11 Things That Moms *Truly* Want For Mother’s Day

What Moms Really Want - collage: woman relaxing outside; woman holding a Mother's Day Card; woman reading in bed

What Do Moms Really Want For Mother’s Day? These 11 Things

If you’re like me, the pressure to determine how to make your mom happy on Mother’s Day can make it a stressful affair. Where and what should we eat? Who should we celebrate with? Will I be able to come up with a great gift?

Since Mother’s Day 2024 is coming up, it’s definitely time to start thinking about how to make Mother’s Day special! But I’ve given you a head start by doing some research to find out what moms really want for Mother’s Day.

Mothers are very special people who deserve to be recognized for all they do. They also deserve to get things for Mother’s Day that they actually want, rather than what we think they want (nor whatever we can find at the last minute!)

That’s why I set myself the task of answering the question “What do moms like to receive on Mother’s Day?” Below, you’ll find a list of 11 gifts that Mom actually wants on her special day!

11 Things Moms Really Want For Mother’s Day

What Moms Really Want - woman relaxing outside in a lawn chair
It’s not YOU, it’s ME! :-)

1. Time Alone

In a survey among mothers of young children, “alone time” was by far the most requested Mother’s Day gift! This could be time alone at home while Dad takes the kids to the park or zoo, or even a night alone at a nice hotel where she can take a bubble bath, order room service, and enjoy a night of uninterrupted sleep.

2. Time With Her Kids

Somewhat ironically, what mothers of older children often want is to spend time with their kids. So give her the gift of quality time together, whether that’s going on a hike, playing a board game, going out to brunch, sitting outside and catching up — it could be anything, as long you’re spending time together!

What Moms Really Want - woman holding a Mother's Day card and smiling
The proof is in the box of notes of love and appreciation Moms keep for decades!

3. Handwritten Note Or Card

Let’s face it — everyone enjoys compliments, and that includes Mom. Write her a letter or card and mention cherished memories from your childhood, events that made a positive impact on your life, and tell her what a great mom she is!

Related: Gifting A Memory For Mother’s Day

4. Dining Out

If eating out is something that is saved for special occasions, there’s no more special occasion for a nice meal out than Mother’s Day.

What Moms Really Want - Adult woman and older woman embracing and smiling
Why do meals prepared by someone else taste SO good!?

5. A Home-Cooked Meal

If going out for a meal is a fairly regular occurrence, make Mother’s Day a special occasion by making real food from a recipe that takes some time and effort. She’s worth it!

Related: Give The Gift Of Food (And How To Make Cheesy Baked Ziti)

6. A Clean House

Whether it’s the family that all pitches in, or you hire a professional service, you can’t go wrong with the gift of a clean house. Older kids and teenagers looking for nice things to do for their moms can surprise her by cleaning their rooms and putting ribbons on their doors. (Just make sure paramedics are standing by in case she goes into shock!)

What Moms Really Want - woman sitting on the edge of a bathtub with a cold drink in her hand
While self-care is important…it’s very nice to know your family cares too.

7. A Relaxing Spa Treatment

Whether it’s a full-on spa day or an individual service (like a massage, facial, or pedicure), moms love getting pampered. And who deserves pampering and relaxation more than a mother?

8. Peace And Quiet

For moms that have to do a lot of refereeing, a day of peace and quiet would be a truly cherished gift. Ideally, that would involve the kids agreeing to a day-long ceasefire, but if that’s not in the cards (kids will be kids!) then Dad should be the referee or negotiator.

What Moms Really Want - woman sitting cross legged on a bed in her pajamas
There’s something about sleep that is purely for pleasure (aka naps!)

9. Getting To Sleep In (Or Take A Nap)

The gift of sleep is a valuable one for moms. Let her sleep in or give her time alone during the day to take a nap. (Or, if you really want to knock her socks off, let her sleep in and take a nap!)

10. A Clean Car

Wash mom’s car at home on the driveway, or take it to a good car wash. Don’t forget to clean the inside, too!

