You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup

We all know a mother in our lives who could benefit from some extra self care—maybe you are that mother who just needs a little pampering. Having children is above and beyond a full-time job: it’s a 24/7 lifestyle, especially during our babies’ early years. A lack of sleep combined with expending constant energy on supervising, entertaining, and caring for little ones can drain a person—which is exactly why it’s essential to break free for a few moments now and again.

But prioritizing self care is not always easy. That’s why we, especially as women, must create space for ourselves, our friends, mothers, and sisters to take the time we need for rest and self-restoration. This Mother’s Day, let’s extend grace to us and the women around us who are nurturing their families and help encourage them to take care of themselves, whether it’s just for an hour or a long weekend.

Here are nine experiences we can gift for Mother’s Day—or any time of year—to let the mothers in our lives know we love and appreciate them, and that they are deserving of cultivating a self-care practice.

1. Little Luxuries

The most simple way to infuse a little self-love in a mother’s daily routine is by gifting her small luxuries to work into her everyday life. No time or money for a manicure? Some locally-crafted soap, a DIY sugar scrub and all-natural hand lotion is a low-maintenance care package that she can easily work into her routine.

With summer coming up, hydrating and refreshing facial sprays are another great option for a quick pick-me-up. If she’s fond of perfumes, get her a fresh bottle of her favorite or find one that feels aligned with what she loves most. And of course, tea, coffee, and chocolates are great ideas too—something to remind her that she is appreciated and deserves attention and sweetness,


2. Talk It Out

One of the greatest gifts we can give is our time and a patient, listening ear. If time permits, schedule a chat over a cup of coffee or glass of wine—even a quick phone call will do. Offer a space where she can talk about whatever is on her mind, including her hobbies, interests, and relationships. Ask her questions about her projects and her goals for the year—and offer your support and encouragement of her pursuits.

Maybe she just needs a few moments to not talk about her children, or maybe she wants to rave about her little one’s newest milestone, either way, hold space for her to remind her that she is heard.


3. Walk It Out

A regular exercising habit is a great way to stave off depression, but if you’re not able to be gym buddies with the mothers in your life, set aside some time to head out on a walk. If she has young children, bring a stroller along and make it an adventure while you help corral kids who are walking on their own.

If her children are school age or older, find a time when they’re all occupied that you can meet up—lunch breaks and early mornings can be opportune times to fit in a mile or so.


4. Create Together

Start a project together! Participate in mom’s passions with a DIY project, collaborate on a written piece, make music or record a podcast, go to book club, or volunteer together. Creativity is an active form of self care, and can help restore and renew us. By encouraging mothers to take a step back and create something outside of their routine, you’re helping create space for the hobbies she enjoyed most before having children (and helping her discover new ones!)

Plus, this gives you a chance to connect over something meaningful—and even learn more from and about each other.


5. Time Away

Everyone needs some time away—whether it’s for an hour or a long weekend, a chance to step away is often most important when it’s most difficult to come by. There are a couple of ways you can approach this: plan the adventure (or coffee date!) and go together, or offer to watch the kids while she takes an afternoon or a day to be with friends or family—or to spend some much needed time with a partner.

Don’t be afraid to rally spouses or grandparents to help, too—if you want to gift her with a day or weekend to recharge, connect with these people directly so she doesn’t have to worry about making household plans herself.


6. Try Something New For A Change Of Pace

Much like working on creative projects together, create a thoughtful experience for her or with her by trying an activity that’s completely new. Find a meetup group near you and connect with new people, or even explore sites like Groupon or Airbnb’s experiences to find new activities in your area.  

Maybe it’s as simple as going to a new place for brunch—a little disruption to the routine can often be the shakeup we need to move forward with new energy.


7. Run Errands For Her

If your love language falls more in the Acts of Service realm, offer to take something off her plate. This could be picking up the kids at school, running to the grocery store for her, or cleaning out the garage.

Taking something tangible off the to-do list can lighten the emotional labor load, and free her up for doing more important work. If it works into your schedule, you can even set up one day a month where you take over one of her errands.


8. Mommy-And-Me Care Day

Self-care days can be few and far between for many mothers with small children, so if that’s not available at this time, incorporate the kids! By doing something together, you can share the responsibility of watching over the little one so she can more fully enjoy the day’s self-care activities.

Take a walk, visit the zoo, pack a picnic lunch and head to the nearest park, or research a kid-friendly game that you all can play and enjoy together.


9. Most Importantly, Make Space

The most important thing to remember if you’re looking to encourage your mother (or a friend or relative who is a mother) to take care of themselves is to create space for them to do so: in their schedule and in their home. Help her clear off a cluttered desk or turn a guest room into a creative space. Offload some of her daily tasks so that she has the time to take care of herself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Self care doesn’t just “happen”, just like a garden doesn’t just appear out of nowhere—it must be planted, nurtured, and tended to in a little plot of its own. Lift up a woman in your life and let her know she’s necessary, valuable, and loved this mother’s day by helping her plant the seeds of a thoughtful self-care routine.


Emily Torres is an Editor at The Good Trade and the writer behind Ennaree, a blog dedicated to intentional, colorful living. She’s a Los Angeles transplant who was born and raised in Indiana, where she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her reading or writing, caring for her two rabbits, or practicing at the hot yoga studio.