By Erin Ollila
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and you’re at a loss for what to get one of the most special women in your life. It can be difficult to buy for someone who is either pregnant or celebrating the holiday for the first time with their little one. More than any other holiday, you really want to hit this one out of the park. But, what will she love? Start with one of these six categories — all chosen by real-life moms — as a guide to picking the perfect-for-her first Mother’s Day gift.
Who doesn’t love a spa day?
Darlene Ballard, mom of two, says, “In my experience as a mom and a friend to moms, new moms need a moment to themselves, but feel guilty asking for it. Gifting her with an experience to have without her baby, especially in the pampering category, will likely be received very well. Just make sure you’re also offering to watch the baby while she gets a pedicure or massage.”
Not sure what to get? Book and pay for an appointment with her hairdresser for a cut and color, her nail technician for a manicure and pedicure, her esthetician for a facial, or her masseuse for a massage.
As Ballard mentions, a new mom might feel very guilty or uncomfortable leaving her baby to get some alone time, so build her up and make her feel confident that the baby will be well taken care of in her absence. (Basically, if you’re anxious about it, she will be too!)
Another type of pampering includes taking over the daily tasks moms do over and over again and outsourcing them to someone or something more efficient. Sometimes, all moms want is a break from the routine, and taking over chore duty is a special gift.
Mallika Malhotra, mom of three, says “The best gift for a new mom or mom-to-be for Mother’s Day would be dinner delivered for a full week or hiring a housekeeper to help with the laundry and cleaning.”
One caveat — don’t pick a meal delivery service that she’ll need to prepare and cook on her own, even if the ingredients are being shipped to her, unless you plan on doing the cooking (and cleaning) for her. There are many other options that will allow her to sit back and truly relax, such as ordering takeout from her favorite restaurants using a localized meal delivery service.
Another option is to hire a housekeeper to come and do a deep clean of her home. If the mom you’re celebrating is already a meticulous cleaner who prefers things to be done “her way”, hire the housekeeper on a more consistent basis for lighter duties that need to be completed frequently, such as bedsheet turnover, vacuuming, or laundry.
Arts and Crafts
You might feel silly breaking out the craft kit for a mom, but personal gifts create some of the best memories.
“One of the best gifts I have ever received on Mother's Day was for my first Mother's Day,” says Abby Herman, who has a teenage daughter. “While babysitting for me, my own mom created a painting with my daughter's handprints as flowers and her feet as the leaves on the flower stems, framed with a poem. My daughter is 16 now and it's these personalized mementos that mean the most to me. Gifts like this help me reminisce about where we've come and what an amazing young woman my daughter has grown up to be.”
If you’re looking for the perfect first Mother’s Day present for the pregnant woman or new mom in your life, buy a blank scrapbook and commit to filling one page each year with a drawing, art project, or a handprint of her little one. Then, she’ll be able to flip through it every year and see how they’ve grown.
Moms-to-be and new moms often have a list of things they’d like to purchase to remember this new stage in their lives, such as a holiday ornament, a photo canvas of the baby to hang in the nursery, or pottery with the baby’s footprints. As thoughtful as it would be to buy some of these items for her, it would be just as good an idea to give her a gift card to places where she can pick the items that will match her personal style.
And let’s not forget a gift card to some of her favorite stores so she can indulge in whatever it is she likes best, whether it be tools to create art, new shoes, or blueberry bushes for her garden.
Becoming a mother is both a terrifying and exhilarating process, and new moms often want to walk around with their new title as a badge of sorts.
“When I first became a mom, I loved anything that said "Mom" on it,” says boy mom, Cristin Downs. “I was in labor for 41 hours — I basically wanted a billboard that proclaimed I was a mother.” Her favorite present came in the form of an Alex and Ani “Mom” bangle that was gifted by one of her closest friends, but there are options other than jewelry, such as a water bottle or coffee mug or a matching mom-and-baby onesie and t-shirt set.
Mother's Day is a great way to shower new moms with love, but they also need reminding throughout the year.
“A subscription box for new moms would be an awesome gift,” says mom of two Angie Vargas Martin. “I wish that something like that had been available when I was giving birth to my babies.”
Options are endless when it comes to box contents, too. You can get her anything from makeup to clothing to coffee to business books (and more) as part of a recurring subscription box membership.
And membership boxes aren’t your only option for subscriptions. Monthly magazines, wine selections, and flower deliveries show her you care all year long.
Just Don’t Do This
But whatever you do, don’t suggest everyone go out with extended family to a restaurant for brunch — or any meal for that matter.
Jessica Eley, mom of three girls, says, “No one in their right mind should subject a new mother to making herself ‘presentable’, needing to arrive for a time-bound reservation, while schlepping her newborn (and all the stuff that comes with it) to a public place where she will undoubtedly have to handle the baby alone the whole time, talk with absolutely no one, and then swallow cold eggs while someone is signing for the check.”
That being said, a nice meal cooked by someone else is always a treat. If she’s willing, ask if you can come to her home with a catered breakfast. Or, if eating out has always been a tradition, make it a point to assign baby duties to someone other than the moms and grandmothers, and pick a place where no one has to get too dressed up!