As Mother’s Day approaches, sons, daughters, and husbands wonder what mom wants. Food manufacturers, product developers, and major corporations who sell millions of products around this time are wondering the same. As the director of Moms Across America, I’ve interacted with thousands of mothers over the past ten years. I’ve come up with a top ten list of what moms want for Mother’s Day. You can buy some of them on a shelf. Most you cannot. But manufacturers who wish to sell many products for mothers may want to take heed and ask themselves if their products embody these values.
- Moms want to feel safe and that their children and family are safe. Turn off the bad news for one day. Drive extra safely if you go anywhere. Kids, don’t jump off anything for one day.
- Moms want their family and friends to be healthy and happy. No talk about sickness, aches, or complaints (unless it’s an emergency, refer to item 1 - everyone needs to be safe). If you have a new lump or bump, talk about it tomorrow. Gifts that help her or her family be healthy are good, especially if they are herbal and organic.
- They want to feel special, adored, and appreciated, even for one day. Hugs, smiles, a bit of ceremony (like putting a balloon on her seat at the head of the table, clapping when she walks into the room, bringing her breakfast in bed), cards, and little gifts are great.
- They want everyone to get along and be happy. Turn off the video games today. No fighting, no matter what. Be nice. You can do it!
- Moms love homemade gifts from their children that took time and thought to make, no matter how “good” it is. Things from nature are a bonus because we know our kids broke away from the video games and went outside to be creative.
- Any gifts should be non-toxic, no perfume smells that give them a headache, and no weird synthetic chemical ingredients to soak in that could be hormone-disrupting. Products with 100% essential oils are ok. Products with unnamed fragrances, perfume, dyes, and chemicals are not. Watch what she buys for herself (scents and body care) and go with those types.
- Gifts that are organic, cozy, pretty, and unique (i.e., local, handmade, one-of-a-kind) are good. Knick knacks that sit on a shelf, things that help her clean the house, and gadgets (unless requested) are usually not. Look at the colors she gravitates to; don’t buy her green striped pajamas if she never wears green or stripes. If she wears pinks and red flowers (look at her closet), go for those colors and patterns. Just notice what she likes.
- Music or books. The best gifts are things she mentioned she likes, and you heard her and remembered. I once commented that a singer on the radio had a voice of an angel. My husband remembered and gave me her CD for Mother’s Day four months later. I cried because he was listening and remembered. One of the best gifts ever. Only get her a book if you know she loves that author, and it is a brand new book. Otherwise, you might buy her a book she has no interest in reading or has already read. Never buy her a weight loss or self-help therapy book. Just don’t.
- Some moms like cut flowers (please try to buy non-chemically sprayed); others prefer seeds, a potted plant, or a fruit tree. Ask her. Go to a nursery with her and see what plants she likes.
- The best Mother’s Day is when she gets to be with her children, who are all getting along, and her partner expresses their appreciation for all she does as a mother (which is a whole heck of a lot). She rarely wants or needs expensive gifts; she just wants to feel connected with the people she loves. You can make Mother’s Day a massive expression of love when you put a little advance thought into what she might like, listen to her throughout the year, and show small tokens of affection.
Special note to new spouses: You may feel Mother’s Day is a day when you only celebrate your mom. Not anymore. If you have children, honor the mother of your child first. Think of this day as an opportunity. Have the love of your life and the mother of your children feel special and loved! How awesome! You can also teach your children to be generous and to express love and appreciation. You can score major points on Mother’s Day that will carry over for months! We remember the little things; we feel loved when you give us your full attention with eye contact, a kiss on the neck while washing dishes (although she should not have to wash dishes on Mother’s Day), and squeeze her hand during a meal. Just enjoy doing something special for her (don’t do it begrudgingly). Make it a fun day for her, and everyone will feel like they won the jackpot.
Reminder to product manufacturers: Mothers want safe, non-toxic, organic, non-polluting (ditch the plastic!), and do not support child labor or unfair labor practices. Local is best, and products that support a charity are fantastic too. We want our gifts to be meaningful, so tell us the story about your product, who is behind it, and how it benefits people and the planet. Thank you!
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