Related: 17 Brilliant Hacks That Will Make Cleaning Your Car A Breeze

What Moms Really Want - close up of a woman's hands as she hand writes a note
Loving words from our children are treasures – whether written, typed or spoken! Right Moms?!

11. A Promise

One thing every mom wants is the very best for her kids, so making her a promise that you’re going to do something positive for yourself is something she’s sure to appreciate. It could be, “I love you Mom, and I’m quitting smoking,” or “I love you Mom, and I’m going back to school.”

For even more Mother’s Day ideas, check out all of my Mother’s Day-related posts!

What’s your idea of the perfect Mother’s Day gift?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee



  • I’m not a mom. My family and I have always been lucky that my is very easy to get along with and talk to. I was really glad to see the printed card on the site for ordering. I don’t have a color printer , so I colored it in. Even though I love my mom it’s always a massive headache trying to find the right card without spending a lot. My mom and sister and I were saying yesterday – we wish they would re- name the day Women’s Day. The Mothers Day name is just rubs insensitive to those of us without children.

  • Actually, Jillee, I want a “Honey-Do.” Is there such a service out there? Because I’ve been disabled for over 20 years, (and am now getting old), etc., etc. — the roof leaks in spots, the grass needs weedeating — I want a Honey-Do. (yes, please laugh) Hugs & Blessings

      • I booked a service tech on Home Advisor to come out and help me install a new garbage disposal. My appointment was rescheduled twice. When he finally did arrive, he said he had never installed my “type” of garbage disposal before and that he’d have to come back and install it later when he “did some research”. I paid $85 up front for this service. I ended up getting under the sink with him and installed it. He also said that although services like Home Advisor and Angi’s List do background checks, anyone can sign up regardless of skill set or experience and they don’t have to have any licenses to be a Handy Man. He also confirmed that he gets paid $35 whether the service took an hour or took 3. I will never use those services again. Total rip off.

  • Girl…spot ON! The only other item I would want, is time to spend with MY mother!
    A best friend of mine received a spa gift certificate and we made it a all girly spa day and we had a blast. (here’s hoping she gets another!)

  • These are wonderful ideas. I have two estranged daughters and Mother’s Day is the most difficult day of the year for me as I miss them so much. My best Mother’s Day would be their return. It is a struggle to get through the day, but thankfully, I have three boys that love me and want to be with me.

    Each year on this day, I also remember with great fondness my own mother-and while things were less than perfect at home, I respect her and love her more with each passing day. I wish she were still here.

    My advice to children–no matter what the issue, take time to work things out with your mother. Don’t just leave. Happy Mother’s Day ladies.

    • I had an estranged daughter (she does not like her step father), so I have to separate the two. She has two (precious) little girls; 9 and 6; and a sweet lil baby boy (born 8/2017). I went up for his birth and my husband literally freaked out! My daughter’s family lives in Utah; I live in Texas.
      So I am “friends” with my daughter, but it does not seem to be a very “loving” relationship. I am not employed, but I try to find things to make to send for their birthdays and other occasions. Sometimes I get a gift, something… but I see my friends who are mothers, getting all these loving “tributes” on Facebook by their daughters, but not me.
      For all of my grand babies, I have made blankets (crocheted). I made her little baby son 3 “cocoons” and a baby blanket with a baby cap. When I was up there and putting my things away in the closet, I saw the beautiful things I had made for her on the floor of her baby’s room. It hurt, because i had really worked hard to make those things! Plus, my husband and I do not have the kind of money that I can just go out and buy stuff and I scrimped and saved for the yarn for those things I made for her, so it really hurt! Her excuse: Oh well Mom, the carseat, well it does not allow for cocoons; the baby’s hands have to be free.” I said, “the blanket and cap I made; you never used those either?” She said “no,” with NO explanation!
      My other friends have LOVED the baby blankets I have gifted them with, gushing over them, sending me pictures of their babies with them… NOT my daughter!
      Then she goes and gets a carnation on her foot in tribute to MY mother, who did not raise her as a single mom, who did not make the sacrifices I did to have her, raise her to adulthood, making sure she graduated from high school and went to University until she got married and dropped out! She said “I will get a tattoo for you when you die. What in the Hell did I raise? Am I being entirely too touchy and sensitive about this? We used to be closer than mom and daughter and when I married, it all went to Hell!
      I am sorry to vent here, but I read the other woman’s post about being “estranged” and I know exactly how much that hurts! I lived it for about a year, until I could not stand it anymore! All I know is to “bite the bullet” and apologize, even if you are in the right, because otherwise, you are going to grow old, not see your grand babies and you will never be a part of their life- so you have to be the “bigger person.” Good luck!

