If there is one subject I know plenty about, it’s what mothers like. How did I develop my expertise in this area? First of all, I have a mother, and she is not shy about telling me what she likes. Luckily, she is basically not difficult to please, so I have learned a lot from her.
I used to grimace when people told me I take after her, but now I understand that's a tremendous compliment.
Second, I’ve been a mother for a while, and have gotten my share of “stuff”. Third, I have lots of friends who are mothers, and we talk a lot - especially about our own mothers, our kids, and our relationships to them.
Here is the other side of my mothering equation - my wonderful kids, Eleanor and Liam.
I don’t pretend to know what would make every mother's heart sing. But if you are searching around last-minute for Mother’s Day gift ideas, here are a few that work well in my experience.
Write your mother a “love letter”. It doesn’t have to be an old fashioned letter on stationery, thought that would be lovely. Email works, though if I were you, I wouldn’t send her a text or a tweet. Tell her about a wonderful memory that you have from times you’ve enjoyed together, or let her know how much you appreciate times when she has given you moral support, or helped you achieve a dream.
Do something for your mother that makes her life a bit easier. It could be as simple as cleaning a closet that she keeps wishing would magically clean itself. Or it could be offering to use a skill that you have to do something she wouldn’t ask you to do – maybe organizing her computer files or figuring out which iPhone apps she would like and downloading them for her.
My technology skiils are mostly courtesy of my kids. The best part? What other help desk can you text at 1 am and get an answer that ends with "xxxooo"?
If your mom is completely self-sufficient when it comes to technology, there is surely some other area of her life where she could use a little help.
If you live close by your mom, figure out something you can do together and make it happen. I am not talking about an “obligatory” kind of visit, but a fun outing doing something you both enjoy.
The best excursions are the ones that someone else plans and takes you on.
This is where my experience as a daughter comes in handy. If you find your mom difficult to get along with, or even just mildly annoying on occasion, you can make time with her memorable - in a good way, by planning to have fun instead of waiting to feel negatively about what she says, does or doesn’t (say or do.)
If you live far away, arrange a way to keep in touch beyond whatever you do now. It could be to set up skype for the two of you, if you don’t do it already and are comfortable with computer-assisted communication. Maybe you can find a weekend soon to get together at a locale between your home and hers if schedules, resources, and other circumstances permit.
Make or buy something that will remind her of you. I’m not talking about something expensive. Rather, I mean something that will make her smile every time she puts it on or uses it.
Eleanor gave me these and they make me smile every day, at least on the days when I'm not burning whatever needs to be stirred or turned over.
You know this site is mostly about food, right? If you think about how much you like her to make that special dish or dinner when you come home, how about preparing her a meal or a snack?
OK, so this was for a recent birthday, but you get the point.
If you do not live near her, I bet you can figure out how to bake cookies or make some other delight and send her a reverse care package.
If there is no time, and maybe not a lot of money on hand, then consider a gift in honor of your mom to an organization or a cause that makes the world a better place. Maybe she has a favorite charity or there is some part of her experience that suggests a particular cause would touch her. There are no end of ways to honor her with such a gift and it takes just moments to make an online donation and let her know that she is the inspiration. As trite as it may seem, it isn’t the amount of the donation, but the connection between you, her and the cause that matters.
Whatever you decide to make, do, or buy for your mother, you give her the greatest gift by telling her how much she is loved and appreciated. And I wish her and all other mothers a wonderful day.