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6 Mother's Day gifts for modern moms

Alonna Friedman • May 3, 2013 at 4:22 PM

When you think of Mother’s Day, do images of carnations, Hallmark

cards and Sunday brunches come to mind? It’s one of the most celebrated

holidays of the year, but when it comes to gift giving, people often

fall back on the old standbys.

“Mothers spend (about) 30 hours a week doing things for their

families aside from their career, which means women are burned out,”

says Bonnie Eaker Weill, Ph.D., author of “Make Up, Don’t Break

Up.”Instead of picking up the standard flowers and card, be creative

this year and surprise her with a gift that celebrates all she does.

“The best gift choices are things that a woman would feel ‘guilty’

buying for herself,” says Amy Belkin, a personal shopper with her own

gift-selecting business. “But women just want to be appreciated, so a

gift that shows thought is always well-received.”

With the help of Eaker Weill and Belkin, we’ve taken old traditional

gifts and reinvented them with gift ideas that suit today’s moms (some

are even free!). They can also work for the other special women in your

life.

Tip: Moms also have to be more vocal about what they want. So if you’re reading this Mom, send it to your significant other.

OLD: ROSES

NEW: A NEW TRADITION

Face it, a family activity is going to be more engaging than fleeting

blossoms. Skip the bouquet of roses and head out to the garden center

to browse for blooms — then plant them in your yard as a family. Or buy a

guide to area hikes for an outdoor-loving mom and try a new trail each

May. Everyone will enjoy spotting the flowers along the walk — you can

even make a game of it or keep a yearly list.

“Rituals create memories that keep a family connected,” Eaker Weill

says. The tradition should hone in on something Mom will love and that

everyone can enjoy. Plus, it’s fun family bonding.

OLD: KID-PICKED TCHOTCHKES

NEW: FAMILY VALUES TURNED INTO ART

The kids lovingly picked out a decoupage, heart-shaped jewelry box

for Mother’s Day last year, but it started falling apart by June. Rather

than giving gifts that simply pile up, focus on something more

meaningful. In “The Secrets of Happy Families,” Bruce Feiler writes

about the importance of having a family mission statement. He explains

that when your family knows its collective goals, you can all work

together to achieve them. He suggests having a family meeting to

brainstorm ideas, vote on them and create a mission statement you can

display in your home.

Belkin suggests taking this idea a step further and presenting the

statement as a piece of original artwork for Mother’s Day. Use these

personalized family rules as an example.

OLD: FAMILY BRUNCH

NEW: GIRLS’ BRUNCH

Unless you’re a master of French parenting, going out to eat as a

family can be stressful. You want a great meal, but you worry about the

long wait, the whining kids, the concern that no one really wants to be

there. Try booking just a date night, a Mother-Daughter bonding lunch or

a girls’ lunch for Mom and her girlfriends — the ones who get her

through some of the most difficult motherhood moments (no offense,

Dad!).

OLD: FULL DAY WITH MOM

NEW: LEAVE MOM ALONE

As in, let her have the house to herself all day. It’s a rare

occasion that a mother gets alone time, Eaker Weill says. Let her sleep

in. Remove yourself and the kids from the premises. Want to know what

she’s doing at home all day? Not the dishes (hint, don’t leave any).

OLD: MANI/PEDI GIFT CERTIFICATE

NEW: SPONTANEOUS ADVENTURE

Mom still deserves some pampering. Tight on money or time? Bring the

exotic locale and relaxing vibe to her, Eaker Weill says. Cue up a

reggae or steel drum playlist, serve nonalcoholic pina coladas and jerk

chicken and don your sarongs and swimsuits. Honeymoon in Hawaii? Have

your local florist make leis and plan a luau. Always wanted to travel to

Paris? Bring on the pan au chocolate and play some Edith Piaf.

Everyone in the family must have some good old silly, family fun. Get

creative and make her an invitation that will keep her guessing until

the Sunday holiday. When the trip is over, send her out for some

relaxing time to herself.

OLD: STORE-BOUGHT CARD

NEW: CARD WITH HAND-WRITTEN SENTIMENT

Sometimes, a well thought-out card is gift enough. Both Belkin and

Eaker Weill insist this personal touch should not be overlooked. Write a

meaningful note and get the kids to make their own cards.

If your kids are still in the pre-writing phase, a spontaneous

(albeit planned), “Mommy, I love you more than ice cream!” can give a

mother the energy to make it through the week when she encounters tough

meetings in the office and spilled cranberry juice on the living room

rug. It also teaches kids the importance of appreciation. Because most

of all, a mom wants to be appreciated.

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