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To say that my fellow moms and I feel a little burned out after the year we’ve had would be a gross understatement. Take your pick of study: 9.8 million working moms are stressed and experiencing burnout. Seventy-two percent of new moms are suffering from anxiety. Millions of women are leaving—or are being forced to leave—the workforce. We’ve soared past burned—we’ve become the blackened crumbs at the bottom of the toaster.
After 13-plus months of home schooling meets home office, forced close quarters with our partners, 8,000 loads of laundry, and prolonged global uncertainty, loss, and dread, comes one special day for us. This Mother’s Day, I don’t think a pancake breakfast in bed is going to cut it. We can hope that our partners and kids can read our minds and give us the 90-minute spa massage we’re longing for. Or we can send them this list and cross our fingers. (You’re welcome.)
While you’re at it, send some Mother’s Day gifts to the women you know who really need a boost. The ER doctor working around the clock providing essential COVID patient care. The single mom balancing way too much. The teacher whose own kids dance in the back of her Zooms. Let’s use this holiday as an excuse to celebrate one another, too.
For the Mom Who Needs a Little Encouragement
Don’t we all doubt ourselves a little? The self-affirmation on these cute Notes to Self socks will make even the most uncertain mom smile as she laces up. Buy yourself a pair while you’re at it.
This mug truly gets it right: “You are a good mom. That’s all.” “That’s all” means everything. Note that it doesn’t say “You are a perfect mom.” Good is good enough. Send this to someone who has a lot on her plate and needs this simple reminder as she mainlines caffeine.
For the Grandmother
This slim memoir by the incomparable Anna Quindlen will delight even the most hard-to-please grandmother. Quindlen’s reflections on what she learned with her first grandson are charming and relatable, like reading him Goodnight Moon and remembering how quickly time flies. New parents will especially appreciate the wisdom she imparts on whether grandparents should offer unsolicited parenting advice. (Hint: No.)
This Little Bridges activity box contains hours of entertainment targeted to grandmothers and their little angels. Send it to your mom or mother-in-law, drop off your kids, and take that date night you haven’t gone on since before the pandemic. Bonus? You’ll have something sweet waiting in the kitchen when you get home.
Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting
By Anna Quindlen. Random House.
For the Sleep-Deprived Mom
I personally take (and love) these gummy vitamins from actress Kristen Bell’s company. They taste great, yes, but have a fantastic function: to aid sleep. Is anything more elusive—or important? Send a bottle of these to any mom in the trenches. If nothing else, popping one of the gummies can come to signify the satisfaction of the day finally being over.
This lightweight, bright-colored mug is a must-have for any mom who regularly finds her coffee cold by the time she can take another sip (my personal favorite is the mug in gorgeous, cheerful blue). It should be a gift to all new moms in the maternity ward.
For the Mom in Need of Self-Care
I love this simple-to-follow guide written by a fellow mom who truly gets it. It incorporates healthy eating, exercise, yoga, and overall wellness tips with some very encouraging commiseration.
Who among us hasn’t been dragging lately? This peppy treatise on specific actions we can all take to transform everyday moments into opportunities for “yay” is absolutely essential.
Clean Mind, Clean Body
By Tara Stiles. Dey Street Books.
Your Fully Charged Life
By Meaghan B Murphy. TarcherPerigee.
For the Mom You Miss
The reality is we all have days that are just not that great—and these days those are more often than not. Our lives are full of grief, stress, and uncertainty, not to mention the unpredictable mood swings of our children. Make the moms in your life smile with these delightful notepads.
For the Mom on the Go
I’m so obsessed with these comfortable, flattering sweatpants that I now have to talk myself into wearing anything else. I dress them up with fancy tops for Zooms; I pair them with a sports bra and T-shirt for a quick workout; I even sleep in them. They come in enough colors that I can wear a new pair every day of the week. But perhaps that doesn’t mean I should.
For the Mom Who Doesn’t Have Time to Work Out
This mat has illustrations of 50-plus yoga moves right on it, so you don’t even have to find your phone to watch a YouTube class video. Just bend and straighten with the positions at the tips of your toes.
For the Podcast-Loving Mom
We haven’t quite reached the point where moms can easily get the physical space we need to recharge. At the very least, headphones can offer an audio respite from the thumping, bickering, and squeals of children, enabling moms to tune in to our favorite podcasts, music, or audiobooks. Try this budget option, or splurge for these wireless Bluetooth earbuds.
For the Netflix-Obsessed Mom
Supersoft and delicious to touch, this blanket can keep both mom and child toasty while watching the latest movies on the couch. Popcorn can make your little movie date even more special.
For the Book Lover
Books were my savior this year. Whenever I needed an escape, I cracked open the spine of a new novel or memoir, and I was immediately transported into someone else’s world. Throughout my life, I’ve leaned on books to calm, recenter, and heal me. But sometimes I don’t know exactly what book to give others. Head to your local independent bookstore or Page 1 Books to get some help from experts: Each month, booksellers will hand-pick a book to mail your loved one, based on their reading preferences. Sometimes the biblio-therapy of a great read is the absolute best thing to give a mom. Aside from that stack of pancakes.