Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

(You’re welcome. Tee-hee!)

The Mother’s Day holiday can be like a minefield; fraught with opportunities for disaster and possible maiming. It’s not as dangerous as, say, Valentine’s Day, but the lingering effects of a badly thought-out gift can be pretty uncomfortable. Here are some ways to honor the moms in your life.

(You’re welcome. Tee-hee!)

The Mother’s Day holiday can be like a minefield; fraught with opportunities for disaster and possible maiming. It’s not as dangerous as, say, Valentine’s Day, but the lingering effects of a badly thought-out gift can be pretty uncomfortable. Here are some ways to honor the moms in your life.

This list certainly is NOT exhaustive, so let’s keep the dialog going — comment with your Mother’s Day gift ideas…or warnings.

For The Introverted Mother

  • Ask her about herself. You don’t have to buy a book of questions to fulfill this request. Introverted mothers (like me) want desperately to be known, and desire space to express themselves. Compounding this desire is a possible sense of loneliness that comes from feeding, clothing, diapering, cajoling, mentoring, cheerleading, chauffeuring, disciplining, cooking, cleaning…and seldom being asked a genuine “how are you?” Children can be inquisitive, too, by asking their mom what she was like at their age.
  • A Kindle. Reasonably priced, lightweight, and a treasure-trove of literary possibilities. (If your family already has an Amazon Prime membership, there’s the added benefit of a free lender’s library.)

For the Mother with Wanderlust

  • Breakfast in Bed…Somewhere Else. And that can be in a hotel that you bid on  that’s 5 miles away. Somewhere where she doesn’t have to wash the dishes that she just dined on, or make the bed after she leaves it. Drop off the kids at your folks’ house and traipse happily away for a night.
  • Dinner with a Theme. If you can’t get away for the night, take her on a culinary journey. Ethiopian, Moroccan, Japanese, Thai, Italian – take her senses on a trip. Bonus points if the family can pull this off with costumes and decor. (Don’t forget to clean up and do the dishes.)

For the Motherless Mother

  • Tissues and A Hug. Even if you say nothing but “I know you must miss her,” or “I wish your mother could be here with you,” she will be grateful that you care.

For the Timeless Mother

  • Time Nooks. Because when I wrote “timeless,” I meant that literally. You’d think that all of life’s conveniences, from indoor plumbing to iPhones, would make time to pray, to sleep, to accomplish, an easier thing to grasp. Instead, we’re just more distractible, more prone to comparison and failure, and more likely to burn out. Help that timeless mother to carve out nooks of space for exercising, prayer, hair-washing (that takes time for me!). Then guard those nooks so she has space to just be.
  • Multiple “Mother’s Days”Who says Mother’s Day should only be once a year? Make it once a month! (And preferably on a Friday or Saturday, so half the evening isn’t spent prepping for the following work/school day. A friend told me that if shewere in charge of Mother’s Day, it would be on a Saturday.)

For the Not-Yet Mother

  • A Day Off from Church. Mother’s Day Sunday (with some exceptions, I’m sure) can stab at an already tender unfulfilled desire for children. Those who are not mothers can be made to feel invisible or inadequate. If it’s too excruciating to go, skip it for a Sunday. (If you’re in church leadership, please, I beg you; watch your words while celebrating mothers on Mother’s Day. I think it’s great to celebrate mothers. However, women are complete not because of who they marry or whether they give birth; they are complete because they are gifted and sealed by the Holy Spirit, saved by Jesus and beloved of the Father. Any other gospel is anathema.)

For the Mother with Wry Bible Humor (okay, maybe this is just for me…)

  • Gather the children and read all the verses in Proverbs that mention mothers. (You can use net.bible.org for a quick search by book with the keyword “mother.”) Don’t miss Proverbs 6:20 and Proverbs 30:17.

For the Unspoiled Mother

  • Spa day. I don’t know one mother who would refuse a good Swedish massage or a mani/pedi. If you’re treating your wife and you don’t have bank for the spa, husbands, it can actually be more special if you do it yourself (but don’t skimp, dude. Mediocrity is worse than long toenails).
  • A long, luxurious nap. Oh, yeah. All the mothers of newborns and toddlers are with me on this one. Nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day!” like taking on all mom’s responsibilities so that she can nestle under the covers and rest for a while.

For Every Good Mother

  • Recognition – personalized. The best gifts are those that are chosen with attention and care and given with joy. As in, don’t give a gym membership to the mom who gave birth last week. (Cleaning appliances, pantry items and other stuff that will help her to serve you better are not thoughtful gifts.) 
  • Room to be. Mothers, especially good ones, are not completely defined by that role. Allow mothers room to be professors, worshippers, executives, writers, artists, engineers, givers, daughters, sisters, friends, wives. Give mothers room to bewomen.
  • Respect. Her work directly impacts the quality of the people around you. Ignoring her value may be common, but not correct. Good mothers (and you don’t have to birth a child to be a good mother!) reflect the creative, watchful, ever-loving, correcting, life-giving, nurturing glory of God. Respect is due. 

What are your ideas, dos and don’ts for Mother’s Day? Please share!

Happy (Early) Mother’s Day!


I have been honored to write for Tapestry for almost four years! Thank you for reading my blog. I’m taking a hiatus for the remainder of 2012; creating my own nook of rest, so to speak. See you next year!


Sharifa Stevens is a Manhattan-born, Bronx-raised child of the King, born to Jamaican immigrants, and currently living in Dallas. Sharifa's been singing since she was born. Her passion is to serve God's kingdom by leading His people in worship through music, speaking and writing, and relationships with people. Her heart is also unity, inspired by John. Sharifa hates exercise but likes Chipotle, bagels with a schmeer and lox, salmon sushi, chicken tikka, curried goat (yeah, it's good) with rice and peas, and chocolate lava cakes. She's been happily married to Jonathan since 2006...and he buys her Chipotle.

One Comment

  • Sarah Bowler

    Thank You

    I so appreciate that you included a section for the "Not-yet Mother." Before I became a mother, Mother's Day was a bit of a painful holiday for me because I wanted children and many people were callous and unthinking in their words. And I know that I am not alone in those sentiments.

    Now that I am a mother, I still experienced mixed emotions. So many people went ouf their way to congratulate me that I felt a bit odd. Thoughts ran through my head such as, "Am I only worth something to the church society because I am a mother now?" Perhaps I was just being too cynical, but on the other hand I have seen dear single women shunned by people in the church for not being married and dear married friends struggle through miscarriages and infertilty only to be hurt by "well-meaning" ill-placed comments. And perhaps I've had to answer too many people who have said things like "Why are you in seminary?" or "I didn't know women went to seminary."