Friday, May 4, 2012

Out-of-the-Box Mother's Day Ideas

I dedicate this post to all the amazing guys out there.  My husband, of course, being one. Mother's Day is just over a week away!  I am still scheming about what to do for my mom and Rob's mom.  As a woman and a mother, I feel like it might be easier for me to choose a Mother's Day gift than it is for my husband or the boys. While Rob is way past the "Look! I got you a new 57-inch plasma TV so we can watch football--I mean, so you can watch America's Next Top Model!" kind of gift-giving, I think men often struggle with this kind of occasion.  Especially when they are also supposed to represent the kids.

And MOST especially if that woman, like me, isn't really into the following things that the TV seems to think that we want:  jewelry.  Cards that play music.  One billion roses.

Did I mention jewelry?

So here are a few out-of-the-box ideas for Mother's Day.  These may not be for everyone.  Especially if she just wants a big, fat diamond.

Five Hours, Fifty Dollars.   As a mom, it is SO hard to find five minutes, much less than five hours alone.  Encourage her to be guilt-free and self-centered.  Do not call to ask if you should feed the children or ask where that special teddy bear is.  Do send cute photos of what you are doing with the children.  If fifty dollars sounds like a lot of money, you can do less.  But realize that's only ten dollars an hour. Is she worth just above minimum wage to you? With that money she could see a movie and eat a meal or buy like seven shirts at Ross or ten little Caesar's Hot N Ready pizzas or hit a great number of golf balls at the driving range.  Or get a pedicure.  Or save for a rainy day and spend the five hours on a park bench, contemplating the quiet and missing the heck out of the rest of the family.  (But without guilt.)

A Sentimental (or Funny) Video.   Even if you aren't a techie, there are a million ways that you could do this.  Use your webcam or camera to tape messages from you and your kids.  Make a montage of photos set to music using a program online like Magix.  Have tissues handy.

A Day of Servitude.  For one day, trade out and do all of her typical jobs.  Does she get up with the kids? YOU get up with the kids.  Does she make breakfast?  YOU make breakfast.  Does she clean the dishes? YOU clean the dishes.  Does she get the kids ready?  YOU get the kids ready.  I would suggest asking her if she'd prefer you do this on Mother's Day itself or another day.  Sunday would not really make this possible in our house, so I'd choose something like a Monday.  Or Friday.

Buy or Make Something She Pinned on Pinterest.  Get a Pinterest account.  Follow your wife.  See what she likes.  Go buy it.  Or, if it's a DIY thing, make it. You will win the most amazing bonus points ever for seeking out her likes this way. Chances are there are a million things she has pinned that she is secretly hoping someone will buy for her.  If she isn't on Pinterest, try something like searching Amazon's suggestions for her if you can use her login or hack her laptop.

Framed Art.  No matter how old your kids are, I bet that she would love something framed.  Check out the kinds of frames she already likes and uses in the house.  Look at the colors of your walls, the pillows, the accents.  Give your kids paper or paint or markers or crayons in that color palette.  As an alternate, go to one of those paint-your-own pottery places and ask for help. Don't let your kids pick out something like the plaster gorilla (unless your wife loves gorillas).  Choose a coffee mug or cool plate or something she could use or display.

Pampering.  How does she prefer pampering?  Think of pedicures, manicures, facials, haircuts, a house-cleaning service for the week or month, a massage, a spa day, breakfast in bed, making your kids her personal servants (depending on age).  If you are able to think of someone you could pay to do something that is typically a task she hates, hire them.  I would love someone to come be my laundry servant for a week.  Or day.  If you have no money to pay for pampering, do it yourself.  Paint her toenails.  Massage her shoulders.  Do the laundry.

An Event to Remember.  Whether tickets to the theater, WWE, or the leg of the American Idol tour nearest your city, she may love tickets to something special.  If she never gets to dress up but loves to, pick something classy so she can break out those four-inch heels she can't wear while driving carpool.

A Checked-Off Honey-Do List.  I'm sure she has a honey-do for you, whether she has just told you a few (dozen) times or has a handy-dandy Google doc like me.  Find it, do the things on it, and present her with a physical list, checked off.  Word to the wise: I would not suggest doing this as your ONLY gift.

A Meal She Doesn't Have to Cook.  This applies most of all to moms who cook most meals.  Whether you go out to eat, bring in takeout, or make something yourself, there is nothing so sweet or tasty as a meal that she didn't have to prepare herself before sitting down to eat it.

A Box Set of Her Favorite Show.  Grab one or all seasons of her favorite show on DVD.  As an added gift, watch a few episodes.  EVEN and especially if that show is America's Next Top Model.

A Handwritten Note.  You don't have to have a six-dollar card that plays "Who Let the Dogs Out" to get her attention. (Note: she probably wouldn't want a card that played that, ever.) If you write out something on even a napkin, it will probably mean more.  As long as you aren't using the napkin on your dinner table because you forgot to write the card before your Mother's Day dinner.

Twenty Minutes of Uninterrupted Listening.  Don't try to fix the problems.  Don't give advice.  Turn off your cell phone and the TV, look in her eyes, listen, nod, don't fall asleep.  Say things like:  "That must be so hard for you--I'm sorry."  Or, "I totally understand." (Even if you don't.)  Or, "You're so right!"  (Even if she's not.)  Or, "How do you feel about that?"  End the conversation with something like, "I'm so glad we had this talk.  You know that you're the most amazing woman in the world, right?  You are doing a great job as a mother AND a wife."

Hope this list helps!  Please add your own great out-of-the-box ideas in the comments.    

(Side note: I totally swear that I am not writing this for my husband's benefit.  He already knows that I'd love any and everything on this list.  And if not, he can simply think, "Well, that was a freebie."
Also: thanks to grrfeisty for the great graphic!)



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