What Moms Want, What They Really, Really Want

Chances are good that if you are reading this you are a mother (much of my readership being female and of a certain domestic bent). Chances are excellent that even if you are not personally a mom, there is a mother in your life: perhaps your spouse or the woman who brought you into this world.


Which brings me to Mother’s Day. My great hope for all you mamas out there is that your tireless, unending work is acknowledged and appreciated more often than once a year. My minimum hope is that your sole gift for the day isn’t pancakes made by a 4-year-old, with you responsible for kitchen clean-up. As all moms know, egg plus flour left on a counter becomes a kind of glue that can only be chipped off with a thumb nail. Usually at the cost of that nail.

Now, because I am a mom, I have naturally been so busy that it only just occurred to me that Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 8th. Actually, someone (I believe my mother) had to remind me. So, here is my Mother’s Day wishlist, and I suspect the wishlist of many mama-gardeners out there.

Top Ten Things I Want For Mother’s Day

10. Classes

I’d love to take advantage of some of the local gardening and urban homesteading classes and workshops offered around town. Learning is good, and getting out and talking to adults is good. Signing me up for an introductory beekeeping or permaculture class would be amazing. It would have to come with an offer to watch the kids, though, so I can actually attend (see below: Babysitting).

9. Gift Certificate + Walk Around Time

A gift certificate to the hardware store, the feed store or the nursery would be great, but what would make that into an awesome gift would be a free afternoon to enjoy wandering around any of those places without kids in tow (again, see below: Babysitting).

8. Several cubic yards of compost

Manure or premium vegetable garden soil is excellent, too. Delivered and willingly wheelbarrowed into place in the raised beds you built (hint, hint) shows extra-special-love. Yes, I’m the kind of girl who just longs to say she got shit for Mother’s Day.

7. Felcos

I desperately want these two-handed Felco pruners that double as mini-loppers and can take down a branch over an inch in diameter. And while I’m wishing big, how about a cool leather holster so I can walk around like the pros at the nursery?  And, more importantly, so I stop leaving my clippers all over the garden. These clippers are for large-handed people, but since I have big-ol-hands I’m not too worried about it.

6. Muck Boots

After 6 years of hard wear, my Muck Boots have popped a hairline crack along the edge of the sole. I can still use them, but the water can just seep in if I splash in puddles – and I always splash in puddles. Cold wet toes do not a happy mama make. I’m a size 11 in women’s shoes. (Yes, I know I have huge feet. They go with my big hands.)

5. Plants

Don’t get me flowers. I know marketers everywhere are telling you to get me a bouquet of roses, but I really don’t want them. I would much rather have live plants – vegetable starts, some raspberry canes, maybe a few extra tomatoes or a gooseberry. I’m also happy to receive summer bulbs (lilies!) and a box of bonemeal. That’d be super thoughtful.

4. Not Cleaning

It’s not that I hate cleaning. It’s just that it never ends. The productive home is a constant stream of mess. I work so hard to beat the mess down day after day, but deep down I know it’s just a game of Whac-a-Mole. As soon as I get one mess knocked down another will pop up needing attention. Take over the big foam hammer and play mess Whac-a-Mole for me for awhile. (FYI, to the husbands and partners reading this – ongoing assistance on the homekeeping front will make your woman want to play a whole different kind of Whac-a-Mole, if you know what I mean.)

3. Not Cooking

Please do not ask me what’s for dinner on Mother’s Day. Don’t even ask me what I want. Just make it happen. We don’t have to go out, or eat something fancy, or spend a lot of money. But give me the gift of not having to decide. I make approximately 20 meal decisions a week. That’s 1,040 meals I plan and execute every damn year.  I love cooking, but I want to take a day off from meal duty. (Mom’s Corollary Responsibility: I promise if you give me a day off from planning and thinking about meals I will not make you feel like you didn’t do as good a job as I do, or imply that I didn’t get what I really wanted if you bring home $15 of Vietnamese pho for dinner. I understand that in order to receive a break I must be willing to actually take one. PS: Pho would be perfect.)

