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Quarantine time seems to operate differently than regular time. I am on Day 36, and I can’t remember the last time I drove a car or put on pants with a button. Is it Friday? Who knows. It doesn’t matter. I was reminded recently, though, that Mother’s Day is fast approaching (May 10!). Since it’s likely we’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day via FaceTime, and online shipping is taking longer than usual, I suddenly realized: We need to buy gifts now, my friends.
Personally, my favorite gifts are those that I can revel in every day, things that make my life easier or help me enjoy it. My kids are little—5 and almost 2—and I work full time as a teacher, which doesn’t give me much time to soak in bath salts or give myself a spa treatment, though admittedly that was never really my thing anyway. I appreciate gifts that bring unexpected joy, let me escape into nature, or, put simply, are useful. With that in mind, here are a few of this mama’s favorite things.
For the Outdoorsy Mom
Duluth Trading NoGa Pants
I can’t sing these pants’ praises enough—they are my favorite pants! I have both the long and capri versions. I wear them taking my daily walks with the kids and dog (the side pocket comes in handy), pulling weeds in the garden, and watching a movie at the end of the day. They are comfortable, practical, and flattering. (I say that as a curvy gal who is fussy about pants.) They’re also durable: After several years of regular wear, mine are still in excellent condition. I love not doing yoga in these pants.
Is your family also taking five walks a day? Mom needs these shoes. They let in the breeze but protect your toes. They’re cute but you can hose off the mud in the backyard. I wear mine all day, everyday. And while most of us are sticking close to home right now, eventually when we’re able to hike through state parks and splash around at the beach, Keens are the shoes to wear.
For the Sentimental Mom
My love language is Acts of Service: I want printed photos of my kids, but the thought of sifting through hundreds of digital pictures taken over the course of a year is overwhelming. So I ask my husband to do it for me: Every Mother’s Day, I ask him for a photo book of our children. If you store your pictures in Google Photos, you can order from its print store. Shutterfly offers similar-quality options. They are simple to make but the finished products are elegant. I promise the mother or grandmother in your life will love one of these books.
For the Gadget Lover
Like so many others, I have unwillingly become a work-at-home mom during this pandemic. The daily ruckus of young children makes it practically impossible to lead Zoom meetings or record video lessons for my high school students. My husband’s wireless headset with a microphone is a lifesaver! The earphones and microphone block out background noise perfectly. I am jealous and want my own (hint hint).
If mom doesn’t need headphones for work, she might still appreciate a set of noise-canceling headphones. One of the hardest parts of this quarantine is that we are never, ever alone. Put these on your head and pretend like you are! Listen to your favorite music or podcast in peace. If pricey headphones aren’t in the budget, this set is more affordable and highly rated.
Library buildings are currently closed, but most libraries have e-book collections that are still available to patrons. I prefer to read e-books on my Kindle rather than on my phone or computer. The screen is easier on my eyes, and I’m not distracted by notifications. Amazon’s new Paperwhite is a significant improvement—it’s even waterproof! If your mom is still Kindleless and stuck on paper books, or sporting an older model (like me), now is a particularly great time to get her on the e-book train or give her an upgrade.
For the Mom Who Misses Going Out
Restaurant Gift Card
This year, you can’t take your mother out to brunch, but you can send her takeout from her favorite restaurant. We love getting restaurant food at home. In fact, we loved doing this before social distancing began; taking my young children to a restaurant is often more stressful than cooking at home. With restaurant delivery, it’s a win-win: We don’t have to cook, and the kids don’t have to behave themselves. Support a local restaurant you know she loves and buy a gift card from them directly, or buy a gift card to DoorDash and let her choose what she wants for herself.
America’s Test Kitchen’s How to Cocktail
Does the mom in your life miss happy hour? I miss happy hour. And I have a new appreciation for bartenders who can make a delicious cocktail. Let Mom do happy hour at home! I love cookbooks, and America’s Test Kitchen makes my favorites. The directions are easy to follow and the end results are delicious. Yes, there are loads of recipes online, but I can’t stand the inane stories and obnoxious pop-up ads on food blogs. I also hate when my phone or laptop screen goes black when I’m in the middle of a step with lemon zest all over my hands. Recipe books are superior (especially with this foldable recipe book holder). Schedule the mom in your life a Zoom happy hour with friends or family and make her a pitcher of margaritas!
Scout Weekender Travel Bag
You simply cannot go wrong gifting a Scout bag. They’re durable, lightweight, easy to clean, and compact, and they come in festive and fun patterns and colors. Scout offers a range of items, from reusable lunch bags to cosmetic bags. Trust me that the all-purpose weekender tote bag will suit everyone from your sister-in-law to your grandmother. It can be a pool bag, a diaper bag, an overnight bag, a travel carry-on bag—it can fit so much stuff. One day, this will all be over, and we’ll be able to go places again. Every mom needs this bag.
For the Food Lover
I would never turn down a basket full of chocolate. I eat chocolate everyday. (I’m not exaggerating.) I am in love with Central Market dark chocolate sea salt caramels; they are salty but sweet, small but indulgent. Godiva has an equally delicious milk chocolate salted caramel bar.
As much as I love chocolate, I love coffee even more. I used to be the sort of person who only drank coffee in the morning, but those days are long gone. I love my single-serve coffee maker. This version also allows you to use freshly ground coffee rather than expensive coffee pods. It’s quick and easy to clean, and tastes fresher than K-Cups. You can even gift her a bag of mail-order pre-ground coffee from her favorite coffeehouse. If Mom is a coffee pod person, I recommend Tayst coffee pods: The flavor is good, and the pods are compostable.