April showers bring May flowers. And with $1.9 billion spent on floral arrangements for Mother’s Day every year, that’s a lot of buds, blooms, and blossoms.
In fact, 69% of all Mother’s Day gifts are flowers.
We get it. Flowers are easy. They look pretty, they smell pretty, they say “I care,” and you can pick up a pretty decent bouquet at the last minute if you forgot the date (again). (Hint: this year it’s the 13th).
But it’s time to wake up and smell something other than roses. Most moms don’t want an arrangement, floral or edible. So we’re going that extra mile with fresh ideas that will help mom (or another special lady you’re honoring) feel loved and honored.
How do we know all this? Well, if you want something done right – you’d better ask a mom. As the mother of a toddler, I belong to numerous online parenting forums, with a grand total of over 7,000 members. I polled the various groups and compiled a list of the best, most creative and original ideas.
When I was pulling responses together, I noticed that most suggestions fell into one of two categories: ideas for moms of adult children (i.e., you), and ideas for moms of younger children. So we’ve grouped items accordingly, as your mom and the mother of your children may want very different things – but both deserve a little extra recognition and appreciation.
For Your Mom
1. Crafty Class – A Night Out For Her & A Friend
Pinot’s Palette & Painting With a Twist, $35+ per painter
Many moms feel like they have enough “stuff” lying around, so instead of giving yours one more thing to store, dust, care for, etc., why not give her an experience? Think something fun, something educational (ideally a little bit of both) to spark her creativity.
Wine and painting classes will help mom develop her palate and her palette. They’re a great way to relax and indulge in a little artistic expression.
Pinot’s Palette and Painting With A Twist have studios all over the country; check their sites for a local class and sign her up! Act quickly, though – classes are filling up!
Color Me Mine, $35+
If mom prefers clay to canvas, a pottery-painting class is just the thing to help her unwind and express herself.
Sur La Table, $45 – $75
Whether you had gourmet lunches or lived on a steady diet of PB&J growing up, cooking lessons are a fun way for mom to try new techniques and recipes.
Clickin Moms, $10/month, $60/year, $195/lifetime membership
Mom is usually the one behind the camera, so help her learn how to make the most of her DSLR with these online photography lessons.
Tasting Class at Your Local Wine Shop
You don’t have to know the difference between Sancerre and Sauvignon to enjoy wine, but it definitely can’t hurt. A few minutes of Googling should turn up a couple of good options nearby.
2. Window Box
If you were paying attention, you might remember that we said, “no flowers.” Well, this isn’t some insipid, already-wilting bouquet. It’s a fresh, modern planter filled with vibrant greenery. We’d recommend buying (or building) the box, then taking mom to a local nursery for her choice of plants.
A succulent planter is a great choice because these hardy little drought-tolerant guys are decorative yet fairly low-maintenance.
A terra cotta planter is a gardening classic that can accommodate a wide variety of flowers, herbs, and other foliage
3. A Custom Calendar With a Year’s Worth of Family Pictures
Among the many different traits that differentiate moms, you can rest assured that we have one thing in common: we love family pictures. Whether mom likes her calendar on the desk or on the wall, both Shutterfly and Vistaprint have a wide variety of options for layout, style, and theme. And there’s a rush option for last-minute shoppers.
4. Afternoon Tea at a Local Parlour or Hotel
Nothing says “treat yo self” like tiny sandwiches, fancy cookies, and attentive service.
5. A Personalized Letter of Appreciation
Your gift doesn’t have to have a big price tag to make a big impact. A thoughtful and heartfelt note written in a nice card, or on attractive stationery, can mean much more than a splashy, high ticket item.
6. Gifts That Help Those in Need
Donate a newborn baby kit or other philanthropic and meaningful gift to a mother in need, in your mother’s honor. Gifts like these truly go further than just the recipient. And it’ll make mom proud of the person you’ve become.
For Your Partner (Who’s A Mom!)
While moms of adult kids typically want more family time, moms of younger kids often crave a little extra “me time”. As one respondent put it, “We want time off and little-to-no thinking about how to get that time.”
That means that whatever you choose, make sure that your partner doesn’t have to do any of the organizing or mental labor. If you make the reservations, also make sure to buy the movie or theater tickets, arrange for the babysitter, pack the baby’s diaper bag, etc.
1. Alone Time
- A night at a hotel: Alone! – with room service included. Nobody to take care of, pick up after, clean, feed, or pay attention to for the evening. Except herself.
- Quiet time alone at home: You take yourself, the baby, the dog, etc. out for a couple of hours and let her do whatever she wants without interruptions.
- Time to shop: for herself, not groceries or household necessities – without the baby. Unless you’ve tried to navigate a store, changing room, and long checkout line with a squirming, impatient, tantrum-adjacent toddler, you have no idea how much this means.
- Alone time for pampering: It’s easy to let things like haircuts, facials, manicures, and so forth lapse when it’s tough to make the time, let alone make the appointment. She tells you when and where. You book the services, pay ahead of time (don’t forget to tip), and either watch the kid(s) or arrange for childcare. This could be anything from a simple salon visit to a spa day.
2. Slow Cooker Freezer Meals
If you’ve ever played, “What do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know, what do YOU want?” you know that delicious, healthy meals that are ready ahead of time are worth their weight in gold.
So if you’re a good cook, whip up a batch of something that stores and reheats well (check out these family-friendly recipes) and stock the freezer.
Or if you somehow burn water, you can try the Instant Pot, which is 10 gadgets in one (pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake maker, egg cooker, saute/searing, steamer, warmer, and sterilizer).
It cooks food quickly and efficiently, so you can save time arguing about dinner and argue about what show to watch instead.
3. Update (Or, Ahem, Start) the Baby Book
If that adorable album of milestones is still blank, start snapping pictures and filling in baby’s firsts.
4. High-quality Sheets
Pre-wash a set of soft, snuggly linens (like these) and wrap them up with instructions to pick a morning to sleep in. Or better yet, sneak into the bedroom, remake the bed, and tell her to nap as long as she needs.
5. Kid’s (Or Kids’) Hand and Footprints, Framed
6. Personalized Star Map From The Night Your Kids Were Born
When your partner was giving birth, odds are pretty good that you guys weren’t looking up at the constellations. A personalized star map is a beautiful and one of a kind reminder of the night your lives changed forever.
7. Professional Cleaning Service
This was the most popular response to my informal survey – probably every other answer involved the desire to have a clean/organized space without actually having to be the one picking up toys, vacuuming crumbs, folding laundry…you get the idea.
Look up reviews for a local service or use Handy, then send your spouse out for a mani/pedi or a solo coffee shop trip while the cleaners do their thing.
A Final Word To Support The Mom In Your Life
Online parenting groups can be pretty helpful for crowdsourcing recommendations – not just for gift ideas, but for good activities and services in your neighborhood. They can also be a good way to meet other parents and find support.
These groups tend to skew towards moms, but some are set up to include anyone who’s a parent. So look for a parenting group specific to your location and connect your partner to a wonderful gift: community support!