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Friday, May 7, 2010

Mothers Day - Gifts are Nice, but Acts of Kindness are Even Better

Me Circa 1992

Not only a fashion flop (I'm the one with the rose colored glasses and poofy hair), but also one of the last times my mother (tongue sticking out) and I got along. Circa 1992.

A holiday comes once per year that so many fret over in hopes of pleasing moms of all ages and future mothers alike. That holiday is Mothers Day—that day devoted to showing how much we care and love our mothers, grandmothers, and the women in our life.

Often we put so much effort into satisfying the women we are shopping for that we forget about Mom. We hope that if we buy her a sparkly pair of earrings or a new glass paperweight (she already has twenty) that we will give her joy. We hope that if we give her the latest gadget that she will see how much we think about her. Doing these things are wonderful, but I think we usually miss the point about Mothers Day—we forget about the small things.

I recently surveyed thirty women, mostly mothers, about what they really want for Mothers Day. The answers they gave me may surprise you—well unless you’re a mom yourself.

Of the thirty women I surveyed, 16 percent said they wanted more emotional support. Specifically listening to her without judging or offering solutions, a weekend without bickering from her children, spouse or in-laws; receiving acts of kindness; and making her feel special for the day or weekend. I think so many women take care of everyone else’s emotional needs that they often put their own aside.

A woman naturally seeks to do kind works for others without the expectation of anything in return. Of the thirty women I surveyed over half, 63%, said they desired acts of service performed for them as a gift for Mothers Day. They asked for a complimentary babysitter once per month, someone that would plan, purchase, prepare and cleanup dinner, a full night of uninterrupted sleep or one day to sleep in, and breakfast or coffee in bed. Several moms said they just wanted to feel like the queen of their castle for the day by not having to lift a finger.

Twenty-three percent of the women surveyed said they didn’t want any presents bought for them, but that they would rather spend quality time with their family, their friends or all alone. In fact, one mom said that she wished everyone would just vacate the house for the day and let her bask in the quiet of her own home.

Most importantly, I think these moms just need a day to rejuvenate mentally whether by spending a day in a quiet home reading her favorite book, a night with girlfriends over a good movie or an afternoon with her family (remember no arguing or eye-rolling).

Lastly, some gift suggestions for Mothers Day. Mom may want emotional support, acts of service and your presence more than she wants your presents, but gifts are always a nice touch.

Of the thirty women I surveyed forty percent said they loved gifts along with the other non-tangible goods. Of that 40 percent, it was equally divided on whether those gifts should be handmade or bought. To decide which might be the most appropriate for your mom, think about your budget and whether she is sentimental, indifferent or hard to please and purchase or make your gifts accordingly.

For instance, if she is sentimental, you might load a digital photo frame with photographs of her family. If she is indifferent or hard to choose for, purchase a gift card to her favorite restaurant or store. Other solutions that almost all moms enjoy are gift certificates to the theater, salon or spa, nice hotel or even a one time maid service. For something homemade, make gift certificates for sleeping in, doing chores, and making dinner, embellish a wooden frame with craft supplies or pick some wildflowers and put it in a pretty vase. Other ideas are round-trip tickets to see friends or family, a cookbook if she is a culinary experimenter, and a weekend getaway without the kids.

Whether you buy Mom something this year for Mothers Day, go on a walk with her in the woods, or allow her to sleep in until 11 am, the most important thing you can do for her is simply tell her you love her.

In fact, I think we should always think of our mothers no matter the time of the year. The first Sunday of May is the one day with “Mothers Day” written on it, but everyday should be a celebration of our mothers or those that choose to mother us.

Now that is what mothers really want.

This article was written by me and printed in the Burb Mom section of the NeighborsGo insert of the Dallas Morning News on April 30, 2010. Special thanks to my readers who commented on my post, What Do Moms Really Want?, and via my Screwed Up Texan Twitter page--this article wouldn't be possible without y'all. I am also a contributor at


ForeverRhonda said...

I love time alone! My boys are pretty good, last year Jakob and I went to dinner then a movie. We had a wonderful time. Jakob felt really grown-up using Tim's credit card to pay.

Screwed Up Texan said...

Rhonda, What a fun idea!

texasholly said...

I loved this Allie! So true. I love getting gifts, but really, it is all about the amazing family that has been created by becoming a mom.

NitWit1 said...

Since I am not a MOM, except to a few pets, I can only comment on what I observed growing up. My Mother had the great capacity to appreciate a homemade, crude by outside critic, card drown up and proudly given by her children.

She loved gifts, but she knew a gift from the heart, rather than a gift to fulfil a ritual.

DangGina said...

Hope you had a lovely Mother's Day! -My mom's love language is actually Acts of Service; she'd much rather her kids make dinner and do the dishes than get a gift (or even a hug!). Interesting...I'm all about Quality Time and Physical Touch.

Like my tangent? :)

Sell...Party Of 4 said...

Happy Mother's Day!!

Sorry I have been slackin' on the comments. I will get back to normal. One day.

Le'Ann Ruggles said...

It's a good thing I said I didn't want a gift... cuz I didn't get one. Ended up cooking and doing housework after all... so, basically, it was just another Sunday at our house. Nothing special.

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