It’s Mom’s big day, so give her gifts that show you’re paying attention.

A Mother’s Day Gift Guide Based in Reality

Not only was I raised by a mother, I married one nearly 29 years ago, so I’ve seen my share of Mother’s Days and watched my share of gifts miss the mark. Those misses were largely based on the fact I was shopping for an idealized perception of motherhood instead of an acknowledgement of their true essence and needs.

So, to rectify that in my life and help you get ahead of the game, here are a few gift ideas you can still order for delivery from Amazon Prime before Sunday, based on things I’ve learned about moms:

  1. Moms need rest. When they’re not up late fixing lunches for littles or scanning social media for insights into their older kids’ lives, moms often spend time staring at the darkened bedroom ceiling, fretting about their children’s respective aches, pains & problems. (Depending on age, this can range from thoughts about an unusually colored turd the previous morning to a tone of voice in a phone call from two weeks ago.) They also get jumpy when they hear unusual noises or obsess over the light on the DVR.
A dark AND quiet room is a rare gift for a mother.

So head over to Amazon and help them rest with a little “bedtime bliss. (Note: for this to work properly, moms need to know that their partners are handling the whole vigilance thing, so make that clear.)

2. Moms need to relax. From lifting crying toddlers and over-stuffed briefcases to carrying boxes of books into the school for book drive, moms don’t hesitate to put a little muscle behind things that matter (or at least SHOULD matter) to their kids. Over time, that leads to knotted muscles, soreness and surprisingly curt responses to husbands who innocently ask when dinner is ready.

These cards are good at tons of places.

So put mom in the hands of a professional with a little spa visit. (Note: she might consider a $50 gift card either too extravagant or not extravagant enough, so you can buy multiples to suit your recipient.)

3. Moms deserve to be waited on. They spend their days cleaning things, setting tables, folding laundry, cooking meals, running errands, picking up/dropping off kids, checking homework and tracking progress in myriad areas (typically while holding down a full time job and multiple kid- and community-related volunteer positions), so they deserve service with a smile.

An aerator is classy AND useful.

Not only does this baby bring out the complex flavors in a wine, it also makes a distinctive sound, triggering mom’s pavlovian response. (ie. “happiness is on its way.”)

4. Moms just want to see their family happy. Sure, kids fuss, husbands brood & dogs track what we assume is mud all over the wood floors, but it’s nice to be reminded of the good times, when everyone is smiling, spontaneously laughing and cozied up doing some activity. These are the good things that bear remembering and you can help with that.

This digital frame is like a happy window.

Just take the time to load her favorite photos (even though she can get them on Instagram) into one of these for a glimpse of goodness no matter what’s causing her to rue reproducing.

5. Moms want REAL memories. Go into most any mom’s closet, attic or storage shed and you’ll find a box (or several) stuffed with their kids’ art work. Done in school, at the dining room table or on the floor in a pool of sunlight, a child’s art captures his or her essence in the moment, so start a chronicle of your own.

Capture the moment in analog.

This little combo of an artist’s sketch pad & pencils can become your “memory capture kit,” whether it’s an annual “hand turkey” drawing, yearly Mother’s Day notes or even the occasional sketch from the one who put those babies in her (or joined in the adoption or fostering or remarriage or all the other wonderful ways families come together).

At the end of the day, the priority is to recognize those remarkable women who go the extra mile (and the extra hour and the extra effort) for their families. They are worth the investment. Oh, and try to do the dishes for once without being asked. That’s good too.

Like what you read? Give Andrew Barlow a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.