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You know who is the best at celebrating Valentine’s Day?? MOMS. You know who isn’t as good at it? Everyone else…it’s not really their fault. Moms often have an idea of how Valentine’s Day should go, and what kind of Valentine gifts they should receive. In the end, we’ve raised the expectations up so high that anyone would have to be a millionaire just to fund our grand idea of Valentine’s Day. Flowers, cake, chocolate, balloons, a beautiful and expensive date with no kids, or fabulous “I love you” crafts from the kids to keepsake forever…and then every year we are sadly disappointed with how the Valentine celebrations turn out. We do that to ourselves, you know. I do, anyways. I never thought I would care about stuff like that, but it crept up on me like a snake in the night.
Care for Your Mom Friends This Valentine’s Day!
I want to challenge you, and myself, to treasure our mom friends who have been placed in our lives during this busy season of kids and craziness! I get to wrapped up in myself on days like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Sure, moms do a lot and our work is valuable! The greater gift is to show our love and the love of Jesus Christ to the ones we care about. As well as to moms living in our community we may not know as well. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7) As for those moms we do know best, let’s show them some deep appreciation this Valentine’s Day. I promise caring for others will be the best gift to you in the end too. You can tailor your Valentine gifts to suit your mom friends best. But here are a few unique and cheap ideas to get you started:
1. Babysit her kids–for FREE this Valentine’s Day
Every mom needs a little bit of time alone. Maybe it’s just to run errands by herself, or read quietly at a coffeeshop, work on a hobby, catch up on housework, or go on a sweet date with her hubby. Oftentimes finding a babysitter to pay for all of these things seems pointless and unfeasible. The greatest gift you can offer a mom with young kids is to watch her kids for a couple of hours- FOR FREE! Make a sweet coupon card, or tell her your plan to give her a few hours of coveted free time, set up a date and time to watch her kids and then DON’T BOW OUT.
Does this Valentine gift seem daunting to you? Watching other people’s kids on top of your kids? I know it is very sacrificial of your time and energy, but this can be the sweetest gift a mother can receive. If you are a mom, you know how precious/productive/relaxing those minutes of alone time are. Give that gift, girl. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes watching MORE kids is easier than watching less (or even one). Kids keep each other engaged and BUSY! And it’s an awesome built in play date for your kids! Still feeling overwhelmed and need some ideas to do with them? Watch them at a park or kid’s library the whole time, or do some of those Valentine crafts with them like this one from Just Bee!
2. Work Day Swaps for Moms
This Valentine gift is similar to #1! If you have a mom friend that lives close by, visit with her about starting work day swaps. Get together with your calendars once a month and plan a work day for your mom friend, where you watch her kids and she works on a hobby or runs errands, maybe works on a side hustle she has going on. And then set another day for yourself, where she watches your kids and you have a work day! These work days have to be on your guy’s schedule and what works for you both the best. Both working moms? Trade 2 evenings a month. Stay-at-home moms? Trade 2 or 4 mornings a month.
Work Days are Super Chargers for Moms!
My friend Jenna and I started work day swaps when she fell in love with my blog and I fell in love with her photography business. Both being stay-at-home moms, we often discussed how hard it was to find time to work on our passions while being fully present with our kids during the days. We decided to try swapping 2 mornings a month. Bringing my kids to her house has been easier for all of us at this time, so when it is my work day, I just bring my computer and work in the basement while she hangs out with my kids. On her work day, I come over with my kids and have an awesome playdate while Jenna works on her photography business in the basement. Depending on our kids, we work for about 2-2.5 hours and then join up for a little visit before we head out for lunch.
This is what has worked for us! We schedule out the days at the beginning of the month, and REALLY go with the flow of the week/day/morning. If one kid is sick, we reschedule or plan for next month. If we can’t get out the door faster than we hoped, we don’t stress at all about it, because that is how Jenna and I can enjoy those days best. WE HAVE BEEN SO BLESSED by each other in this special gift. Try it! See what works best for you and your mom friends!
3. Girl’s Date! (Movie, brunch…#Galentine’s Day!!)
It can be hard to make time for your girlfriends after you have kids. Make a point this Valentine’s Day to hang out with your ladies!! Plan ahead to go out for supper and a movie. Organize a Saturday morning when all the dads can take the kids to an indoor play place and you can have brunch somewhere with you mom friends! Go on a walk together, or enjoy a free local concert in your area. Don’t lose each other in this crazy time of young kids. Making time for others is difficult, but ALWAYS worth it. It is important our kids see us making time for friendships.
