Around Mother’s Day, Jennifer Fulwiler wrote a post about unique Mother’s Day gifts that were, among other things, free. I thought of that post the other day, when I was ready to pull out either my hair or the hair of one of my children.

It made me think how some of the very best gifts I’ve gotten are those that aren’t necessarily something I’ve asked for.

For the mom who wants time alone:

Oh yes, you can be awesome and give her an entire Saturday, but you could also arrange to give her an hour or two every Saturday through the winter, couldn’t you? Winter seems to be a particularly challenging time for me (mentally and physically), and the opportunity to be alone every week would be a truly wonderful gift.

Make this gift really shine by involving Eucharistic Adoration somehow.

For the mom who needs a nap: 

Well, you could make her a coupon or certificate for a nap anytime she wants, but you could also support vocations and hook her up with some Mystic Monks coffee. I had a subscription for a couple of years, and as soon as I can swing it, I plan to get one again. Their Midnight Vigils Blend is every bit as good as everyone says it is, and I’m also partial to their Cowboy Blend.

They just started selling tea, and it’s possible that my long affiliation with Republic of Tea (their ginseng peppermint is high on my list of favorites) could be endangered…

For the mom whose list is longer than your arm:

It’s possible she’s bad at planning or that she’s bitten off more than she can chew. It’s also possible that she’s just in that season of life where things are busy. So why not offer her your help–your actual, physical, full-attention self for a few hours every week? Now, mind you, you might have to be a little sneaky about this. She might nod and thank you and expect you to forget. There’s some accountability you’re going to have to take on to really give this as a gift of yourself to this mom. But wrapping a virtual ribbon around yourself and offering to fold laundry, do dishes, juggle schedules, or any number of other things will be something she won’t ever forget.

For the mom who likes to read:

A gift certificate might be appropriate, but it’s more fun to have something wrapped under the tree, don’t you agree? How about A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul, by Lisa Hendey, or Stealing Jenny, by Ellen Gable? If she’s tech-savvy, download the Kindle app to her computer, phone, or tablet and hook her up with some of the many free books that are available? (Here’s a site I found the other day with free books available online.)

For the mom who’s technology-challenged:

Can you offer to be tech support for her? To take care of all the annoying little things that come up with her computer, her phone, or her other devices? Can you program her TV, make the remote work with the DVD player, or set up the computer to leave her alone about the anti-virus controls?

For the mom who never stops doing laundry:

Here’s an idea: give her a day off every month. Now, to do this successfully, you have to be able to do that laundry she would have done that day. And “doing” laundry doesn’t just mean washing and drying it. It means folding it and putting it away. And I don’t mean “putting it away eventually,” I mean “putting it away before she gets home.” The idea is that she has a day (or, in the cases of smaller families, maybe a whole week) free from laundry. This is especially good for those moms who hate laundry.

For the mom who needs a friend:

I don’t know what I’d do without my best friend. I have plenty of other friends, mind you, but this one friend is the one I lean on and turn to when I’m feeling particularly cranky or happy. She appreciates the little silly excitements in my day and she also reminds me when I might need to head to Confession or make an appointment for Adoration. Every mom deserves a friend…and while you might not be able to give the mom in your life a friend, you can carve out time to make it possible for her to go and spend time with Jesus, can’t you? Whether it’s making it possible for her to attend daily Mass or allowing her to escape to Adoration, Jesus is the best Person she can spend time with, don’t you agree?

For any mom:

I haven’t met many moms who don’t appreciate some form of homemade gift. One year, for my husband, I recorded my then-three-year-old singing songs for him and burned them to a DVD. I’ve caught him listening to them on his iPod, too. He loves them. And, truth be told, so do I. So, whoever the mom you’re gifting for, consider something homemade, with your heart in it. She’s sure to love it and to appreciate the fact that your heart’s in it.

Your turn! What ideas do YOU have for moms?