With my second child in our original Thread Spun storefront in Encinitas
Hello, world. Heidi here. I am the owner of Thread Spun, a sustainable lifestyle store in Encinitas, CA and the mother of three kids aged 7, 5 (shown as a baby above), and 2 years-old. This blog post is for anyone who needs it, really, but I actually had a self-described "clueless" male friend ask for it - actually, plea for it - so if you have a "clueless" boyfriend, wife, husband, partner or child and are hoping for a heartfelt and meaningful gift this Mother's Day - feel free to send this their way. I want to be the patron saint of mothers everywhere, because motherhood is amazing, but exhausting, and we only get one day per year dedicated just to us. Working in a lifestyle boutique geared mostly toward women, I meet so many people looking to meaningfully gift the mothers in their lives every year. Over the years, I have made plenty of suggestions, some of which were heeded with happy end results, and others which were ignored. Such is life, but in case you are actually looking for my opinion, here it is, and know that this post is much more than a traditional gift guide - because most of what I mention here requires no money at all - but it does require thought.
The mothers in your life are looking primarily for recognition and appreciation. And I have to be honest, I think modern day society has created a false vision of what this is. Your partner/mother/friend is a unique person and being who may not actually be looking for brunch and flowers. Start by asking the important mothers in your life what they would like to do on Mother's Day this year. Don't assume you know and don't go rogue. Just ask them. This is such an easy way to achieve big results. After a quick Instagram poll I deduced that many mothers have suffered through activities they didn't even want to participate in on a day that is supposed to be purely for them. If the mom in your life wants to spend the day with kids, great! What activity is she/they specifically looking for?
In fact, your mom/partner/wife/sister may not even actually want to spend Mother's Day with her kids (at least if they're small, meaning they often don't get a break). She/they probably doesn't/don't want a stressful brunch out spent with picky eaters who don't do well in restaurants (this is my family). 90% of my friends desire to spend Mother's Day alone without their kids. What a beautiful gift to offer. It turns out we mothers are people too, and we value our independence and alone time, even if we don't get it as often as we like. Two years ago, I started my own Mother's Day tradition which is that I drive out to the Cleveland National Forest and spend the day hiking and swimming in swimming holes *by myself* (sometimes I bring my dog). If I am missing my kids after, I meet them for a pizza on the beach. If I'm not, I take myself out for a margarita and tacos and enjoy the peace and quiet. The gift of time could be one of the easiest (and cheapest) gifts you've ever gotten, and I guarantee it will be deeply appreciated.
Me, happily alone in the wilderness with my dog on Mother's Day
If you are looking for ideas for a mother whose love language is gifts, give it some deeper thought and branch out from the traditional "flowers and a card" thing. A lot of mothers don't want flowers (me!). Flowers feel like work to me. They are one more thing that requires fresh water and care and when they die they leave their sad petals all over. If the mother you are gifting does love flowers, shop small and local and have a hand in building the arrangement. Ask your florist to incorporate a couple of their favorite blooms or a color they love. Don't pick a generic bundle and definitely don't show up with the grocery store special. I can also promise you that moms don't want a candle for Mother's Day. If they wanted a candle, they would get that for themselves, this I know. Gifting a candle feels impersonal, and this is the opposite of what you're going for. Trust me. So along the same vein, avoid gift cards, unless it is for a spa day. And if they're for a spa day, schedule that ahead of time! If they want the day away, schedule the services for Mothers Day (plenty in advance). Are they not into the spa? It's not really my thing either. What *is* your person's thing? Is it surfing, hiking, traveling, spending time with friends, sun bathing, or vintage shopping? Arrange for them to do that thing on Mother's Day, and then get out of their way :)
A fun way to gift for Mother's Day is to choose a theme and an experience that goes with it. A theme demonstrates care. Care = love. An experience shows you've taken the time to plan something, time = care = love. Pick one or two small gifts for the mother to open and an experience that goes with it. If you're dead set on that candle, draw her up a beautiful bath complete with bubbles and flowers and light the candle. Play her favorite music and surprise her with the whole scene. Remove any and all children from the immediate vicinity. Now, it's more than a candle - it's an experience. If she loves a night out on the town, buy her a non-toxic nail polish or a new piece of jewelry, arrange childcare and take her to her favorite restaurant - or coordinate with one of her friends if you don't have reliable childcare. Is the ocean her thing? Grab her a new read from her favorite genre from your local library and send her to her favorite beach for the day (again, my suggestion would be alone...but ya know). My one tip for experiential gift giving is if it's something that's really going to surprise the recipient...make sure they actually like surprises :).
