Skip to content

What moms really want for mothers day: a manual, written by moms

What moms really want for mothers day

Happy Friday!

I hope you had a great week! We have very little plans this weekend, which I’m grateful for, and plan to take it easy and relax after we both had a bit of a busy workweek!

Today we’re talking about mothers day again! While I am obviously working on some traditional “mothers day gift guide” type posts this year, as I always do, I also thought it would be great to poll YOU all to ask what you REALLY want this year for mothers day.

It seems like the older I get (I suppose the more I’m surrounded by others with young kids) I hear more and more stories about moms not getting the recognition they deserve on the ONE day a year that is supposed to be about them! And I’m not going to let that happen if I can do something about it.

So for all the moms out there, I’ve composed this manual that you can share with your partner to bring some awareness around what moms really want and need. (By the way, this doesn’t apply JUST for mothers day, so please bookmark this post and come back to it anytime you need a reminder of how to make your partner feel appreciated!)

What Moms Really Want for Mothers Day

I would like to make it my personal mission that every mom is treated like she deserves on the holiday that is supposed to be all about her. ♥️

I would also like to point out that this guide really is geared toward moms of young kids–I feel like mothers day is especially important in this particular phase of life, because it’s all consuming–the phase when we’re doing the most and could really use the extra appreciation. (Not that OUR moms don’t deserve this too, but it just seems like the day itself is a lot more important when you NEVER get a day to yourself much less an hour that is about you.)

So, keep reading, for crowdsourced ideas (including some of my own) on what moms really want for mothers day. (And a special shout out to my amazing husband, who, for the last three years (including when I was pregnant) has made me feel like a queen on mothers day! Many of these ideas are inspired by the ways he makes me feel special.)

So…how do you give your partner a great Mother’s Day?

First thing’s first, you can’t give her a great mothers day experience if you don’t know what she wants. If you don’t know, ask her. Don’t guess! Ask her now. Ahead of time. Something like, “I wanted to plan ahead for mothers day to make sure I can give you the perfect day because I appreciate you so much. What would you like to do? How can I make you feel special?”

Why is it so important to ask this? Because…

A. It shows you care and that you prioritize her. Asking and planning ahead might even mean more to her than the actual day itself, especially if it’s something you don’t normally do. 😬

B. Everyone’s love language is different–a physical gift may be really important to one mom where another doesn’t care about a physical gift at all and really just wants some time to herself. Some moms want to spend quality time with the whole family, others just really want time alone! You won’t know unless you ask!

A note on taking on the invisible labor:

I would also like to call attention to the fact that a lot of partners on mothers day fail to plan to account for the *invisible labor* part of mothers day. Please read this article that explains it better than I ever could and consider reading it part of your mothers day gift to your partner. This means that whatever you plan for her, make sure you’ve thought through all the work involved to also execute that plan. (Things you may not often have to think about, because she does them without your knowledge.)

What might that look like? Well, let’s use the example from the article, because “hiring a cleaning service” was a very popular submission for what readers wanted for mothers day.

If you say you’re going to hire a cleaning service for her, you should do the work to find and secure and schedule the cleaning service, and make sure you are around to prep the house for said cleaning service–making sure that your cleaning supplies are well stocked and the house is picked up enough and in the appropriate condition to be deep cleaned. (Yes, “cleaning for the cleaning lady” is real and it’s sometimes a lot of work and that work should be included in your gift.)

It’s important to understand that it’s not just the monetary value that is the gift–the REAL gift is doing all the invisible work associated with that gift, so it doesn’t fall on her and in turn, just create more work for her!

What moms really want for mothers day

The “best mothers day ever” formula:

All of that being said, if you’re not sure where to begin to give your partner an excellent mothers day, when in doubt, I think it’s hard to go wrong with this combination:

A little gift + act of service and/or meaningful words of appreciation+ time to sleep and/or relax = the ultimate mothers day!

A purchased gift might be a physical gift like a piece of jewelry, or for someone who isn’t a big “gift” person, simply a nice bouquet of flowers, or maybe a croissant from her favorite bakery. (Taking a page out of Neal’s book, here. 😉)

Or the “gift” might be an experience gift, like a massage, a hotel room, a nice dinner, etc. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but spending SOME money is appreciated. It shows that her happiness is a very worthwhile investment.

This, paired with an act of service (making her breakfast in bed, getting her car washed, not letting her change diapers for a whole day–however big or small) is great, but most importantly, planning ahead to give her the time to relax and get some peace and quiet is most important of all! (For example, maybe you could surprise her with a sweet card and flowers, and then take the kids to the park and to get her car washed if that’s something she wants–also giving her a solid two hours of alone time! BOOM. That’s it. Not hard!)

Or maybe what is most important to her is hearing how much you value her. Taking the time to write a nice card or letter might mean more than any gift you could purchase! (You know her love language best!) More on the card below.

Also important:

The things you choose should be things that don’t normally happen under everyday circumstances. For example, if you already have a regular cleaning service, hiring them to come again isn’t exactly a gift. But for a mom that always is cleaning the house on her own and is exhausted from it, it would be the ultimate treat.

Or, booking a hair appointment for a mom that doesn’t do much to her hair and only cuts it every 6 months isn’t exciting and is more of a chore. But for a mom that has been saying “I really need to get my hair done!” for months–it’s ideal!

Or, quality time might be most important to a mom with a busy schedule, where the family doesn’t often have a lot of downtime together! Whereas, some moms spend all day every day with their kids and just need a break!

Make sense? Know your audience.

Not sure where to start? I polled lots of moms on Instagram asking what they wanted for mothers day–here are their responses!

