The best Mother’s Day present I ever received was late.
My youngest daughter Bailey had just been born the Saturday after Mother’s Day in 2013, but because we have shared custody of my oldest daughter Abby, she didn’t meet her little sister until the following Monday.
That Monday, Ty left to pick Abby up from preschool early and bring her back to the hospital.
I will never forget that moment when Abby stepped foot in the hospital room.
The door swung open, and she stood in the doorway.
That look on her face.
Unbearably excited, as only a 5-year-old can be. But also a little nervous of the unknown. A little sister?
I lay in the hospital bed with newborn Bailey in my arms, and seeing Abby’s face for the first time in a week…I might have been a little bit excited, too.
“Do you want to come meet your little sister?” I asked. I had to resist the urge to jump out of bed and scoop my big girl up into my arms. Damn C-section.
Abby stepped forward into the room. Her eyes locked onto Bailey.
When she got to the bed, she reached a hand out to her little sister’s fuzzy head. Abby glanced up at me, her eyes asking permission.
I smiled. “You can touch her.”
Slowly and ever so gently, she laid a hand on her sister’s head.
My heart felt full.
The Secret of the Perfect Mother’s Day Gift
I don’t even remember what presents I got for Mother’s Day that year. We were all trying to distract ourselves from an overdue pregnancy, so it’s hard to remember much else from that time.
But I don’t care.
Because that moment in the hospital of my two girls meeting for the first time was the best Mother’s Day present in the world.
Not jewelry. Not flowers. Not a perfectly worded store-bought greeting card.
As it turns out, the very best Mother’s Day gifts come straight from the heart, not a shopping cart.
But Here’s the Problem
Most of the Mother’s Day gift ideas “from the heart” you come across are craft ideas for kids. Which is sweet.
But after Mother’s Day, you’re stuck figuring out what to do with the delicate toothpick and marshmallow sculpture your kid labored over to express their overwhelming love for you.
To throw it away would be mean. But if you keep it, you have to figure out a place to store it that won’t seem like you shunted it to the back of the linen closet AND won’t attract vermin.
Let’s not even get into the sticky situation of when they make you…colorful jewelry that clashes with everything in your closet.
Again: So, so sweet. Just not very practical.
10 Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas Every Mom Will Adore
Any mom would be over the moon to get one of these 10 Mother’s Day gifts. You can DIY most of them, but they’re still awesome. (No toothpick sculptures or gaudy homemade jewelry in this list, I promise.)
And even better? You can pull most of them together at the last minute.
- Make dinner. Take over the kitchen and make a super yummy dinner, complete with dessert. This is a fun project for little kids to help with, but it also works for grown kids, too. If Mom’s touchy about who uses her kitchen, you can always make lasagna, soup, or another dinner you can freeze, and give it to her to use at a later date when she doesn’t feel like cooking dinner.
- Give tickets. Research shows experience gifts are the best kind of gifts. Does the mom in your life love the theater? Movies? Live music? Stand-up comedy? Get tickets to a great show, and she’ll remember it forever.
- Write a letter. My eldest is now 7, and she loves to write me letters. Sweetest thing ever! First, get some pretty paper like this adorable typewriter letterhead. (Or how cute is this design with a floating girl?) Then grab a pen and write what you love and appreciate about Mom. Or if you’re feeling particularly creative, you can try writing a poem.
- Sign her up for a class. Has she been talking about learning how to sew or the art of canning? Honing her photography skills? Find a class and sign Mom up! Even better, sign up both of you together so it’s an experience you’ll share. For example, Clickin Moms offers online photography workshops covering everything from a beginner’s guide to using a DSLR to newborn photography to the foundations of composition. (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds fancy.)
- Record interviews. Sit down with each person in your family and use an app like Super Notes to record the interview. Just ask the kids (and anyone else you’re interviewing) to share their favorite memories of Mom.
- Compile a book. This makes a great gift for grandmothers. Ask all the kids in your extended family to draw a picture or write a story of their favorite memory of Grandma. Then take all the creations to an office services store and get them bound into a book. You’ll knock Grandma’s socks off.
- Frame a quote about motherhood. Etsy has a ton of downloadable quotes for super cheap. You can go with something sweet, classic, or flattering – or just tell it like it is. Buy one, print it, and throw it in a frame like this one that’s available in a ton of different colors. Or if you have a specific quote in mind, you can make your own printable quote.
- List your favorite memories. Download my free printable here for sharing your favorite memories, wrap it up, and you’re done!
- Gather family recipes. Reach out to your extended family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – and ask for their favorite recipes. Format them all nice and pretty, then print and arrange in a binder. Moms love family history!
- Capture your joy as a family. Purchase a session with a family photographer. (You can search the CMPro directory here for a photographer.) We splurged on a family session after our youngest was born, and I’m so happy we have a record of that precious time together as a family!
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What’s the best gift from the heart you’ve ever received? Share in a comment below!
I’m a mom of four, a recovering perfectionist, and the author of Happy You, Happy Family. Parenting is hard enough without all the guilt we heap on top of ourselves. So let’s stop trying to be perfect parents and just be real ones. Sound good? Join my mailing list and as a bonus, you’ll get 25+ incredibly helpful cheat sheets that will ease your parenting struggles.