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Mother’s Day Gifts for the Mom Who Breaks the Mold

Well, it must be that time of year again when all the retailers turn their collective gaze to mothers. Over the last week, my inbox has filled with emails exhorting, “Give her what she wants for Mother’s Day!” That sounds great. Yes, give us what we want. Unfortunately, what moms want seems to be a very narrow window according to the businesses hawking their wares. I’m seeing emails and ads for Etsy, fancy pots and pans, flowers, diamonds, blenders, and other Womanish Things. Me Woman. Me likey the kitchenware and weareth the bling bling.

If anyone bought me a blender as a gift I would force-feed them a tilapia smoothie so fast…. And flowers? Sure, if you want to give the gift of a raging sinus infection. A world of no. I started thinking about the things I like receiving and thought, well, maybe there are a few other moms out there like me. So here’s a list of Mother’s Day gifts for the mom who breaks the mold.

Toys & Games

1. Doctor Who Legos – This set is one of my favorite gifts ever. I had the best time putting it together, and sometimes I like to walk over to the shelf it sits on and play with the little Daleks. “Exterminate!”

2. The Walking Dead Carol FunKo Pop! – I mean, Carol is kind of our Team Mom, and who else can bake a batch of brownies while infiltrating an enemy camp and knocking off a pack of walkers? She’ll do anything to protect her crew, even when they reject her, (I’m looking at you, Rick.) which is exactly like motherhood.

3. New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles – Screw Mommy Brain. You are a fierce, puzzling badass who can remember a 4-letter name for an opera by Verdi. Get after it, and if you have to work these in the bathroom hiding from the kids, we won’t judge.

4. Scrabble Deluxe – I know how to party, yeah baby yeah. When the hubs and I went to Aruba a few years ago, we played Scrabble in our room every night. When I told my friends this, they thought it was a euphemism, but it wasn’t.

5. Harry Potter Marauder’s Map 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle – “I solemnly swear we are up to no good.” Who likes the feeling of going half blind trying to snap identical pieces together?!? I know I do!

6. Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit – Shut up, I know it’s a lot of Harry Potter, but what mom doesn’t want to have a game night with her fellow Ravenclaws, amiright?


1. Out of Print tee shirt – Out of Print sells tee shirts featuring the covers of classic books, and I am completely in love with my Dracula tee.

2. Poo emoji dress – I’m wearing my poo emoji dress now. It’s breezy and comfortable for summer and makes a general statement about your feelings on life. I’ve worn it everywhere from my dad’s retirement party to speaking engagements, paired with a nice belt and boots. Elegant and stylish. And it has pockets, as all good dresses do. I wrote a love note to this dress here.

3. Quick change dress in a pouch – Most of us could use a new outfit that fits in a purse that we can pull out for emergencies. When the kids are little, you’re covered in spit up and poo, and even when they get older, they’re still gross. Last night at track practice my daughter used my shirt to wipe off her sweaty face. We are basically oversized Handi-Wipes with legs.

4. Swimsuit from ModCloth – Every year I stalk these swimsuits. They have something for everyone. Two of my favorites are flying cats in outer space and molecular chemistry.

5. Novelty socks – Our feet should be secretly awesome inside our shoes. I like these Thou Art the Bomb and I’m a Special Unicorn socks.

6. Rumpl Wrap – I’ve been salivating over this coat/blanket since Betabrand first launched it. How many times am I traveling somewhere, whether it’s a retreat or my kid’s cross country meet, and need a coat, but also need a blanket to sit on, wrap up in on a plane, or wad up as a headrest? This is like a coat/blanket hybrid, and also…oooh pretty!

Food & Drink

1. Lagavulin single malt scotch – Screw your white wine spritzers. Give mama the good stuff. This scotch is so peaty it tastes like a chimney blew up in your face. 

2. Coupon for a free day at a coffee shop by herself – This is all we want. Laptop, wifi, coffee shop, solitude. Maybe skip the obligatory family brunch and subsequent de-syrupping of the kids and just send Mom off for some alone time.

3. Death Star teapot – Who doesn’t want to destroy planets while taking afternoon tea? I know I do. I know I want that option.

