Everything I am, you helped me to be.
Does your mother really need another thing at this point? After all, she has you. Even from 6 feet away!
I got a call from my mom earlier this week—we live several states away—letting me know that instead of the flowers I typically send her each Mother’s Day, all she wants this year is a bag of soap. Yay, mom.
Years ago, when I lived in Brooklyn, I took my mom shopping at Sahadi’s, a great local Middle Eastern market on Atlantic Avenue.
Along with all kinds of delicious and healthy foods, they also sell many household items including bags of individual bars of pure olive oil soap.
I turned my mom onto them and now anytime she comes to visit me, we head out to Brooklyn to replenish her supply.
If your mother has not made it easy for you by calling up and requesting soap (!), here are some suggestions for mindful gift-giving during this time of social distancing.
This way, you won’t clutter up your mom’s life just to avoid a little guilt—and you can be sure that whatever she receives is heartfelt and useful.
Below are some ideas to get you started.
MAKE MEMORIES, NOT CLUTTER
Few things are more memorable than the smell of something baking in the oven on a special occasion.
With social distancing in place, you may not be able to bake them in her house but you can drop them off or ship them to her and if you wrap them up while they’re still warm … she may even get a whiff of something yummy when she first opens the package.
Whatever you decide to do, we can all agree that the best part of memories is almost never the stuff.
I love to eat and I’m guessing you do, too.
Still, as much as either of us enjoy the dish, the whole experience of the meal is far more impactful and resonant than just the food.
What did you talk about? What did you NOT talk about? What do you wish you HAD said? Did something funny or sad happen?
That’s what will be burned into your memory and hopefully your mom’s as well.
So if you can cook something for her, go for it AND THEN make the meal special.
If you can’t cook for your mom, consider these options.
Of course, it’d be great if you could be with her to set this all up …
And if you can’t be, put all those creative impulses to work and build the ultimate gift box.
That way, even unpacking these care packages becomes a sensory experience for her.
- Assemble a DIY spa day with bath salts, candles, healthy snacks and skin care products
- Curate a movie night with either a DVD or purchase a streaming video of one of her favorite flicks or a recent release and send her some popcorn and other snacks
- Score tickets to a virtual live event with an artist or event that she’s always wanted to see
The key is tailoring the experience to the woman you’re celebrating so think of her not you 🙂
Maybe that means a gift certificate for a fun picnic (assuming Spring weather shows up in a city near you) or a long walk on her favorite trail staying an appropriate distance apart.
It’s always good to surprise her with something she’ll enjoy and that she probably wouldn’t do for herself.
With a little thought, the possibilities for opting against stuff and opting for fun are almost limitless.
And you get bonus points for making homemade gifts and cards with supplies you already have on hand.
FOOD IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA
Back to the kitchen if you can.
Since you’re not in grade school anymore, a box of Cheerios left on your mom’s porch doesn’t count as cooking.
What does your mom love? Mine loves bread. And peanut butter. Guacamole, baba ganoush, and hummus. Flautas. German Chocolate Cake. Apparently, she likes fried things, chocolate, coconut, spreads, and dips!
So if I were closer, I’d make her either a Mexican or Middle Eastern feast.
And a German Chocolate Cake—which I did make for her one birthday. With fresh coconut!
What does your mom love? Start there.
If it’s beyond your culinary abilities, hire a chef OR get carry out from a local restaurant.
Heck, if you can’t be with her, definitely order from a local restaurant and have them deliver.
Postmates, Seamless, Grubhub, Doordash, Bite Squad—there are bound to be options where she lives.
Then set up a video chat so you can have the meal with her. Then set up a video chat so you can share your meal together. Check out this LA Times article for the ultimate guide on video conferencing with friends (and family).
If you want to go all out, plan the menu for the entire day.
Have the house stocked with mom’s favorite snacks and drinks and let her relax for the day.
It’s a simple way to show your love, be creative and leave non-consumable stuff at the store.
GET HER ORGANIZED
If cooking is not your thing, help mom unstuff her life.
Maybe there’s a surface that’s become a magnet for stuff or an entire room or floor that could use some love.
You could get on a video call and coach her through decluttering if you can’t do it for her.
Often, just the accountability and companionship is enough to get most people engaged.
Using The Organizational Triangle, it’s easy to help anyone find a home for an object and put it there.
If you still have stuff in a parent’s home that you’re no longer living in, that is another great place to start.
And even the tidiest mom has a household task that could be checked off her list.
Whether it’s in the garden, the kitchen, a closet, or the garage, take some time to scope out what could be a fun or simply necessary task to do for her or with her if you’re together.
What would alleviate stress from mom’s life with a bit of organization?
- Organize the pantry
- Organize her desk and paperwork
- Declutter her closet
Maybe organizing isn’t something your mom comes to naturally or often takes the time to do. Your help may be a pleasant surprise and may just change her life.
You could even introduce her to our free 5-Day De-Stress Your Mess Challenge and sign up together.
There’s nothing like having exactly what you need within reach and easy to find to save time and reduce stress.
Take a few minutes and figure out where mom would feel the biggest impact from unstuffing her life.
WORK YOUR MAGIC
Now that you have several ideas on how to make Mother’s Day special from a distance AND without stuff giving, start planning.
Set a timer for 10 minutes and explore how you’ll celebrate mom this year.
Bonus points for another 10 minutes on the clock exploring mindful gift giving for all holidays and occasions.
Imagine what is possible when you shift how you celebrate people, lifecycle events and even your own accomplishments from an exchange of stuff to an exchange of experiences.
Adding more stuff into our lives may be exciting in the moment but inevitably just leads to more things to care for and eventually dispose of.
Since you can’t take it with you when you leave, why not leave stuff alone to begin with and enrich your life and the lives of those you love through shared experiences.No one ever regretted spending more time with the people and activities they love. Click To Tweet
THE BOTTOM LINE
Social distancing can be hard.
Particularly around holidays and celebrations.
In the short term, we are not going to be able to get around the distance part, but we can reframe the experience for us and the people we love.
Our mindset—how we view things—can often be the difference between enjoying something or enduring something.
When I was struggling with a relationship I was in, a mentor of mine suggested I reframe how I was viewing the relationship and see if there was an opportunity for me to bring more love into the equation rather than trying to pull something out of it.
I didn’t love that suggestion in the moment, because I was feeling taken advantage of and thought I had already given enough.
It was eye-opening to see the relationship through this different lens and instead of contracting, actually expanding and making myself more vulnerable.
Like I said, I didn’t love it in the moment but it’s become a regular practice now.
So take this opportunity to love your mother by keeping your distance AND not adding clutter to her life.
She’ll thank you for it, the planet will thank you for it, and your future self will thank you for it as well.
Are you stuck at home right now and going a little nuts with your clutter and disorganization?
Then check out The Unstuff Your Life System®.
This LIVE 10-week program is happening NOW and will walk you step-by-step from wherever you are to an organized and decluttered home, office and more.
Find out how you can join us for this life-changing program here.