  • Me and my siblings that live nearby usually help with Dinner on Mothers Day when our Sunday schedules allow. This year we are having a family party today for the 2 recent birthdays in the family at my Sister’s place.

  • Mother’s Day is not always a celebration for all. Please remember those who have relinquished children, those who have lost children to illness or accident, those who have children overseas or that they are unable to share time with, or any other tragic circumstances. Peace and love may be the best gifts.

  • constantly i used to read smaller posts which also clear their motive, and that is also happening
    with this piece of writing which I am reading at this place.

  • Thank you for some other informative site.The place else
    may I am getting that kind of information written in such a perfect means?
    I’ve a venture that I am just now working on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  • […] purpose. I think Mom deserves a really nice CARD on Mother’s Day. And according to my post on What Mom’s REALLY Want For Mother’s Day, including a nice NOTE wouldn’t be a bad idea either! […]

  • […] that, especially for mothers of young children, being alone is exactly what we want. It certainly tops the list. This is what I hear from mother after mother. It crosses all sorts of lines – whether a […]

  • My mom seemed to really like the framed portrait of all the grandkids together. Your list is spot on with things I would love…now to figure out how to get my family to see it!

  • I have had a few mothers days as a mom, but I will always remember making breakfast in bed for my mom and how excited she was even though it was just toast!

  • My most memorable Mother’s Day was my second when my husband made a fabulous brunch to honor me, my mom and my mother in law all together. It was nice because of its simplicity and how it celebrated us all together. And the food was amazing. He’s a great cook! We ate outside and enjoyed being waited upon.

    I also follow you on instagram!

  • My favorite mothers day gifts were the ones that my kids made when for me while they were in Sunday school. The best one was a handmade “dirtcup” made with loving little fingers – chocolate pudding with gummy worms topped with crushed Oreos and a paper flower on a straw! It really did look like dirt “)

  • I gave my mother a gift, I don’t remember what it was, but along with the gift I wrote a very heart felt letter thanking her for all the little and big things she did as a Mother for me. I did not realize until I had children of my own how much she did for me, I just thought “that’s what Mothers do” She died before I thanked her enough. I miss her every day, yet it has been many years. I was very lucky to have had a wonderful Mother.

  • My 6 year old son was frantic realizing he did not get me anything and he did not want to make me anything “again” so he found his prized possession and almost fighting back tears yet with a smile gave it to me with a cheery “Happy Mother’s Day Mom”

  • My best Mother’s Day memory was when I was a kid. We went up a canyon and had a KFC picnic and explored the area on foot. Sad to say, I haven’t had any memorable Mother’s Days during the time I’ve been a mother. If I want something special, I’m the one who has to create it. I do want something special, but I’d LOVE for someone else to plan it! :)

  • Instead of posting a memorable Mothers Day gift, I’d just like to say that if there is a single mom in your circle of friends and family, it would be a wonderful gift to her (and her children) if you helped the kids to shop for or make a gift for their mom.

    I am grateful that I have family close by who takes my daughter shopping for me or helps her to create a gift. The gift itself isn’t what’s important, but having something to give her mom on special occasions (birthdays, Christmas too) means A LOT to my sweet daughter. She wants to surprise me which is hard to do if I’m involved.

