Mother's Day is three days away and you've got nothing. Goose egg. Nada. Feelin' the heat?
But guys, it's actually easier than you think. I surveyed lots of moms to find out what they really want, and the answers might surprise you... Take a look, and hint: get out your notebook before you pull out the checkbook and head to your old standby gift-getting haunts.
First, the Top 5 Easy Gifts You’re Not Thinking of…
1. A Clean Car
"Detail the family car to rid it of crumbs sticky seats, sand, and the faint smell of vomit." Tara Guerard, event planner & entertaining expert, mother of 3
2. A Maid for a Day
"Not just a gift card for a maid service, but the maid, already scheduled, at my house, to clean it top to bottom. I try to stay ahead of the housework as much as I can, but I never succeed. It's always a clean bathroom here, a vacuumed den there, a straightened playroom somewhere in between. But never all at once. That would be perfect. Just call and book it." Lauren, freelance writer, mother of 1
3. A Well-Written Letter
"Something that tells me my sacrifices as a mom haven't gone unnoticed. I hope to one day receive that from my daughter (she’s 5 now) in 10 or 15 years. Or the letter can come from her dad. Or both. ;-) And if that's too much to hope for, I'll take a massage, no spa necessary!" —Stephanie, stay-at-home mom, mother of 1
4. Super-Secret Covert Missions
"My favorite thing is when my husband gets the kids together to make something super secret for me, whether it's cards or food." —Rosie, stay-at-home mom, mother of 3, expecting her fourth
5. Coupon Book
"A coupon book from the hubby with date nights, dishes, laundry, pass on the bedtime routine." —Renee, marketing executive, mother of 2
The Old Stand-Bys, Some New Ideas... Which One Should You Pick?
Well, that depends... On who she is, of course. See, I offered my list of moms a list of 7 possible gift ideas and asked them to rank them according to which they’d want most. I figured I could dish on what ranked highest and lowest.
Wrong. Responses were all over the map. For every reply along the lines of "I’d LOVE a facial," I got another saying, "Ew, that’s overrated." Bottom line? Think about WHO she is before you commit to a gift. What works for one mom is not so hot for others... Here's those eight ideas, and some responses.
COMMENTS: A rare treat for some, overrated for others.
IDEA: New kitchen backsplash or other aesthetic home improvement
COMMENTS: Half of respondents would love this—but not exactly a last-minute gift, and not crazy-easy to pull off without looking like you don't have your shit together. The one rule across the board: no DIY action is allowed. Only professionally installed improvements qualify. If you DO have an upgrade you've been talking about, now's the time to announce it and make an appointment with the professionals, so it's clear this handsome new project is very much in the works.
IDEA: A free-and-clear Saturday for shopping, lunch, and a nap
COMMENTS: This was WAY popular, and therefore could be one of your best bets. It's the "no responsibilities for a day" that hooked these moms, and the fact that's it's a rarity. Granted, you've got to wrangle the kids around for a day, but come on... how easy is THIS gift?
IDEA: A stack of your page-turner beach reads and a hammock to read them in
COMMENTS: Nice idea, said most, and hugely attractive. But where I lost these moms was that it's not exactly realistic. Who's picking out all the books? Where's the hammock—at home or somewhere else? Where are the kids? Am I away from the chaos? Nah. Move on.
IDEA: A morning to sleep in
COMMENTS: Speaking of unrealistic, most moms just laughed at this "gift." There's no stinking way, said many, they're going to get peace, shut-eye, rest like this, so keep dreaming and again, move on. My sister contends that no gift of "relaxing at home" is actually relaxing. Better to find a gift that actually makes sense.
IDEA: A day at the beach with the fam, picnic and supplies already packed.
COMMENTS: A few said this is no rarity, but what these moms DID like? The idea of everything being packed for them and an outing for the family. This was a big win, so maybe we're onto something there... You do the legwork and planning (bingo!), and take the crew somewhere fun.
IDEA: Saturday night on the town, with a driver
COMMENTS: Sure, sounds fun, said respondents. But you better go back to that theme of taking the time to pre-plan the itinerary and show that some effort has gone into it, or it could backfire as an easy-way-out.
Bonus Thoughts from Tara Guerard (These are Funny!)
-Hire household staff to include child care, cooking and cleaning. Even a week would be nice. (Ok, we'll settle for one day.)
-Exercise/spa day to prevent premature aging brought on by childhood sunburns and 3 pregnancies, not to mention heavy consumption of alcohol from 8th grade to present
-Shopping day to replace clothes bought from J. Crew catalog circa 1997
-Take 13 year old dog for teeth cleaning - her breath is like godzilla's.