4. Nerds Rope bouquet – As I mentioned, I hate flowers. Flowers suck. My husband and friends know this about me and surprise me with Nerds Rope bouquets. Don’t waste your time with those “100 calorie packs” of snack crackers they sell at the grocery store. A Nerds Rope is the most perfect 90 calories you’ll ever eat.

5. I Love You Like a Hobbit Loves Second Breakfast mug – Let your mom know how much you love her, I mean, really love her, in a language she’ll understand. Don’t even get me started about elevensies.

6. Copper mule glasses – Mules are the perfect drink for summer, so buy mama some cool glasses. Also, if you haven’t tried the Kentucky Mule, in my opinion it beats the Moscow mule all dang day. Shot of bourbon, ginger beer, crushed mint, squeeze of lime.

7. Cold brew coffee filter – I keep staring at the newfangled BRUW system with a little drool sliding down my chin. My coffee can’t get cold if it starts that way.

8. Antique style popcorn popper – I want this for our family movie nights. This is the kind of cooking I can do.

Books & Music

1. Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children trilogy – For Mother’s Day, some of us want to spend all day curled up with a great story, and this one is fantastic if you love the deliciously macabre, time travel, and superpowers.

2. Wayward Pines trilogy – A great story for the mom who loves sci-fi, this trilogy drew me in and kept surprising me.

3. Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends – Okay okay, a little shameless self-promotion. I wrote a damn fine book that’ll help the weird mom in your life find some friends. Give it to her with a note that says, “You don’t scare me.” Sweetness for days.

4. Hamilton cast recording – I mean, I have whole conversations in Hamilton lyrics at this point. I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, this is the single greatest piece of American art ever created.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack – The new soundtrack is out, and yes, I have indeed been waiting for it for over a year. If you don’t have volume one, we listen to it almost every day in the car because my son’s favorite song is “Cherry Bomb,” and no I don’t want to talk about it.

6. Adult coloring book – Sometimes a mother just has to shut up and color. Three of my favorites are the Serenity coloring book, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Doctor Who.

Practical & Worky

1. Dancing Groot car charger – My phone runs out of juice every single day while I’m playing minivan taxi driver, and Dancing Groot would solve this problem with style.

2. Hair clip multi-tool – I want this clip so I can feel like I’m in a spy movie the next time I need a screwdriver. Don’t the ladies in films always pull out a hairpin to MacGyver their way through a sticky spot? I think this clip will help us open boxes, change batteries, and file a hangnail.

3. Car diffuser – I wanna say I put this one on the list because essential oils! and health! and stuff, but really it covers up the smell of feet and fart, and my kids zone out staring at the color changing light. I spend all afternoon in my car schlepping kids from whither and thence and this little guy makes my tiny kingdom smell like peppermint and lemon.

4. I Adulted! Stickers for Grown-Ups – Listen, as moms, nobody’s going to encourage us, so we might as well encourage ourselves. Make your own chart and give yourself stickers for adulting. Who knows? Maybe you can earn a big prize at the end of the month.

5. Lifesize Weeping Angel cardboard standup – This’ll make the kids – or co-workers – think twice before bothering Mommy while she’s working. I want this in front of my desk, with a sign warning, “Don’t blink.”

6. Kavu Rope Bag – I love my Kavu bag, and it comes in a million different patterns. It’s big enough to hold anything from my iPad and a couple of books to diapers and wipes.

7. Fuzzy blanket – Listen, if you don’t have a luxurious fuzzy blanket in your life that you don’t have to share with your kids, you need one stat. Fuzzy blankets are like a hug that never lets go and at least as good as therapy.

Being All Generous

1. Sponsor a child – Gee willikers, I would love to see the remaining kids at our HopeChest CarePoint in Uganda find sponsors. If the mom in your life has a heart for helping orphaned and vulnerable children, I can vouch for this program and have partnered with the amazing staff and community there for many years.

2. Donation to Mother-to-Mother – Coffee+Crumbs is working to help a group of moms in Guatemala City kick off a co-op that will help them earn fair wages and take care of their kids. Wanna help some other moms this Mother’s Day? Here’s a great way.

Okay, hopefully something on this list strikes your fancy. And if not, I heard there was a sale on blenders…


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