Do you know how some people are just amazing gift givers?
I have one particular friend who always blows me away with her birthday and holiday gifts. They are always simple—never extravagant—and yet obviously chosen with such thoughtfulness and kindness.
And they are always so me. I am reminded again and again that she understands me in a way that others do not just be looking at the small tokens of our friendship she picks out for me.
She’s basically the Jack Donaghy of gift givers.
I, on the other hand, am not. When choosing a present for someone, I struggle and agonize and google gift lists all day long.
The only thing tougher than choosing a gift for someone else? Giving one to myself.
I’m certainly not the only mom who struggles with this. We’re still breaking free from that mentality that doing anything for ourselves is selfish.
But moms, if we want to cultivate joy in our lives and in our families, the gifts below are absolutely worth giving to ourselves.
I’m not talking about another knick knack for the mantel or another piece of jewelry (although that does make for a lovely present sometimes!). Rather, I’m talking about gifts we can give ourselves to bolster us when we’re breaking, fill us when we’re empty, and revive us when we’re wilting—as mothers and as human beings.
They are gifts we must select thoughtfully, wrap carefully, and open with excitement and gratitude—and then take them out of the box and use them over and over again. Our hearts will certainly thank us.
5 Gifts Moms Must Start Giving Themselves
The gift of unplugging.
First we were given our handy smartphones, then we were given a load of guilt for using them in the presence of our children. UGH.
Recently I was challenging myself to use my phone more consciously and less out of habit, but it was a struggle because it felt like a punishment for not “savoring the moment” or “seizing the day” enough. (Turns out guilt isn’t actually a good motivator—for kids OR grownups.)
But when I shifted my mindset toward unplugging as a GIFT to give myself rather than a punishment, suddenly it was much easier to put it down.
It went from, “I HAVE to put my phone away for the entire afternoon” to “I GET an entire phone-free afternoon, how wonderful!”
We all need a wealth of unplugged moments—yes, to “savor the moment” and “seize the day,” but also just to give ourselves some mental white space so we can think and love and create and BE with more clarity and purpose.
It’s not a penalty you have to pay for not being a good enough mom; it’s a joyful time you deserve to have.
The gift of accepting the chaos.
The ever-wise Pema Chodron said:
“Cutting our expectations for a cure is a gift we can give ourselves.”
This concept is so helpful when applied to the chaos that is motherhood.
The mouths to feed, the clothes to wash, the dishes to scrub, the schedules to shuffle, the appointments to make, the tears to wipe, the boundaries to set, the books to read…it’s a LOT to manage, obviously.
And sometimes we resist it.
We try to fight it or find a solution with the latest lifestyle trend or organizing tip or parenting advice. We frantically research bandaids for all the ways we feel our family lives are bruised.
But sometimes what we moms really need is just to accept that a certain degree of chaos is a part of this stage of life. It’s just how it is.
That’s not to say we should get so swept up into it that we lose ourselves. That’s not to say we shouldn’t make efforts to simplify our lives and prioritize our downtime and take care of ourselves.
But often the best solution is simply to stop seeking one and let life play itself out. Sometimes you just gotta stop trying to fix everything and instead recognize that it might not actually be broken.
The gift of a daily quiet moment.
FACT: Motherhood can be overwhelmingly noisy.
Somebody (or maybe multiple somebodies!) is always talking or crying or playing loudly—which can be quite joyful, yes, but also mentally exhausting.
About a year ago I started getting up quite early in the morning, before anyone else in my house is awake. I spend that time savoring the quiet.
When I soak up those moments when the house is utterly still, I feel so much more grounded—and better equipped to handle the noise that’s inevitably coming my way once the rest of my family rises.
Patience and peace are built in the quiet moments. Seek them out as a gift to yourself.
The gift of restorative movement.
It’s long been known that exercise is a great way to relieve stress. But what if hitting the gym or pounding the pavement just isn’t your thing?
You could find other ways to relieve stress, for sure. But there’s lots of research showing that movement of some kind really is the best way for your body to discharge stress hormones that build up in your body.
I hear a lot of moms who argue they don’t need to exercise because they get plenty of it while chasing their young children.
This is probably true for our physical bodies, but chasing young children does not provide the mental and emotional benefits that restorative movement does.
Most moms could really benefit from allowing themselves to move in a way that truly feels good—through yoga, stretching, walking, etc. It’s not about getting a good workout; it’s about allowing our bodies and our brains to complete the stress response so that we can feel emotionally lighter and more free.
The gift of authenticity.
In our current world of perfectly posed pictures and plenty of Fakebooking, it’s almost radical to show someone else our true selves.
Brene Brown’s research clearly shows that the most joyful people are the ones who embrace their imperfections and allow themselves to be authentic, raw, and vulnerable (not necessarily with the whole world, but at least with their trusted loved ones).
Taking down your wall and being your true self may not seem like a real gift you can give yourself, but it is.
Because when you do that, you’re opening the door for meaningful connections and deep love to come into your life.
Could you give yourself a better gift than that?