What does Mom want? With Mother's Day approaching on Sunday, plenty are asking themselves this very question in increasingly desperate tones. And as with most questions in the 21st century, answers abound online -- with the usual caveat that a lot of them suck. As a mom, I've gotta say, I'm pretty sure these common recommendations would backfire:
- Breakfast in bed … followed by a sink full of dishes she'll have to wash herself the next day.
- A vacuum or other housework-related tool, which suggests she should toil harder to keep the home tidy.
- Flowers. We know you grabbed these at the last minute on your way home. Is that the best you can do for a woman who has endured nine months of pregnancy, 12 hours of labor, and three years of sleep deprivation to raise happy, healthy kids?
So for the sake of mothers everywhere, I've dug through a bunch of gift lists and found a few gems she'd actually enjoy receiving. Since we're realtor.com, we'll skip the mani-pedi combos and focus on ideas that center on the home -- isn't that where the heart is, anyway? Offer up these gifts and I guarantee you'll get a smile:
Scrubbing the toilet is one of those tasks no one relishes doing, but it must get done -- and more often than not, it's Mom who ends up holding the scrubber. So give her a break by booking someone else to do the dirty work. Find a housecleaner in your area at Care.com, where rates average $15.25 per hour. Or if you lack the extra cash, go ahead and clean the house yourself! You might even save enough to treat her to that mani-pedi.
Romantic? No. Yet as CNN points out, "If Mom has been driving around with a dinged-up side mirror, or the garage light hasn't worked since 2006, fix the dang thing!" Plus, you can still be sentimental. If she's mourned the loss of a beloved broken mug, find a replacement that looks the same (or at least similar).
A framed family photo or photo book
Seriously, most of us have a gazillion photos of our kids on our phone that we keep saying we'll print out and put into a frame for our desk or a book for our coffee table, but then that never happens. So, save her the legwork and do it yourself. There are many services to choose from, although Mosaic.com won an Appy Award for its simplicity. Office supply chain stores such as Staples or drugstores such as Walgreens or CVS now print photos, too.
Luxe cooking ingredients
Even if the mom in your family isn't the cooking type, who doesn't like to eat? A few fancy ingredients can uplift a humble meal like spaghetti with marinara sauce -- or even takeout pizza. Try a bottle of truffle oil from Williams-Sonoma or herb-infused vinegar from Whole Foods.
A clean car
Sorry to get back to the cleaning thing, but it's one of those annoying chores that is so nice to have someone else take care of. According to a blogger on Care.com, "I love it when my kids drive away in my dirty car, take it to the car wash, get it cleaned inside and out, then stop on the way home to fill up the tank. That is pretty much a perfect Mother's Day gift as far as I'm concerned." And hey -- who says this has to be just for Mother's Day?
A day at home -- alone
That's right -- she loves her little munchkins, but what moms want most on Mother's Day is a day at home with zero distractions -- to read a book she's barely cracked, binge-watch "Orange Is the New Black," or take a nap without hearing "Mooooommm!" every five minutes. So round up the kids and tell her, "I'm taking them to a movie to give you some peace and quiet." Then get out of her face, for goodness' sake, and let her bask in sweet solitude in the comfort of her own castle.
-- -- -- -- --
More from realtor.com: 3 Sneaky Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look Expensive