    So if you see an opportunity to bless a stretched-to-the-limit single mom I bet it would mean so much to her and her children.

  • The notes my daughter has written inside my mother’s day cards have absolutely melted my heart. Telling me how much she loves and appreciates me is the best gift of all.

  • My most treasured Mother’s Days are the ones when my children write down what they love about me, or what they love that I do for them. It gives me insight into their love language and helps me to see if the way I’m showing my love is registering on their radar. Plus, it’s fun to look back on the handwritten notes that capture their misspellings and child-like sentiments.

  • I play the violin. One year I recorded myself playing and gave my mom a cd of my music. She loved it! Sharing talents is a great gift to give.
    I also follow on instagram

  • The year my last child was born, my husband bought a pink dogwood tree and planted it for me. Every year since, (20 now) I have enjoyed its beautiful blooms in Spring. Beside the children themselves, best gift EVER!

  • When my kids were three and five, their daddy spent time with them in our basement making homemade cards. I was not aware of this until the three of them came upstairs with the looks of expectations and smiles! The kids had each made a card from construction paper and crayons, with a paper made tera cotta flower/pot on the front of each. What touched me most was the sparkle in theirs eyes and how proud they were to give them to me. I will always treasure these moments over any store boughten items ever!!! Love my kids and my husband!

  • My favorite gifts are the ones that take some thought. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pack of gum I’ve been saying I want to try or a new set of pens, as long as it is something they have paid attention to and took the effort to remember.

  • One of my most memorable Mother’s Day celebrations included breakfast made by the children, dinner made by my husband, and little bits of pampering all day long. House being cleaned as I relaxed on the couch with the remote, back rub, flowers. It was an all day treat, one that I will always treasure!

  • My mom always enjoyed it when we cleaned the house for her so she could relax on mother’s day. This is my first mother’s day as a mom so I’m looking forward to seeing what my husband does. All I really want is a little extra sleep!

  • I’m now following on Instagram :O)
    Favorite Mother’s Day Gift is spending the day with all of the generations of Moms in our family getting a mani/pedi and having a nice lunch! I look forward to it EVERY year!

  • My fave memory is spending my first Mother’s Day with my mom and mother-in-law and families and being pampered by the men in the family :)

  • My favorite memory is of a mothers day when my children were young, My husband took the kids to a hotel overnight, with an indoor pool, and I got to stay home by myself. He even tidied up the house before they left. I was in heaven!

  • Good ideas. One of my favorite things to do for mothers day is all usually contribute to the meal on mother’s day. Good ideas. Your email feed keeps kicking me out. Very frustrating.

  • A few years ago my three siblings and I ( who were all in our 20s living spread outacross the country) flew home and surprised my mom for the weekend! Great Mother’s Day surprise!!!

  • Except for “time alone” and “solo shopping “, your list exactly matches what I would love to have for Mother’s day.! Mother of 5(3 girls & 2 boys) and grandmother of 5 (3boys & 2 girls) <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  • By far, the best Mother’s Day gift was when my children sang me “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY SONG” to the tune of HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. They were ages 2,4 and 6 at the time and sang it so out of tune that it was hillarious. I laughed so hard that my side ached. They are now 29,31 and 33………………………THE GOOD OLD DAYS……..AND A VERY HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO JILLEE AND ALL OF YOU…………….

  • “If Mom loves to cook and/or bake” are definitely important words to remember before buying someone cookware or bakeware. My father once bought our mother a large toaster oven “from all of us.” It was an awesome, sturdy, reliable model, and it made toast for our big family much easier, and turned cheese toast, a family favorite into a one step treat instead of a drawn out thing with the broiler, a sheet pan, an eagle eye… See, Mama didn’t and doesn’t like to cook, and she was very insulted that Daddy would give her a present implying she needed to do more of it. She let him know that on the spot in front of us kids. But it sat on the kitchen counter for years and years, and was used several time a day till it finally just wore out.

