If you have ever asked a mom what she wants for a gift, you’ve probably gotten a blank stare in return. I’m certainly guilty of the blank stare, and I know it drives my husband insane! There is an explanation for this. We haven’t gone crazy or temporarily deaf, we’re just trying to think of something we want for ourselves. Moms are so busy putting everyone else’s needs ahead of their own, that it’s difficult to come up with any ideas for you. We can rattle off at least twenty new toys and books for the kids, another dozen items for the spouse, and probably several things for other family members. But something for ourselves? Blank stare.
Perhaps there’s a big celebration coming up: a birthday, Mother’s Day, an anniversary, or maybe you want to give a gift just because (and you are awesome for that!). Sure, you could give the standard gifts, jewelry, chocolate, and wine; we love those (and we NEED the wine)! There is no doubt about that. But did you know there’s something even more amazing that you could give us?
Let me give you a hint: this perfect gift doesn’t come from the store. It’s not something you can grab off a shelf, or special order online. It is more heartfelt and personal. The good news is that it’s a DIY of sorts, and will certainly work wonders for you last-minute gifters. Have you figured out what it is yet?
The one gift moms really want more than anything is appreciation.
It sounds ridiculous, right? Go ahead and scoff, because of course we know you appreciate us. But here’s the thing, we need to hear it.
We need to hear that you notice all the hard work we do. Tell us that you appreciate all the cleaning, laundry and cooking. Don’t just mention the floors when they’re getting dirty, notice them when they’re clean.
The moms of newborns need to hear that you appreciate them staying up all hours of the night. That you see their sleep deprivation, and you are grateful for all that they still manage to get done in spite of it. This is especially important if you’ve ever snored through those baby cries in the middle of the night, because I promise you that even though she knows you need your rest for work the next day, she has still wanted to jab an elbow in your ribs.
The working moms need to hear how incredible they are for maintaining the family-work balance. That’s not an easy feat. Many moms struggle with the guilt of going back to work after the kids were born, and your appreciation could make all the difference to her.
The stay-at-home moms need to hear that you appreciate her sacrificing her sanity to stay home with the children 24/7. The hours for this job are never-ending, and there are rarely any breaks.
Every mother needs to hear that she is a fantastic mom. That she is doing an amazing job raising those tiny humans. She needs you to tell her that she’s making the right decisions, because I guarantee that she has second-guessed herself more than you know. Bottle vs. breastfeeding, co-sleeping vs. cry-it-out, to spank or not to spank, the list goes on for every single detail of a child’s life. Tell her that her children adores her, and that she is shaping them into what will eventually become decent human beings.
We all need to hear that you see us as our own person, not just as a mom. Moms fill so many different roles (teacher, cook, maid, referee, chauffeur, therapist, dare I go on?) that it’s easy to feel like we have lost our own personal identities. Tell us that you see us, and that we are still beautiful regardless of however our bodies have changed from bringing those tiny humans into the world.
Here’s what you need to do for this gift. If you’re not comfortable saying this in person (and that’s okay), grab a pen and some paper, and write all of this down, and more. Tell her why you appreciate her, and don’t hold back. That mother is an amazing woman, and all she really wants is to know that she is loved and appreciated. Be grateful, be kind, be loving. Be her cheerleader.
Give this gift to her all year long. Not just for special occasions. Tell her thank you all the time. Do the dishes for her every once in a while. Help her fold the laundry. Let her sleep in occasionally. And if you really want to put this gift over the top, give it to her with a bottle of wine and some chocolates. This will be the gift she will treasure forever.