The countdown is on, and Mother’s Day is one of the most important holidays of the year, right? But too often, our outcomes fall short of our mission when it comes to honoring and celebrating the women we love most. I’d like to think I’m a pretty decent gift–giver, having pulled off a few tear–jerkers over the years. But let’s be honest—too often, time constraints, money and imagination limit our gift–giving potential, and it has nothing to do with the depth of love in our hearts. I know my husband has stood frozen in the department store aisles more than once, trying to find something (within budget) that reflects his love and my place in our family. Hello! Impossible, right? Seriously, nothing you buy in a store will ever capture all that she means to you. This year, let’s take back our time and our money by focusing on gifts that reflect Mom’s true spirit. Many of them have no price tag at all.
Store-bought or hand-made, this is definitely the one holiday where the thought and the effort means more than anything. Sit back, and take a look at Mom’s Facebook or Twitter news feeds over the last few months. What has she liked, shared, or talked about the most recently? This is a great place to start. Now, take your ideas, double check them against the 5 Unspoken Rules of Mother’s Day Gift Giving below, and then let the celebration begin!
1. Practical Gifts Are a Substantial Way to Show Love
I know it doesn’t seem all that exciting to you, but if she asks for it, chances are she really wants it. Please don’t let your pursuit of the “perfect gift” blind you from getting her what she asked for. I really wasn’t joking when I said I wanted a new blender . . . I will smile every morning, sending the kids off to school with a fresh fruit smoothie and splashing a little Kahlua and (ice) cream into my morning coffee. I cried over a clock once because I really needed one, and it was exactly the right clock for me.
2. Expensive Isn’t Always Better
I know this isn’t true for everyone—but for bargain savvy moms, the price of an item has no correlation to our happiness. I’d much rather have a low–cost, creative gift than a fancy blender with monthly payments. (See above, and please take note, Dear Husband). And I can do without a trip to the spa that leaves me without grocery money for the week. Buy a $5 canvas from the craft store and a bottle of Modge Podge—then ask me where to find the 7 tubs of keepsake artwork I have collected over the years. Or take some cute pictures of the kids and put them in simple Dollar Store frames. These are my two favorite kid gifts ever, and I think they cost less than 20 dollars combined. Voila! Tears and smiles, guaranteed (as long as you clean up the mess).
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3. Guilt Is the Gift That Keeps on Giving
I have a jewelry box full of macaroni bead necklaces and loom band bracelets that I feel bad about every time I put on my watch. Don’t get me wrong; I love creativity as much as the next person (probably even a little bit more), but please don’t let the kids give me anything that I have to spend the next 20 years feeling guilty about not wearing! And if they’ve already made something on their own, please make sure to praise their thoughtfulness and creativity—then take them to Target so they can add a new, professionally designed accessory to their gift bag! You really can’t go wrong in the scarf aisle at Target, I promise. And the smiles on their faces when I wear the scarves they chose will be your gift to me all year long.
4. Not All Gifts Come From a Store
If it’s already broke, I’d love for you to fix it. Think of it as a selfless expression of your love to me. And this is the absolute best gift option for a family on a budget. We all have a list of things at home that have needed to be repaired for as long as we’ve owned our home (or at least as long as we’ve had children). Fix it! The door knob that has been missing forever or the house numbers that we never put back up when we repainted the porch—it really is the little things that count in this situation. I am sure the kids could come up with 5 items in less than 5 minutes. I mean, they are genuine experts at pointing out anything remotely embarrassing about us, right? And I guarantee they will help you do just about anything if you tell them it’s a Mother’s Day gift to me. Make it a competition! Who can clean their room the best for Mother’s Day? The unspoken rule here is that you can’t ask me to watch the kids while you do it—but I’m sure that would never cross your mind on Mother’s Day weekend, so no worries. (Yes, the whole weekend belongs to us, everybody else gets the rest of the year).
5. We Sometimes Forget How to Relax
When the baby is crying, it genuinely feels to me that “relaxing” would be whatever I can do to make it stop. So when I tell you that I don’t mind getting up with her, it’s really true. I don’t. But it’s not because I don’t want to sleep in, it’s because I forgot how! So please, when I start cleaning up messes and giving kids baths, tell me to go for a walk. Tell me to go to the book store. Tell me to relax, and then when I ignore you, tell me again.