10 No and low-cost Mother’s Day gift ideas

Moms don’t need an expensive gift to be happy!

I first put this list together back in 2013 when I had a newborn and a preschooler. Now my kids are 7 and 10, but the list STILL holds true. I’d love every single thing on this list for Mother’s Day any year.

This year as we are heading into Mother’s Day weekend either still in or maybe barely out of quarantine, we must remember moms don’t need expensive Mother’s Day gifts to feel loved and appreciated!

Mother’s Day is Sunday. I saw a cartoon recently where a woman was interviewing for a job as a mom. She said to the interviewer, “So, I only get one day off for Mother’s Day?” The interviewer responded, “Yes, and technically we still work then.” 

I laughed. It was funny in the way that something is when it has a nugget of truth in it. Motherhood has no days off.

Ideally, all moms would be able to relax on Mother’s Day and do what they want to do. But, that’s just not reality. However, moms don’t require much to be happy. If you know a mom (or a married to a mom!) who has young kids at home, I guarantee she’d like anything from this list and most of them don’t even need you to leave your house or spend a penny.

1. Give her the gift of a nap. 

Yep. This is my number one. I love naps. At any given moment, I would happily fall asleep if I could. This includes a nap sitting straight up in a chair (been there, done that). A nap where someone else is in charge of my youngsters for a couple of hours and I actually get to lie down in bed? Now THAT’S a wonderful gift!

2. Give her a compliment on her appearance. 

I’m constantly hunched over doing things like changing diapers, nursing, playing games, wiping faces, etc. Between my hunching, my post-babies’ body (which wasn’t a stellar one to begin with) and the fact that I’m beyond overdue for a hair cut, nothing about me feels attractive 99.9% of the time. 

Sometimes I literally look in the mirror and do a double-take when I find I don’t look nearly like the exhausted, hunchbacked zombie I feel like.  A sincere compliment from my husband might make me roll my eyes on the outside, but it also makes me feel good on the inside.

3. Give her some flowers. 

Listen, I have a fear of plants (I admit way too much in this blog) and even I love getting flowers. A vase of fresh flowers is cheerful and uplifting. They don’t have to be anything fancy. A bouquet of fresh flowers from the grocery store are just fine. 

The best kind of flowers to a gal like me are those I can enjoy in a vase for a week or two then throw out. Other moms might like the kind they can plant and maintain. My own mom and mother-in-law can plant anything outside and not only keep alive, but have it thrive. Go for what the mom in your life likes!

4. Give her a night off from cooking.

Even better, give her the whole day off! Whether we’re the kind of mom who cooks everything from scratch or relies on convenience food or somewhere in between the two, moms are constantly doing food prep of some sort. 

We probably don’t mind most of the time, but getting a break from making three square meals plus snacks for a day is nice. Even better is a homemade meal that we didn’t have to lift a finger for, but takeout works, too.

5. Give her the gift of laundry. 

I still keep my laundry schedule as best I can with a newborn and 3-year-old, but I also pretty much always have a load of laundry hanging over my head. (This is still true now even with my kids being a bit older now!) Right now, I do really, really well if I get two loads of laundry finished in one day. More typical is one load of laundry and even that may sit in the dryer for a few hours (or overnight…). Doing laundry for any mother is a blessing.

6. Give her the gift of a clean house. 

I’ve come across sayings about how cleaning your house when you have young children is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos or shoveling while it’s still snowing. Yep. Sounds about right! Any home in which young children reside could use some cleaning whether it’s putting away some toys, scrubbing toilets or vacuuming — or all of the above!

7. Give her the gift of uninterrupted, fun time with her children. 

What moms really want (after more sleep) is more good memories with their children. Most of us have realized that their childhoods go flying by. Sometimes doing the tasks and chores involved with taking care of our families and everything else keep from being able to just hang out with and enjoy our children. 

Moms need that. Children need that. Take mom out of the house with the kiddos and have a picnic. Or just let her sit for the day and play with the kiddos without having to worry about cooking or cleaning.

8. Give her gifts made with love. 

A craft created by little hands just for mom that mom didn’t have anything to do with is special. Yes, we are that easy. We also love a heartfelt note of appreciation. Being seen for all we do in motherhood is priceless.

9. Give her the gift of alone time. 

We definitely want more memories with our kids, but we also could use some alone time to sleep, read, sleep, shop, sleep, watch television, sleep or whatever we want to do. I’ve been almost finished with the same book for the last three months since the birth of my son. I seriously could have the book finished at least within an hour, but finding an hour to just sit and read on any given day is impossible. 

Maybe make mom’s alone time outside of home so she’s not tempted to clean or catch up on other chores. We’re kind of crazy like that.

10. Give her the gift of appreciation. 

Moms do what they do out of love. We get up every morning and wipe noses, make lunches, play pretend, do laundry, kiss boo-boos, hug through tears and even discipline because we love our children more than anything else. But, we still need to hear thank-you sometimes. 

We need to hear it from our spouses and from our children. My husband has been good at this so our daughter is learning to as well. Just the other night she thanked me for dinner while she was eating. 

Everyone likes to be appreciated. We moms need to know that all our hard work and sacrifices are being noticed. While we don’t do them for glory or for thanks, being appreciated makes us feel good and helps strengthen us to keep going.

Moms really are pretty easy to do things for. We appreciate small acts of kindness. Most of the time we’re so busy taking care of everyone else that we don’t do much for ourselves, so when someone else does something to take care of us, we appreciate it. We accept it as a gift. And we sincerely enjoy it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow mamas! You are awesome, strong women who are doing the best for your children. May your day be filled with lots of love and laughter and — if you’re lucky — a nice, long nap!

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