Andrea Nair: Connect-Four Parenting


From Free to Fancy: Go-To Gifts for Moms Of Young Children

Rest, fun, sleep, and adult time are the top of list.

Are you looking to buy a gift or do something special for a woman who has young children? Consider these ideas suggested by mothers themselves.

For those close to moms of young ones, please know that many of these mamas are often short on energy, sleep, free time, fun, validation, feeling sexy, and stimulating adult conversation. Anytime one of these “bucket-emptiers” can be filled, moms are likely to feel better.

Here are gift suggestions that range from costly to free, suited to significant others, friends or family members:

Registered Massage Therapy Treatments

If you have the health benefits or the budget, consider providing a series of massage treatments by a reputable, certified practitioner. One massage is super; four to six of them spread over weeks to months can significantly reduce body aches and pains, which is amazing. This would be a great gift from a group of friends/ family.

A Facial

Find an esthetician that takes care to attend to his/ her clients during the facial. There are ones who provide arm, foot and scalp massages, or the various face-products, which are refreshing and percolating. When you call the service provider, make sure you ask if they do this—mine does and each time I am in there I think, this is money very well spent. Thank you, Audrey!

Eight Ways to Reduce the Stress of Parenting a Toddler

Take Over Kids’ Bedtime

Option One: Draw Her a Bath

Grab some rose petals from a local florist on your way home, sneak into the bathroom to pour a nice hot bath, toss the petals in, then give your special mama a note something like this, “You are doing such a great job with the kids. I’ve got them the rest of the night—go see what’s waiting for you in the bathroom.” If she likes wine, certainly pour out a glass for her and set it on the vanity. Lower the lights if that’s possible.

Option Two:  Set Up a Reading Station

Similar to above, write a note telling her how much you appreciate her efforts with the kids (this is very important!), asking her to retire to the bed for the night. Leave a treat (read: chocolate) and a tea—non-caffeinated to prevent insomnia—or glass of wine along with a new book on the bed. If you (as her significant other) are looking for something that validates how hard parenting little ones can be sometimes and, um, might help her get in the mood, I suggest the novel Between by Angie Abdou. If you think she needs a good laugh, perhaps get Parenting—Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick. I laughed so hard my husband ran upstairs to make sure I was okay.

A New Article of Clothing with an Invitation to a Fun Event

Consider your special mama’s style—you might be wise to consult her girlfriends for this—and take the time to find a fun/sexy/lovely/warm blouse or dress for her.

You do not need to spend a lot of money on this piece: Winners has GREAT stuff at reasonable prices. Again, perhaps take a style-helper along with you to pick out something she’ll love. And don’t worry if it isn’t quite right, I image your mama will be so grateful you tried that she'll be happy to go back to the store to exchange it (as long as you are watching the kids).

Along with the article of clothing, include some kind of invitation. Depending on your budget, this could be a simple dinner out with you (you will arrange a babysitter) or tickets to a concert, show or movie.

A Night Away

Arrange childcare so your special mama can spend a night away from home. Book a hotel or bed & breakfast in a nearby city, preferably with a comfortable bathtub, hot tub or sauna, and surprise her with a note explaining what you have arranged. Please take care of everything: transportation or tickets if needed. If you are able to book a spa treatment, please do that!

House Cleaning Service

You can book a one-time service or get a series of them.

Your mama’s friends are likely a good source for finding someone to do the cleaning—check with them to see if someone has a recommendation.

Offer to Take Kids for an Hour or Two

Instead of asking a yes/ no question about hanging out with her kids for a bit (some moms might say “no” not wanting to inconvenience others), offer three potential days and times when you are available to come over to watch the kids, asking her to pick one.

When it comes time to watch the kids, throw in a load of laundry while you are there.

Thriving with a Toddler

Can you see the theme? Often, the best gift for mothers of young children is time to rest and to feel appreciated and special. Anytime you can validate her efforts, use “I see yous” like “I see you working so hard” or “I see you being really patient with our kids (who are freaking out over and over again).”

A note to mamas:

Please do not worry about your house or children if you receive a gift to spend time away from them. My baseline for the care of my children when I need alone time is: alive and fed. If they pass out way beyond their bedtime, sleep in their jeans or yell a bit more than when they are with you, that’s okay. All your attunement and attachment bridging will help them breeze through this experience. It is important for your children to attach to other people, too, without you there. Give them the opportunity to do this. Everyone will be okay. Rest—you deserve it. You will all be better for it when you come back.

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