs the lunches!” This sounds relaxing and like something that works out for her family. And she didn’t have to make the lunches!
- Time with my family away from the hustle of life. I go on a nature walk/hike with my husband and kids which has become a tradition that I look forward to every Mother’s Day. If the weather cooperates we have a picnic lunch too.
Make plans for a baby sitter and take her to a nice dinner. Plan all of it alone and she’ll be grateful not to have to think of all the details for one day.
Homemade Crafts from the Kids
Some of my favorite gifts for Mother’s Day have been sweet little crafts from my kids. Write out a little questionnaire for your kids to answer – it’s super cute to hear what they have to say, especially little kids. For example – when my son was 5, one of his responses was “for fun, my mom likes to make grocery lists”. Ummm. Nope – no she doesn’t. But it’s a necessary part to keep y’all fed kiddo!
Have them draw a family picture. Head to the dollar store and grab some cheap canvases and let them paint her a picture. You don’t have to be a Pinterest expert at crafting. Think simple. Just something to show her appreciation and love. It can be as simple as a card.
But, if it’s going to involve glitter and glue all over the house that she’ll have to supervise or clean up – Don’t do it! Please for the love of unicorns and llamas, don’t spray the house with glitter and expect her to be thrilled.
Detail Her Car
I was kind of surprised to see this response from so many women. It was pretty popular in the group though. Get your gloves on and get ready to scrub and vacuum out all the grossness that sometimes comes along with mom’s car! One woman said her husband does this every year and she always appreciates it. Pretty nice idea. She gets a super clean car to take her solo Target or spa trip in!
And here’s a tiny sample of the real-life responses from almost 200 women I surveyed about what they really want for Mother’s Day!
- I want to be alone. Completely alone. Not in a separate room….ALONE. Just a couple hours lol
- Take my kids. Seriously, have them as long as you want. I don’t mind cleaning, cooking, sitting in an empty room alone… just TAKE THE KIDS
- A date night where I plan NONE OF IT. Hubby schedules the babysitter, hubby preps all the things for said babysitter, and then takes me out for a long evening of anything I didn’t have to think about planning!
- For alone time to take a bath without someone coming in interrupting my peace. Also for someone to cook me dinner AND clean up the mess. You know, the small things that don’t cost anything. 😉
- An hour to myself!
- A nap….and maybe to shop for myself!
- Someone to clean the house
- A lot of rest and sex (just in case you thought none of them mentioned sex – there was one!)
- Time to myself for a bit then snuggles. To be pampered. Not have to cook. Clean house. Handmade gifts.
- My dream- 1 night alone in a hotel to get a massage then eat in bed and watch chick flicks. in quiet where I don’t have to cut up anyone’s food and where i can use the bathroom by myself = heaven.
- A day OFF!! Or whole weekend would be even better. In a quiet hotel room BY MYSELF with no guilt for it. Room service, maybe a massage, mani/pedi, and wine and my PHONE OFF. Sleep in the next day and go somewhere nice for brunch. With mimosas. A girl can dream, right?!
- I like a “memorable day with the kids” planned by my husband – like painting pottery with my girls. On the bottom of the ceramic piece, i will document our beautiful day together.
- Brunch with my kids. Not to have to do any chores the entire day. That would be a miracle…. especially on a Sunday. I don’t even care about gifts.
- Sleep as long as I want with no interruptions, then time to do things that I enjoy alone.
- We do church and then an activity together. A museum or bike ride and hubby packs the lunches!
- Honestly-I just want my husband to seriously watch the kids while I cook! 100% devoted time to the kids (no scrolling social media, checking email, etc etc) while I do some cooking therapy….ahhhhhhh! Heaven!
- Appreciation. No things. Just appreciation for the hard work and dedication I have both home and at work. It’s not easy as a single mom for sure.
- All I ask for Mother’s Day is to not have to cook, clean, etc. I don’t care if they get me take out or pizza, I just don’t want to have to think about it or take care of it…
- Planned day of mom prop up your feet, we ordered your favorite food(s)…. massage(s) from family/professional), DON’T lift a finger.. etc
- Real love that’s not hallmark and be surrounded by other people that just want to be with me
- No fussing between the boys, sleep in while hubs gets said boys up, a nap with no interruptions, breakfast lunch & dinner & any activities planned for & initiated by someone other than me
- Get my car detailed, a maid, and leave me the hell alone for the day so I can craft without having mom guilt of not doing something productive.
- My love language is acts of service so I like things like getting my car serviced and detailed, doing a chore or two that I hate, something like a clean house and dinner made. Keep your flowers and chocolates, scrub my toilets and I’m yours forever haha
- A day to myself! No meals to prepare, no laundry, no grocery shopping – not doing anything that “needs” doing. I wanna do what I wanna do!!!!
- A cleaning lady, to sleep in, a day at a spa, or dad to take the kids out of the house for a few hours so I could have the house to myself!!
- A nice day planned with my princess but it’s all taken care of… no cooking, cleaning, or people-ing!
I could go on and on. Of course, there are some that say that want a nice family day because they feel like they work all the time and don’t see the family enough. Or a girl’s weekend away, or a trip to a hotel all alone for the weekend. This list certainly doesn’t speak to every mom out there.
But you get the idea. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive or elaborate to make her feel special for Mother’s Day.
What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day
What she really wants is time to feel like herself again, to feel loved and appreciated rest, and then she can wake up the next day and be Super Mom again. Give her a day that’s all hers. And you know what really works? Ask her. Ask her to tell you honestly what she wants. Tell her it’s ok if she just wants to be alone. That doesn’t make her a bad mom and she shouldn’t feel guilty.
Or maybe you know a single mom out there that’s doing it all. Alone. Help her out. Offer to take her kids to the park one day. Even if it isn’t on the actual day of Mother’s Day. Give her a break and let her know she’s appreciated. Arrange a sitter for the two of you to go get a pedicure one day. If her kids are in school, offer to take her to breakfast and coffee and have an adult conversation.
Because she’s it. There’s no one else there to argue about who’s doing the dishes or who’s cleaning up. She is. No one to switch off bath time and bedtime routines. She’s all there is. Hug her tightly and tell her what an amazing job she’s doing. Tell her you see how hard she’s working to keep it all together and she’s enough.
So go hug a mom and tell her she’s enough and she’s doing great. Encourage her to hang in there.
I love my kids. More than anything else in the world.
But if I need a nap or a break, that doesn’t make me love them less. It doesn’t make me ungrateful for the greatest gift I’ve been given in life. And it certainly doesn’t make me wish they weren’t here. It makes me human. And you know what – that’s ok and that’s enough.
Hug your mom, hug your kids, take a nap – enjoy being a mom.
You earned it.
You deserve it.
Don’t forget to join the tribe. I’m a normal mom trying to keep kids alive just like you!