2. Babysitting

With someone reliable whom I know and would actually trust with our children. The Catch-22 is these people are almost always other mothers, who would also just like a freakin’ minute when they aren’t responsible for little people.

1.  Time

The one thing every mom wants more of is time. Day-by-day we drive time away, running between school and soccer and the grocery store and work. We wash it away in countless loads of whites and darks and delicates, and pack it away with sack lunches and overnight bags and permission slips. It is lost with keys and cell phones and wallets and is never found, not inside purses or diaper bags or upstairs on the nightstand. Even when we make time for ourself it leaks out and around the edges, little crumbs of time spilled as we multi-task our lives away and feel guilt for what we just don’t have time for.

Moms never, ever have enough time. Time is the greatest gift you can give the mom in your life. Sadly, even Amazon does not stock time. However, in lieu of time, several hours of someone else cooking and cleaning and looking after wee ones so we can get outside and play in the garden would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow moms. Motherhood is a Big Tent kinda party – try to be kind to each other, and yourself, as you make your way through.


  1. says

    I read though that list and realized some of those things (like cooking and cleaning) are things my husband takes over regularly to give me a break. It made me feel even more grateful to have him. Thank you for that!

  2. says

    Patricialynn – I am also fortunate enough to have a husband who also helps out around the home as much as his own schedule will allow (though I definitely do the vast, vast bulk of the cooking). It makes a huge difference. Raise a glass to partnership. :)

  3. says

    That just about sums up everything on my wish list!!! Only thing I'd ad is stealing from a friend who asked her husband to clean and organize her desk, build and install cubbies. Great list!

  4. says

    Great list – I'll be sharing it with my husband and you know – facebook. I actually laughed out loud at #4. My list is nearly identical, swapping a tool here or there your specifics. And yes, manure is on my list too. ;) Happy mother's day!

  5. says

    Happy Mother's Day and I love your list. Got a few chuckles and some great ideas! Your blog is great and I look forward to reading each new post.

  6. says

    Yeah, me too. I want everything on your list, except instead of baby-sitting, it would be dog-sitting since I don't have children. Unfortunately, my sweetie is not feeling well so I'm unlikely to get any of it. C'est la vie.

    I will, however, remind him to call his mom on Sunday…

  7. says

    Great post. We too spaced until a few days ago. We've decided on bringing brunch to my mom's house on Sunday, and brining dinner to my wife's folks on Saturday. My eldest is hoping to give my wife a party. Fun! Hope you get all you want!

  8. says

    apart from my wonderful son-in-law and daughter sending me a backhoe bucket of topsoil… i LOVE my muck boots!!!! i have 2 pairs.. a short pair and taller pair… the short ones i can slip on to run out to the garden and the tall ones i wore when we had snow.. YAY .. they are comfy, waterproof, breathe and come in a range of colours/styles… :D

  9. says

    you are so spot on. love #4. i'm actually procrastinating on my current round of mess whac-a-mole. better get back to it :)

  10. says

    LOL! I'm with you on the plants! I usually ask for a tree and yes, I don't want to be involved in the food decisions on Mother's Day. A Day off from thinking about what everyone will eat for every meal would be lovely.

    Happy Mother's Day!

  11. says



    You are such a great writer, hope your day was perfect. In my opinion Mother's Day is waaay better than my birthday.

    PS the raspberry canes YOU gave ME are doing great!

  12. Lisa says

    That picture of you and Blondie *almost* make me regret that little elective surgery I had my Husband get.

  13. Carrie L Siadak says

    I used to get a “poo poo platter” (compost) for Mother’s Day and the time to spread it. I loved it! Better yet, I got a great dinner and wine that night too. Perfection.

  14. Patti says

    Agreed, especially time. I didn’t have much help when my babies were small. I can remember wanting just a bit of time to myself. As an empty nester, I can say, before you know it, they are all grown up and gone. How I would love to pull them on my lap again and just love them, but I guess that’s why the good Lord created grandchildren. While I wait for them, I nanny and love other people’s precious babies.

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