Jess Keys and family

Mothers Day Experience gifts:

Some of your most popular responses…

Book her a spa day, hair appointment, or even better–a staycation in a hotel. If you aren’t sure WHERE to book these things–ask her friends! Make sure to make it clear that you will fully handle the kids that entire time and she doesn’t need to lift a finger to prep anything for the time she’ll be gone, either. *Are these original or creative? No, but they’re by far the most popular submission! Also the latter part is very important. Don’t skip that.*

A night out at a fancy restaurant, just the two of you. (You can celebrate with the kids earlier in the day. Some mamas really just want a night out!) Make sure YOU are the one arranging the reservations, making plans for the sitter, and any planning that needs to go into that. (What will the kids be eating for dinner? What will the sitter eat for dinner? Do you need to make sure you have snacks for the sitter? Try to anticipate the things that mom always does that you never have to think about and do those things. Also, please don’t ask your mom to babysit–it’s mothers day for her, too!)

On the flip side, quality time with the whole family might be what she wants! Some moms of school age kids just want a day of quality time all together that doesn’t involve a birthday party, activities, or play dates! For some of you that might look like going to brunch, or going on a hike, exploring a new neighborhood or just a day with no agenda whatsoever.

Mothers Day Acts of service:

Some of your most popular responses…

Quiet time + sleep: Take the kids OUT OF THE HOUSE so she can *actually* sleep in or take a nap. I can’t emphasize the *get the kid out of the house* part. There is nothing relaxing about listening to you all scream at each other down the hallway. Get out and stay out for a few hours, please. **VERY POPULAR ANSWER**

Take her car to get washed and detailed so it feels like a serene adult car instead of one covered in cheddar bunnies.

Complete the running list of home projects. If you don’t already have a list of to-do’s for around the house, ask her to write down the things she’s been nagging you about and actually do them.

A day of no diapers. Don’t let mom change diapers the entire day!

A “day without questions”–nobody is allowed to ask mom any questions for a whole day. 😂

Breakfast in bed alone. Make her breakfast, deliver it, and then leave her alone until she wants to come out of the bedroom.

Volunteer to handle the kids alone for an entire weekend so she can plan a girl’s trip or a solo weekend to herself. Stay on her to make sure she actually books it and makes it happen!

Hire a cleaning service to clean the house. ACTUALLY SCHEDULE IT. Don’t say “I’ll pay for a cleaning service” or get her a gift card and then still make her do all the work to make it happen. *That is not a gift.*

If you’re a great cook, cook her favorite dinner and shoo her from the kitchen to read and enjoy a glass of wine (or do whatever she likes!) and don’t let her do any dishes after, either.

Mothers day physical gifts:

Some of your most popular responses…

Monogram necklace or bracelet with my kids’ names or birthstones. (I love Dana Rebecca and ABLE for personalized jewelry!)

Sentimental gifts like photos, silhouette art, etc. (Great for Grandmas too!) Minted makes some of my favorite special sentimental gifts! (See my Minted Mothers Day idea roundup here!)

New bras and panties, robe or nice pajamas. (Ask her what brands she likes! This is a very personal choice!)

A Kindle gift card or gift card to her favorite bookstore paired with an afternoon to herself to read and relax!

A family photoshoot. Reach out to a photographer she loves (or ask her friends!) and ask if you can purchase a gift card for a family photoshoot, or better yet–go ahead and book one for a time you know the family will be free. (I highly recommend my friends Jess and Emma from Our Days photo and film!)

If she loves to garden, a landscaping gift card to help plan/design a garden at home.

A new, high-quality work tote that can also work as a diaper bag. (Ask her for specific reccos, but I love Madewell’s Zip-top transport tote, their Piazza tote, and ABLE has great bagsthe Mamuye tote with removable insert would be perfect for her to transition from work to diaper bag!)

Dyson air wrap. (For a splurge present, so she can treat herself to blowouts all the time!)

New running/walking shoes for all the hot mom walks this summer! (Again, ask her for specifics!)

A full bottle of nice wine and peace and quiet to enjoy it alone. (Again, REMOVE THE KIDS from the house!)

Subscriptions or packages: Car washes and flowers subscriptions were popular requests! Or a punch card to her favorite yoga studio (and the promise that you’ll handle the kids in order to ensure she can get out of the house to use it!) Gifts that keep on giving and routinely make her life easier or bring her joy!

Nice words of appreciation:

What you write in the card is far more meaningful than the actual card itself. Whether it’s short, sweet and heartfelt, or a longer love letter. Tell her why you love her, appreciate her, why she’s the best mom and specific things you adore about her. Please don’t just get her a hallmark card and sign your name. Also, if your kids are old enough, make sure to help THEM write down (or write for them) what they love and appreciate about mom! (This can also turn into something really funny and cute you could even frame for her.)

Help facilitate gifts/cards from kids:

To reiterate what was mentioned above, remember that its your job as her partner to make sure your kids put thought into their mothers day gifts! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something sweet and meaningful! Obviously with babies and toddlers this isn’t really a big deal yet, but with older kids who are old enough to understand the concept of mothers day, it’s important. Even if its just a homemade card, or flowers that your 5 year old picked out himself. It doesn’t have to be a production, it should just be something!

Don’t forget about your own mom!

While this post is geared toward partners of moms with younger kids, don’t forget about your own mom, too! Which of the above would she appreciate the most? After all, she is the reason you’re here in the first place. No matter how old you are, you’re still her baby, and I’m pretty sure a mom can never hear “I love you and appreciate you” too much. 😉

If this resonated with you, don’t forget to share this with your partner, and any mom friends you think would appreciate it! Happy mothers day, moms–you’re doing an amazing job! ♥️