If you are concerned that your husband is flailing in the gift department, or if you are struggling to find a gift for your mom or your best friend who just had a baby, this is a short and sweet gift list that focuses on experiences. Because at the end of the day, most of us have enough crap stuff, but never enough quality time. Here's to celebrating life's simple pleasures!
For the Mom-To-Be
A gift-certificate for a pre-natal massage. Sounds boring, right? If that's your first thought, I'm willing to bet you never had a massage while pregnant. It's amazing how most of us don't realize how much pain (even low-level pain) we deal with in the last trimester of pregnancy until someone massages it out. I know I cried through most of my massage - tears of joy, baby. Now that's a good gift.
The Brand New Mom
Brand new moms are funny creatures. Most of us, I think, are shell-shocked. And why wouldn't we be?
Everyone responds to a new baby's arrival differently. Gifting a new mom with, for example, a nanny-for-a-day, might be construed as pressure - no matter how well-intentioned the gift. (I know I wasn't ready to leave Raines, even for a few hours, for a looong time after he was born).
However, everyone needs to eat. Bringing over a complete meal (one that just needs to be heated up...and includes wine) was the BEST gift we received. And if she's nursing? Throw in a whole cake, or several cupcakes for a fun surprise. Pick the gooiest ones you can find - a newly nursing mother is waaaay more food-crazy than any pregnant woman. Or just bake her this one:
It's Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. NOM NOM
ps. This meal delivery thing is also awesome for a 2nd time pregnant mama...even if it's just lunch.
The 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th) Time New Mom
Bring on the nanny-for-a-day!! Second-time moms are *sometimes* more open to leaving the baby...but in any case, she has a older child(ren) that is/are probably going bonkers looking for someone to play with. A very pregnant mom is hard on little ones....and that stage is immediately followed by a recovering mom and/or new baby. Poor kids! It's tough.
Of course, meals will also be appreciated by any new mom...or even a house-helper. Having someone come over and just pick up toys and dishes and empty my dishwasher made such a difference. You could hire a high school student to stop by after school...but in my case, it was M. I love friends.
The Experienced Mom
I stand by the fact that all moms would love any of the previously mentioned gifts - massages, meal deliveries, nannies, house-cleaners.
NOTE: If the nanny or house-cleaner is a gift coming from your husband, however, they better come with a 6 month-to-1 year commitment, and represent a HUGE COMPROMISE on his part. Otherwise, they really aren't gifts...they are "budget items".
Or classes, depending on the mum's interest. A cooking class is a no-brainer (Denver Mamas - I've always wanted to take Cook Street's Pastry Techniques Series)...but my current favorite class for Moms? One that anyone can take, regardless of location?
I just finished this online course and it has literally been life-changing. Ashley Ann, pictured here, is the fabulous blogger behind Under the Sycamore, one of my must-reads. She was teaching DSLR photography courses locally for years...then figured out a way to move them online.
This online course takes you through the basics of digital photography (ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture, flash, etc), but also teaches you about composition, light, and the process of capturing your everyday moments.
As a mom herself, Ashley's process of capturing her little ones as they go about their day will appeal to all moms. She uses her own shots in the course...and mamas, they are breath-taking. Even if they are just of her little one reaching into the dishwasher (doesn't every baby do this??) or taking too long to put on their shoes (yup - we can also relate).
Ashley has a way of communicating these ideas that will get you taking amazing shots very quickly. And the course isn't overwhelming - I squeezed it in during naptimes and a few late nights at the computer.
The difference in my photography is night-and-day. (This course does require a DSLR camera.)
Two words: Spa pedicure. Have you noticed how so many of our moms (even the ones who get manicures) don't ever get pedicures? It's like a pedicure is over-the-top...too much pampering or something. Warning: She might not use the gift certificate. (We had to call the salon and extend my mother's....sigh). Next time, I'll make this a girl's outing, and get one for both of us. And include lunch. With wine. (Ooohhh....wine at lunch!! So decadent!! Right, Mom?)
For more gift experience ideas, check out Rookie Mom's Clutter-Free Gift Guide. It's stellar.
Happy Holidays, Mamas!