No, she doesn’t want bath soaps and a Yankee candle.
Ten things she actually wants with plenty of time to get it right.
You got this.
1. Food and sleep.
Austin likes to “joke around” that he’s never met someone who needs more sleep than I do, and I like to “joke around” that I’ve never met someone who feels the need to comment on other people’s sleep habits more than he does. Seriously though, moms need some serious horizontal time to feel sane all day long, and there’s no better opportunity than Mother’s Day to not bring her breakfast in bed at 6am.
In related news, moms also like to eat good food they didn’t make themselves! If this is groundbreaking information for you, I suggest taking a good hard look in the mirror and then making enough dinner reservations to last the rest of the year. Even if you don’t go out on Mother’s Day, may I suggest using the grocery store? That’s the place with all the ingredients you need to make a few of her favorite dishes. Tip: Don’t bother making something you aren’t going to clean up.
2. Gift card for a massage or pedicure.
Cash is fine, too–as long as you designate where it’s supposed to go (not the grocery bill). Ways to find places to purchase spa gift cards: listening, observing, asking her, asking girlfriends, yelp, Amazon.
3. Acts of service.
Once upon a time in the mid 90s, a man named Gary Chapman wrote a book about love languages and a world of women sighed, nodded their head, and said THIS IS HOW TO LOVE ME. In his book, Chapman outlines five ways to express and experience love called “love languages” including gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch.
I don’t know about you, but my love language has and always will be acts of service. There’s just something about someone taking out the trash and building a dining room table that makes me feel appreciated. This year for Mother’s Day, I’m asking Austin to help me finish a few projects around the house because a baby is coming and that means it is imperative we do rational things like clean all the ceiling fans. (More about love languages via this post)
4. Gift cards for take-out.
Ah yes, my second love language: take-out! The other week Austin surprised us with take-out from Panera and it was basically like renewing our vows. Even if your mom/wife/grandma/aunt/woman loves to cook, everyone needs a break once in awhile from meal planning and scraping the bottom of the crock pot (worst). As someone who does not enjoy cooking or baking or staring blankly into the pantry cupboard–gift cards for take-out to use throughout the year is an invaluable gift.
5. Amazon Prime.
For my birthday this year, Austin renewed our Amazon Prime membership after a nine month hiatus that had me making speeches at 11pm on the psychological importance of “two day shipping.” Let me tell you something friends, nothing says “I appreciate you” more than free movies, tv shows, music, and quick package arrival.
Looking for a sentimental but classy gift? Lately I’ve really been jonesing for one of these personalized necklaces with one letter charm for each of our (almost) three kids. Made by Mary on Etsy makes just that, with various options for lettering, charm size, and necklace length. Best of all, you are supporting a small business (and it’s fun to know all pieces are stamped one by one with hand held tools).
Another sentimental gift, except this one is only 8 bucks (a book) and gets you a little happy mail everytime you post 60 pictures on Instagram. It really is the cheapest way to print those pictures (and a small relief knowing there’s a real print of all your best phone pictures somewhere). How it works: Print your Instagram photos in a book series automatically. Every photo you share to Instagram creates a page in your book. You’ll get a notification each time you get close to 60 new pages. Excluding photos from your book is easy as a tap ( I usually exclude a bunch!). Curate as you go. Editing captions is also a snap, but I leave them out altogether. Don’t have Instagram? No problem. Just upload them from your phone. Order additional subscriptions so loved ones can enjoy your photos as well. Don’t ask Grandma and Grandpa to figure it out – just have them go to the mailbox. $8 dollars shipped. Get your first book free when you subscribe with the code KATEJBAER.
I love my kids. I also love being away from my kids, and I will always stand by the truth that there is nothing more important in motherhood than taking a break, recharging your batteries, and eating brie cheese on someone else’s sofa while you read a juicy novel or binge watch The Mindy Project. Sightseeing is nice too, but not all Airbnb stays have to be 100 miles away. I would gladly sleep over a few blocks away if it meant not waking up to demands for a banana and Caillou at 6am. Fact: We are our best selves when we allow ourselves time off to take a few deep breaths. Someone else planning it? Even better.
My friend Candis makes the loveliest things. Find this Mother’s Day appropriate tote over at The Jones Market and fill it with love (bread) or things from her wish list (also bread?) she loves https://www.village-bakery.com and everything that has to do something with bread. Other bag filler ideas: books, flowers, new sandals, pens (why does everyone keep taking my pens), notes of encouragement from loved ones (I won’t hold my breath). Bonus: It makes the best library bag.
10. Farm fresh flowers.
Things I used to say to Austin: “I don’t need flowers!” “Don’t waste the money on flowers!” “Look at me so low maintenance about flowers!” I don’t say those things anymore. Flowers are nice and mood boosting and for the love, who doesn’t love flowers? Bouqs offers especially gorgeous, eco-friendly, and affordable bouquets. Just make sure to order ahead.