Flowers are sweet, and jewelry is beautiful. New clothes are thoughtful and a stand mixer practical. A new iPad would be marvelous.
But here's a hint from a real-live mama: You don't really have to shop for Mother's Day.
Overworked, tuckered-out moms like me know what they really want, and it isn't sold at the mall. Here are five tokens of love just about any mom would appreciate:
* A nap. Two or three hours of uninterrupted sleep is just the thing for a new mom or one who is, as my daughter explains, "addicted to volunteering." Give her a pillow, draw the curtains, and let her snooze guilt-free.
* A clean house. Depending on the state of things, this could be too much to ask. But any little bit — sweeping floors, dusting furniture, scrubbing shower tiles, doing the laundry (this includes folding!) —is a little bit Mom won't have to do later. Also, you boys could pledge to improve your aim.
* Peace and quiet. We're not talking world peace, just a day free from bickering, sleeve-pulling and "Mom?... Mom? ... Mom? ... Mom!" Or, send Mom out for a mani-pedi-massage while you clean the house (see previous item).
* A nice picture of the kids that doesn't show them rolling their eyes, growling, holding their fingers behind someone's head or making ridiculous faces, for once! Seriously.
* A card, letter, phone call or hug. There's a reason moms cry when they see those Hallmark commercials. They're just (sniff) so (sniff) sweet! Motherhood, though incredible, is too often thankless. So give her a smooch and tell her you love her. Then pass the tissues.