What Does Mom Really Want for Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and restaurants are gearing up for the rush. Traditionally, Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants, followed by Valentine’s Day.  Having worked in the restaurant industry for several years, dining out on Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day is something I always avoid.  Though it may seem like a treat to take mom out to eat, waiting in line for hours only to be seated in a cramped space surrounded by other diners, only to have slow service by the waiters and chefs because they are backed up does not sound like a good time to me.

As a mom of three little ones, ages 6, 2 and 1, (yes, the last two are only 17.5 months apart), I would like a non-traditional Mother’s Day gift.  I am not asking for a meal out, or a diamond necklace. (Have you ever noticed how many jewelry commercials there are around Mother’s Day?).  In fact, this year I am asking for something completely free—time.

Blowing FlowerI love my children and feel blessed to have them in my life. I waited until my mid-thirties to have kids, and when the third one came along, I quit my job to raise them full-time.  I know how quickly time goes, and I love that I can stay home and take care of them and spend all day with them.  Still, I would be remiss to not admit that sometimes the squabbles, the biting (yes, my two year old is in the biting stage and her baby sister is her target), the struggles over doing homework, grind on my nerves.

While I am appreciative of my family, there is sometimes a part of me that longs for the quiet child-free days when my husband and I used to go to the coffee shop and spend hours, (hours!) reading, talking, writing, doing work.  I used to think we were busy then, but compared to the busy lifestyle we have now, looking back, I must have had quite a bit more time (and a lot more sleep nightly).

I have this Mother’s Day all planned.  I would love to eat breakfast with my family, then escape for a few hours all by myself.  I would love to go to a coffee shop or a book store and just read with no distractions, no tears, no calls of “mommy” for two or three hours.  Really, that…is…all…I…need.  Just to be by myself for a few hours and recharge.  Then, I will return home to have lunch with my family and play with my kids.  In this ideal world, my children will behave perfectly all day long and there will be no tears or hurt feelings, only fun and laughter.

I am well aware that the years with young children fly by and that I should enjoy them.  I know in only 10 or 15 short years I will have plenty of alone time, and perhaps my greatest Mother’s Day gift will be spending the day with my kids, all together.  But that is not the case yet; right now I just want a few hours to be by myself.

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As you plan for Mother’s Day, think about what your mother truly wants.  It may not be a meal out or an expensive piece of jewelry.  It may be something as simple as time alone, or time with you, or help with yard work, or a meal made for her, or a day off from household chores.  Advertisers would like us to think that we must spend money to show mom she is appreciated, but that is often not the case.  She may appreciate a simpler, less expensive gift of something she is truly longing for.

Photo by Dawn Huczek

About Melissa

Melissa blogs at Mom's Plans about learning to live a fulfilling life on less. She has quit her day job and now blogs and writes, in addition to taking care of her three kids.

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  1. Time tops my list of gifts for Mother’s Day every year. I think we all need a day to recharge from the job of motherhood. However, as I live not far from my mom, my Mother’s Day celebration will be with my extended family as the men of the family grill up a feast for us. It’s second on my list. But, I do wish I could scurry away for a bit of downtime.

  2. I am going to get my mom a gift card so that she can do a little bit of shopping for herself

  3. I had to laugh as I was reading your article. Not because it was funny but because it is so true. I think sometimes we are made to feel gulity if we don’t love to spend every waking minute with our family. I too love my kids and stay home all the time with them. They are 13, 10, 5 and 3. But there are the days when I say goodbye to my husband as he heads out the door to go talk to adults, the little ones hang on me asking for just one more banana, and I think “Just two hours without noise.” So I am taking your advice and asking for a personal day. Thanks for the great article.

  4. I understand completely. When my two youngest children were born (17 1/2 mos. apart), my one wish for my birthday was to have the whole day off. My husband would take off of work, and I got to go out for the entire day. When I came home, dinner was cooked and on the table, my four children waiting for me anxiously to celebrate my birthday. While I was out, I would always pick up little trinkets to give to them as my thanks for letting me be for 8 hours. They LOVED my birthday and looked forward to it every year. My husband got so good at it, that the first year my youngest was in school fulltime, he did the same thing. I had to tell him that now I had lots of free time and that we should do things together on my birthday, and to this day (my youngest being 14!) he still takes my birthday off. It’s a wonderful thing. This mother’s day, we will be celebrating my daughter’s college graduation. What a wonderful present for Mom to see her daughter graduate from college and start her life as a grade school teacher.