4. Bring Your Mom Friend a Valentine Meal
One of the best gifts we received when Max was born was a huge meal made by a family we had just met at a church we had recently joined. It was a gluten-free (this mom made the time to see if we had any allergies/sensitivities!) spaghetti pasta hot dish, a fancy homemade salad with sauce on the side, and the most scrumptious gluten-free cookies I had ever eaten! (I still make them…seriously these ones are sooooo good!) I am not kidding you…these guys barely knew us, and still made time to make a meal for us to eat as we guessed along with our first-born kid in our arms.
Cooking is not my thing. I have worked hard to learn to cook…because I love my family and want them to stay alive and somewhat nourished. But I generally don’t love it. This meal meant that I didn’t have to cook for a few days. It meant I didn’t have to keep making my husband make omelets and oatmeal for me while I sat with my sore body trying to figure out how to nurse this tiny baby. This meal that was sacrificially made for us has probably been the most loving and meaningful gift I have ever received outside of our family. And it changed my whole perspective on cooking/baking and making meals for others. Spend the money. Make the time. Look up the good recipes. Bring over that meal for your hard working mama friend.
Here are some meal ideas to get you started:
(And some of our personal FAVORITES!)
-Salad or veggies
-Fruit or sweet salad
-Dessert; cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, brownies, cupcakes, etc.
-Extra fun/helpful things; granola bars, energy bites, fancy bread, coffee, etc.
OR if you are in a busy time of life as well, you can always get a gift card to a local restaurant or grocery store. I am telling you though…those homemade meals provide so much love and thankfulness in a home, and are not as hard to make as you think.
5. Offer Up Your Talents this Valentine’s Day
This one can be hard to think of. It is for me. When you become a mom, some days it’s like your talents got lost and you spend a lot of time trying to find them again. I do know that I love hanging out with kids and babysitting for free is something I can offer to my mom friends. What has our Lord gifted you with? Can you give great back rubs? Great hair cutter and stylist? Designer or artist? Home decorator? Craft master? Calligrapher? Baker or cook? Clean and organized mama? Extensive knowledge? What has God designed you for? And what can you, specially you, do for your mom friends to show them your love and bring God glory?
6. Buy a Mini Family Photo Session for Your Mom Friend
Ok, ok. This gift may not be as cheap…BUT what a valuable treasure for that mom to hold on forever!! Moms always get missed in pictures with their kids, because they are always remembering to TAKE the picture. Asking others to take a snapshot of you and your kids can sometimes feel needy or awkward…WHICH IT SHOULD NOT BE!! Always ask! Always take the picture of your mom friend and her kids! Better yet, save up a bit of money and bless that mama with a mini family photo session from a local photographer in your area!
Many local photographers in your area are moms with an awesome side gig and totally understand the value of a mini family photo session. Do the research and you should be able to find a reasonably priced mini session you can bless your favorite mama with! A couple of our favorites are Joysong Photography LLC and Sarah Weller Photography (If you’re looking in the greater Twin Cities, MN area!). If you can’t find one you love or can afford, find someone with an awesome camera or phone, find a sweet spot and take the pictures yourself. Make a photobook out of them, print and frame a bunch, give her all the digital copies. Mama’s treasure these keepsakes forever. I know I have with our family photos.
7. All the Valentine things…
Moms still love flowers, chocolates, and handmade cards. (Ok, the handmade cards might not be for everyone…haha!) BUT not just at Valentine’s Day. Let’s celebrate our mom friends ALL days of the year! Their kid turns 1? Chocolates–BOOM! That mom just kept that kid alive for a year…and birthed him only a year ago! Middle of winter and another blinding blizzard comes along? Bring her some Spring flowers to brighten the day! Crazy couple of weeks and you haven’t seen each other for a while? (Even though you live 3 blocks from each other??) Send her some sweet snail mail!
All moms work so hard! Working moms, stay-at-home moms, work-from-home moms, grandmas that keep their grandchildren, foster moms…who better understands them than us?? Other moms down the street! Let’s care for and love on each other the best way we know how! What are some things other moms have done for you that you have enjoyed? What are some fun things you like to do to celebrate the mom friends you love? Share them with me!!