She's served as your protector, your nurturer and your provider. So what does mom deserve, and more importantly, really want for Mother's Day? Well, experts and mothers agree: She just wants to spend some time with you.
"It's about taking an old memory and building new memories," said Eva Yusa, shopping expert for shopLocal.com.
Yusa suggests going beyond the standard flowers, candy and perfume to doing something with Mom.
Here are some fun, easy and last-minute friendly ideas:
Spending the day at the spa or just popping in to the local salon for a manicure always feels great — and sharing the experience with Mom is the perfect excuse to catch up and gossip about Uncle Al's latest dating adventure.
According to In Touch magazine, Kathy and Paris Hilton get mother-daughter facials at Kate Somerville in Los Angeles, which is having a 2-for-1 Mother's Day facial special.
Find deals at more than 400 spas nationwide at spa-addicts.com.
Across the country, there are special Mother's Day events planned, from the brunch in New Orleans at Muriel's Jackson Square (where they give each mother a flower) to a Mother's Day wildflower walk at the Germantown MetroPark in Dayton, Ohio.
Kathleen Chapman, a 37-year-old mother of two from New Orleans, attends the Mother's Day brunch at Muriel's after Mass with her parents and family, and tops it all off with dancing in the French Quarter.
While she knows her husband Ross helps her children, Maddie, 3, and Rosie, 5 months, pick out the gift (usually jewelry), what she enjoys most is the time spent with her brood.
"It's nice to be able to combine honoring my mother as well as my kids honoring me," Chapman said. "And they're also honoring their grandmother."
Lingering over a project is an inexpensive and fun way to spend time with Mom. It usually takes a couple of hours to finish a craft at a paint-your-own-pottery studio, and the object you design can become an heirloom, reminding you of that purple paint you spilled and the cupful of giggles that followed.
Mom's been harboring that dream of learning to Lindy Hop for decades. Call up the local dance studio and get her some lessons. It's the only time that she'll shake her finger at you in a non-nagging good way.
Some yoga studios offer retreats for the weekend, but if you haven't planned ahead, giving that mom-to-be a yoga mat and a promise to attend a class with her after the baby is born will remind her she's not alone in her new parenting adventure.
Two Green Thumbs
If your mother's into gardening, Yusa suggests giving her a pair of gardening crocs, a trowel or a selection of seeds with a note that says you'd like to spend some time pruning petunias with her.
Films are escapist pleasures. Taking Mom to that latest romantic comedy will help her forget the dishes piled in the sink (which, if you're a good kid, you'll wash once you get home).
Walk in the Park
An invigorating walk around the path at the local park gives you both a chance to grab some fresh air and admire the wildlife, not to mention a toning workout for those legs and arms.
The Old Standby
Still, most people will fall back on the old standby, a greeting card. Mother's Day is the third highest greeting-card holiday behind Christmas and Valentine's Day, and card manufacturers are changing their cards to acknowledge the juggling act moms perform everyday.
"The cards this year are really focusing on the evolving roles of moms. She has her career life, her home life, her hobbies and interests, and she manages it all with style and grace," said Angela Thompson, program manager for Mother's Day at American Greetings. "She can juggle a million things at once."
American Greetings has around 3,000 card designs for the holiday ranging from traditional salutations to notes designed to be given by one mother to another. They depict mothers as yoga gurus, gals on the go or deserving of a spa escape.
"When we talk to consumers, they talk about keeping their cards," Thompson said. "Mom, she'll have a special box where she keeps her cards. It's almost an archive for her."
But beyond the card, Yusa said a little bit of thought goes a long way.
"I always start by thinking of great memories, whether it's for my own mother, my grandmother, my aunt or my friend who's pregnant," she said.