Showing creativity and care is what makes a great gift, not how much you spend. Show the mothers in your life that you understand who they are as people outside of being motherers. See us as the complex creatures we are, who give so much care, oftentimes without much care for ourselves. Think about the times you've seen us the happiest, the most carefree, and see what you can do to recreate that. If you're absolutely stuck or you know the mom in your life just lives for opening up a present, I've made a Mother's Day Collection to make selecting a unique and meaningful gift easy. As always, we're keeping our gifting handmade, ethical and sustainable, because as a mother the thing I desire most in this world is a safe and healthy future for my kids. You can shop the entire collection by clicking the button at the bottom of this blog, or shop by personality type for: the coffee lover, the beach bum, the ritual keeper, the socialite, the artist and the self-care enthusiast. Just don't put that mama in a box, we transcend all.
Gifts for the Coffee Lover
I have a few mom friends who don't drink coffee and I'm always equal parts shocked to impressed when I find this out. I personally love and need coffee, and a solo expedition to my local coffee shop feels like a mini vacation to me. Our gift idea, wrap one or two small things for the coffee lover and include her favorite coffee beans/syrup or a gift card from her local coffee shop. Or, if she really loves experiences, ask your local barista if they'd be willing to give a lesson on latte art or pulling the perfect shot of espresso.
Gifts for the Beach Bum
Once I had kids, I started saying I wasn't a beach person. I have realized that I actually am a beach person, I just much prefer to lie on a blanket with a good book and a cold drink if I don't have tiny people accidentally throwing sand in my face. This Mother's Day, treat your beach bum with a few beach-themed goodies and send them off to their favorite local spot for the day.
Gifts for the Ritual Keeper
Here are some gift ideas for the mom who loves her rituals. Maybe she's a homebody, or perhaps just particular about her space and her routines. A gorgeous art book or a special new candle makes a beautiful little something to open on Mother's Day, but the experience gift is even better: time alone at home. It sounds simple, but it makes a lovely present. It is so rare that most mothers get time to themselves in their space without their little ones afoot. So, round up the kids and get them out of the house and leave mama to relax.
Gifts for the Socialite
If the mom in your life is a socialite just hoping for a night out on the town - any of these sustainably-made and stylish goodies will do. A non-toxic nail polish or a little bling may just be the pep the one you love needs in their step. Pair it with a night out to their favorite restaurant or music venue (and don't forget the childcare).
Gifts for the Artist
So you've got an artist in your life. Lucky you. Artists are some of my very favorite people on this planet, and I love to bask in their glow. Help them shine brightly by encouraging their passion, whether it be painting, sculpting, jewelry-making, whatever. It has become so easy to find amazing classes and experiences for the creative, whether it be a cooking class, open art studio time at a local art or ceramics studio (I am linking my favorite local spot for this here) or even a guided nature walk and watercolor class (I've been eyeing one on Airbnb Experiences). Pair with a unique ceramic or cool art book to stoke the fire.
Gifts for the Self-Care Enthusiast
Last, but not least, some ideas for the moms in your life that just love self-care. Honestly, I put this section last because I think people tend to fall back on this category, and not every mother loves the tradition. That said, if a nice long bath and a targeted skin care regiment are their thing, we've got you covered with sustainable and clean beauty products. The obvious accompanying experience? A massage or spa day package at her favorite local spa.