Flowers (lots of them).
Chocolate (the best of them).
Bubble bath and lotion (all of them).
Jewelry (the most sentimental one).
For seasoned moms, Mother’s Day gifts are not a surprise. We’ve seen them all in one variation or another. If a mom recycles through years past, there’s a good chance she can likely guess the gift you’re so very excited about purchasing her this year.
But what you probably don’t know is that after almost 3 years of a pandemic, she is holding her breath and praying this year will be different.
She is praying her loved ones will take a moment to slip into her proverbial shoes and genuinely understand the terrains she traverses, while wearing stillettos, often in the middle of a thunderstorm.
Despite the lip service, Mother’s Day gifts of years past suggest many loved ones are cluelessly oblivious to the true job description accompanying motherhood.
If only loved ones kept the same energy displayed at the baby shower when the showers of life leave mothers drenched by the weight of never-ending demands and expectations, there’d be registries set up for real mom life way after labor and delivery.
But instead, many moms find themselves patiently waiting for the day when the scale of uneven responsibilities magically tips in their favor so they can be relieved of the daunting expectations and pressures that leave them wishing they could permanently press snooze on the required adulting of the day.
Until Mother’s Day.
That Sunday morning in May when mothers across the country wake up hoping and praying what they REALLY want and need will be...
While many loved ones stick with the safe gift choices, those gifts rarely address the risks the consistent pressure on her physical, mental and emotional well-being brings.
The signs of overwhelm can often be dismissed as anger, lack of patience, lack of focus, forgetfulness, disorganization, disinterest in sex or other enjoyable activities, and irritability. When in fact, a mom who appears to be “difficult” may literally be having a difficult time handling the weight of demands placed upon her.
I implore those who love their mothers to take a moment to examine what might be her biggest stressors or better yet, ask her.
Jam-packed to-do lists, superhuman attentiveness, empathy, and response times have an expiration date, and you may be on the receiving end of the symptoms.
Bottom line, women want to be seen, not just for what they do, but for who she is.
In fact, what women really want is to be cared about and cared for in tangible ways that help to ease their day. She wants her people, not products to show up for her like she shows up for them.
It’s time to throw out the antiquated idea that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and remember, it’s being valued like a diamond that she really wants.
Even though it’s last minute, you still have time to purchase a gift that pushes beyond the walls of Nordstrom or Target and into the inner sanctum of her physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional wish list.
In December, I wrote a 100% unscientifically correct Facebook post asking a group of moms, “Ladies, what do you REALLY want for Christmas (not what they think you want. Lol).” I received over 200 responses. And while there were a few requests for the traditional new car, vacuum cleaner, and handbag, the VAST majority of responses desperately requested gifts most of the folks braving angry parking lots aren’t even thinking about.
In fact, less than 10% of the commenters wanted a physical gift.
Based on my unscientific research, here’s the list I compiled of what moms really want:
She wants a break from the kids. Moms are often consumed by the noise of other people’s demands, cries, and pleas. For one day, she doesn’t want to have to think, plan, or execute. And instead, she desires to bathe in silence and get lost within. Take the kids and responsibilities off her hands for the day and top it off with an Uber Eats gift card for takeout or her favorite book. This will make for a day she will truly remember.
Affirmations, Apologies, and Acknowledgements. Mommy guilt is real. Most mothers are harder on themselves than their kids ever could be. They remember the game they missed, the fever they waited too long to treat, and the gift they couldn’t afford. Here is a moment to remind her that her few lapses of meeting expectations in no way outweigh everything she actually does. Specific recognitions are appreciated always.
She is tired, so don’t wake her up early to open her gifts on Mother's Day. An unhurried morning is indeed a rare gift, one she will value especially the Monday after when she returns to the status quo of carrying an extremely heavy load.
Ask her what she wants. When your job is to constantly anticipate everyone else’s needs, it can be hard to voice your own. Tell her your intention is to get her something that she truly wants and needs. Guessing games are for teenagers, not grown adults. Simply ask.
Hire help. She’s drowning in household demands. Come in for the rescue. Hire someone or solicit someone to help deep clean the house. I'm telling you there are few things more sensual than coming home to a really, really clean house.
She wants time to think, be, and simply have fun. A gift certificate to a hotel would allow her to schedule a staycation at her convenience.
She’s afraid all her hard work will fall apart if she goes away. So a solo trip is probably long overdue. Buy her an airline gift certificate for her to schedule a vacation to refuel.
A package of massage services would really hit the spot. Running around and being responsible for a million other people’s demands is exhausting. While a one-hit-wonder is nice, repeat hits make an impact. Get the package for monthly services.
A meal prep service or food delivery gift cards - she’s tired of cooking. Period.
Coaching services - many women want new jobs and careers and making a major pívot is typically an inside—out job. Get her help. I’m available to help at https://sparkherblaze.com/(shameless plug). She may need someone to help her bridge the gap between where she currently is and where she aspires to be.
Reliable childcare. Although care.com doesn’t offer gift cards, contributing towards child or elder care, so she can schedule a worry-free outing would make a huge difference.
Believe and Invest in her dream. If she's expressed an interest in a dream or passion, a gift certificate for classes, coaches, or courses will bring a smile to her soul.
Schedule A photoshoot with her make-up done and a new outfit, even if you take the photos yourself. She wants to feel beautiful. Make it an event. Filled with more “you’re so beautifuls” than you can count. You won’t regret it.
Help with organization and clutter. She’s so caught up taking care of everything else, some important areas may have fallen through the cracks. A clean, organized house or room can be a woman’s dream come true.
An assistant. She needs help. Virtual assistant services are easy to Google.
Lighten her load. Your superwoman may be dying trying to save everyone else’s world. What can you purchase that will help lighten her load? Order Take out (without her asking). Take the laundry to a laundry service to be washed and folded. Ask her for a grocery list and go get it (no substitutions). Trust me there's a reason why she selected that specific thing.
The mothers in your life want their loved ones to relieve some of the weight they carry or find someone who can.
Whether you are a mom or not, your needs are worthy of being seen, understood, and heard. One of the most selfless gifts you can give to yourself and the world is a woman who shows up in the world as her whole, most beautiful, purposeful self.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Najah Drakes is a Work-Life Balance Strategist, Personal Development Coach, and Self Care Expert at Spark Her Blaze. She helps successful women to purposefully achieve as much success in their personal lives as they do in their professional lives. After over 20 years of working with multi-million dollar companies, Najah now uses her strategic and data analysis skills to help women harness the data of their lives to empower them to live more purposefully physically, mentally, and spiritually.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
LinkedIn: Najah (Ade) Drakes