Mother’s Day Gifts that Moms Actually Want
With Mother’s Day on the horizon, I’ve been thinking a lot about how moms in our country are still getting the short end of the stick – on so many levels.
As I’ve been getting more involved in activism on the local and state level here in Colorado, I’ve been advocating in support of a statewide paid family leave policy, since the United States remains the only developed nation with no federal parental leave rights guaranteed for all workers.
Whether it’s paid family leave, equal pay for equal work, or affordable access to reproductive care, we have a long way to go on the issues that directly impact moms in America and their ability to pursue their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
So this Mother’s Day, let’s do more to stand up for moms and their ability to be the boss of their own lives. Let’s flip the script on the usual Mother’s Day gifts and think bigger.
Here are some Mother’s Day gifts moms actually want:
1. Do a housework & childcare audit
Research shows that in households with both a full-time working man and full-time working woman, men are doing more around the house than ever before. While the intent is there more than ever, time-use studies find that women in those households are still doing twice the amount of childcare and housework than those men.
Sharing equally in housework and childcare duties is a big challenge for even the most egalitarian, feminist households, especially after the arrival of a child.
So for this Mother’s Day, commit to taking part in a household-wide time-tracking experiment for just one week. Download a simple time-tracking app like Clockify (which can be used on desktop and via their mobile app) and track your time spent preparing meals, cleaning, making the bed, doing laundry, doing lawn work. If we’re not willing to be mindful and commit to transparency about who’s doing what around the house, women end up shouldering more by default.
Even though #BradTheBoo and I don’t have kids, we’ve recently re-adjusted how we divvy up the household tasks based on the fact that I do the vast majority of cooking for our household. I thoroughly enjoy cooking, but hated the fact that I was always responsible for keeping a mental household inventory list running in my mind or meal-planning for us each and every week. So we found a way for Brad to manage that mental load by stepping up to do all our grocery shopping. We’ve been operating this way for the past two months and I’m thrilled at how it’s working out for us.
2. Let Mom nap
Seriously! This came up in a Twitter conversation I had about Mother’s Day gifts recently with Bossed Up Bootcamp alum Rachel, and she’s so on point.
There’s this image of the 1950’s household of the I Love Lucy era that goes something like this: the husband comes home from a long day at work. The wife hands him a cocktail as he slumps into the couch and kicks off his shoes. As the wife puts the final touches on dinner, the husband sits back, relaxes, and takes a load off.
Still today, this is the kind of dynamic I see in so many of my peers households. Just think about the Thanksgiving Day dynamic we see in mainstream media: the ladies are the kitchen while the guys watch football and drink beer.
This Mother’s Day, let’s let moms have more leisure!
Because on top of shouldering the extra labor of doing more childcare and housework, there’s a significant gender gap when it comes to leisure time. According to the Pew Research Center, men spend about five more hours per week than women on “leisure activities, which includes TV time, playing games, sports and a series of other activities.”
Whether it’s a nap or just taking some time to herself, let’s encourage the moms in our lives to take a load off, put their feet up, and spend time on themselves, guilt-free.
3. Plan some quality time together
Another way we can support the moms in our world is to take the lead on managing the family social calendar. In my household, since so much of my professional work involves planning events and designing powerful experiences for our community members, planning my own fun is always on the bottom of my TO DO list. That’s why I joke that #BradTheBoo is our household social chair – he’s always taking the lead to plan our ski trips, jam sessions, and parties, and I love that he steps up to organize our social lives.
But according to research, Brad’s in the vast minority when it comes to managing the “mental load” of our social schedules. Women, it turns out, are twice as likely to be managing the household and three times more likely to be managing children’s schedules than men.
So this time of year, don’t let the social organizing fall on mom’s shoulders alone. Take the lead and plan a simple celebration for her. Reach out to friends and neighbors and make something happen – even if it’s a simple potluck picnic in the park. Taking the lead on creating quality time together is a big part of contributing to any relationship. So plan to take the lead on more social events and scheduling duties moving forward, too.
4. Support Mom’s career
Finally, let’s not forget that just because a woman becomes a parent doesn’t mean she’s not interested in advancing her career. In fact, many families are counting on mom’s career, since nearly half of American households have women breadwinners bringing home the majority of the family income – mine included.
So the arrival of a child is no time to stop advocating for the career that any woman wants. This Mother’s Day, support the moms in your world in pursuing the professional development that will help them continue to fuel their ambition. A ticket to Bossed Up Bootcamp or a copy of the Bossed Up Book is certainly a great place to start, but there are so many substantive ways to show your support. Support her work travel. Support her furthering her education. Support her in negotiating and advocating for the pay or promotion she deserves.
What do you want to see for moms this Mother’s Day?
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