What Mom really wants (and doesn’t want) for Mother’s Day

    By Kelly Maue

    Mother’s Day can send some of us into a panic. So how do you show that person you care?  

    The usual bouquet, brunch, or spa service all have their rightful place. But if you’re looking for new ideas, read on. Three generations of moms shared their thoughts.

    Find out how to help your mom. Something easy for you to do may be difficult for her. But even if she’s young and healthy, it’s still nice to lend a hand. Whether you plant perennials in her yard, update a light fixture, or wash her car, actions sometimes speak louder than words.

    Most moms are suckers for a homemade gift. One place to find all the inspiration you need is in the aisles of your local craft store. Create a mosaic steppingstone and include a message or handprint. Show her the past year in pictures with a photo collage or album. Incorporate meaningful stones, charms, or colors into a beaded bracelet. Or forgo the craft store and write a heartfelt, handwritten note.

    It’s unanimous – food is always a good idea. So, what does mom like to eat? You could start her day with something like blueberry pancakes and coffee. Or leave the cooking to someone else; book brunch at a favorite restaurant or order her favorite carry-out food with a bottle of wine. This gift idea includes clean-up. Don’t leave any trace of dirty dishes or to-go containers!

    Think about her interests and try to find an idea there. Does she knit? Get some quality yarn in her favorite color. Is she an avid reader? A bookstore gift card would be lovely. Or does she enjoy cooking or traveling? Various magazine subscriptions cater to those hobbies and more. And if she likes to get her hands dirty, some of our moms have enjoyed new gardening gloves, a kneeling pad, or a lightweight hose.

    Does mom love the pool? Find a colorful beach tote or towel and add sunscreen or a new insulated tumbler. Is she a creative cook? Make a gift basket with quality aged balsamic vinegar, flavor-infused olive oil, local honey, or a specialty jam. Or if she enjoys nature, a cooling towel, thick socks, and a fun ball cap could make hiking more fun. But no matter her interests, it will mean a lot to her that you’ve noticed!

    If mom is philanthropic (or doesn’t want more “stuff”), find a cause near and dear to her heart and donate in her name. If you don’t know which charity to pick, there are some outstanding choices for Mother’s Day. Heifer International, OneSky, and St. Jude’s help children in need. Include a thank you from the organization and put it inside your card.

    It may not be possible to get together on Mother’s Day. Perhaps she’s many miles away, or other circumstances keep you apart. So, find a way to reach out. Phone calls, zoom, facetime, or an old-fashioned letter all do the trick. It may sound corny or cliché but tell mom you’re thinking of her.  

    The gift is a safe bet if you know her favorite body lotion, treat, or beverage. And again, she’ll probably appreciate the fact that you’ve noticed. But the moms I talked to stress that you shouldn’t feel the need to have a tangible gift. In other words, don’t buy a random tchotchke to have something wrapped. Instead, save your money and share some of your time.  

    Many people plan outings on Mother’s Day. Mom may look forward to the annual tradition of brunch at her favorite restaurant. However, other moms may not want to fight the crowds. If so, respect those wishes and make plans for another day. Ideas include art fairs, live music, theater, sporting events, or taking a class together. Or take a bike ride or nature walk. If mom would rather stay in, you could cook together and watch one of her favorite movies. Another great idea is to take the time to ask some questions; learn more about her childhood, past, and favorite things.

    Who are other figures in your life that you want to remember? Is there an elderly neighbor who is kind to your children? An aunt? Another nurturing soul? Drop off a card or some hand-picked flowers from your yard. It doesn’t have to cost a thing to wish others a happy Mother’s Day. And you just might make their entire week.