    P.S. I didn’t get the reference to teenagers putting ribbons on their doors after cleaning their rooms. Is this a popular culture thing, or some family thing?

  • Every Mother’s Day we would head to the nursery and load up the little red wagon with beautiful flowers. I love gardening. This was always my absolute favorite part of every Mother’s Day!

    Follow on Instagram. ;)

  • One year, I made my mother coasters with photos of our family with white tile and some mod podge. She loves them so much she refuses to put drinks on them!

  • My most memorable gift was when my 8 year old tried to make breakfast in bed all by himself. He made a tray of toast, cream cheese, strawberries, grapes and orange juice.
    I follow on Instagram (salma_shirazi)

  • Actually, my best Mother’s Day gift was this year! I was able to get a bunch of essential oils I have wanted and took advantage of the free shipping from Spark Naturals!! Sweet!!! :)

  • My ex-husband bought me the Willow Tree mom and sons. He took the time to remember that i loved the figurines and found one I didn’t know existed. My boys (now yoyng men) are the world to me!

  • A most treasured Mother’s Day gift that is used over and over again is a Treasure Box given to my mother several years ago. All of her children and grandchildren wrote on a piece of paper “What I Love About Grandma Hap.” Some of the messages were carefully written in a small child print with a colored picture, some were long or short, some were typed; all fitting the personality of the writer. Each piece of paper was then placed in a special wooden box and given to her on Mother’s Day. That box holds a special place on Mom’s bedroom dresser and each time she re-reads those notes she feels the love we all have for this amazing woman.

  • The first time I got pregnant my mom gave me a gift on Mother’s Day. It was so sweet of her and meant a lot to me that she would think of me on HER day.

  • A few years ago we drove 2 hours to my in laws to surprise my mother in law. We made her breakfast in bed and she got to spend time with her grandkids (none of her kids or grandkids live close by…so she doesn’t get to see us as often as she’d like).

  • Spot on list! I think each item you listed has been a favorite one year or another!
    Looking back over 24 years of parenting (so far!) my favorite Mother’s Day gift was the night out away from the kids when they were little. I just needed one night of self care to make it through those tough years of parenting young children.
    Currently my fave is bags of soil for my raised beds. I love gardening!

  • When I lived at home, we made mom breakfast in bed every single Mother’s day. It became a tradition…when I left home, I passed on the torch to my dad and youngest sister…

  • my favorite gift from my son has been the Willow Tree angel with a girl holding a puppy. We have rescue dogs, and my son painted the puppy to look just like my sweet little min pin.

  • My most memorable gift was when my kids made me breakfast in bed one year for Mother’s Day! They tried so hard to work together and not bicker with each other. I love my little…not so “little” anymore…monsters :)

  • That list is perfect! When my kids were young, they used to make me coupon books for extra chores they would do, or to give me a back massage. Loved those!

  • The best gift I got was from my own mother, a lifelong voracious reader and professional proofreader, which was the gift of knowing correct spelling (and punctuation). This is how I know that “promissary” is not a word, but “promisisory” is. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • My daughter painted a self-portrait of herself to give to me one Mother’s Day when she was about 12. I cherish it as one of my most special gift items.

  • My most memorable Mother’s Day, was celebrating the very first one, with my precious 2 month old son, and the just rent news that another miracle of life was growing inside of me! I felt so proud that God had bestowed me with the honor of motherhood and the ability to enjoy such an incredible miracle!

  • One of the most memorable gifts I received was a weekend trip to Myrtle beach, the hotel had an ocean front view, and we went to the melting pot one day for dinner.

  • Now that my oldest is 18, when I look back on our Mother’s Days, dining al fresco at a favorite restaurant with my little family is my favorite memory. You are so right on with the “time” theme. Happy Mother’s Day, Jillie; such great ideas.

  • My fav Mother’s Day gifts are always the handmade items from my children Or if they purchase them, I know they have well planned to tailor the gift to my heart! (ie: thrifted vintage items for the kitchen.

  • >