What Moms Really Want for Mother's Day

Spas, jewelry and flowers aren't top gifts. Recessionary wishes: family time.

May 5, 2009, 1:09 PM

May 6, 2009— -- What do moms want most for Mother Day's this year? Jewelry? Flowers? A fancy dinner out?

Sure those things would be nice, but what moms across the country told ABC News is that -- more than anything else -- they just want to spend time with their families.

Maybe the deep recession has made Americans refocus on traditional values and what matters most to us. Perhaps moms understand best how much people are struggling to pay their bills and don't want to pile any more of a burden on their children.

No matter what, the unscientific sampling of readers who responded to ABC News' question, "What's your idea of the perfect Mother's Day gift?," overwhelming indicated that it was not material items. Sure there was some pampering mixed in, but what hard-working mom doesn't deserve a little rest and relaxation?

Here is a sampling of our favorite responses. Feel free to borrow the ideas for your mother. Maybe she'll be pleasantly surprised.

Kelley MacDonald, of Tiverton, R.I.: "What I really 'want' for Mother's Day is a sunny day with my three wonderful children, all in their 20s, helping me do the 'big stuff' in my garden. I don't want them to spend any money on me -- they don't have it to spend! I don't want something I have to dust, or even a gift certificate. I'd like it if we all shared some laughs, threw some burgers on the grill, and everybody tidied up afterward. I'd like everyone to hug each other before they left … I'd go to sleep so happy and peacefully, with a blessing like that -- which is actually not so different from any other time they visit."

Colleen Gonzales, of Monroe, N.C.: "What I want for Mother's Day is to have all the house cleaned, including laundry. Breakfast, lunch and dinner catered to me, since for the past 11 years all I have done is cook, clean, shuffle children to and from different places. Wipe runny noses and give kisses to booboos all day. I would like a nice family picture. I would like a haircut and color because my gray is showing quite well for the age of 32. Yep, 32 and lots of gray, considering I have four boys from the age of 11 to 2 years old. No flowers or candy, just to be able to pamper myself."

Kristin Howland, of La Verne, Calif., has two children, ages 12 and 15.

"For one day, I'd like the things that would make my life easier: When there are dirty dishes on the counter, wash them. When I ask what sounds good for dinner, answer with something not just 'I don't know' or 'Whatever.' If you have to step over it to get where you're going, pick it up and put it away. If you use the last of the milk, tell me. On the way to school is too late for me to wash your PE clothes. A day where I do not need to orchestrate the cleaning, washing, cooking, homework would be heavenly."

Nichole Funk-King, of South Point, Ohio,: "Having my car payment and the rest of my rental deposit caught up, not having to worry about where I would get the money for groceries for me and my daughter and oh yeah, did I mention a microwave?! And a whole carefree day to spend with my daughter and my mother going out to eat and maybe a little shopping. I want just a few simple things. As a single mother, the simple things make my life easier.

Breakfast in Bed for Mom

Cindy Smith-Janasik, of Dillsburg, Pa., recalls that a few years ago her two sons made her breakfast on Mother's Day.

"What made it so unusual was I could choose what I wanted. They typed up a menu with eggs, pancakes, toast, juice, waffles, and many more items listed on the menu. I had to choose my selection and they would cook it -- they were 8 and 13 at the time. They did a wonderful job and the food was edible! They served me in bed with a flower on the lap-table. And the kitchen was spotless. I was so taken by their thoughtfulness and beforehand work, I laminated the menu and still look at it with a smile to this day!"

Mary Beth Niedermier, of Sylvania, Ohio, is married to an information technology manager for a Chrysler supplier. They were told last week that production would stop this week.

"My Mother's Day wish is that I am able to keep everything normal for my family. I wish I could get my mortgage paid, health insurance paid, some bills paid and that my two daughters don't understand how much our family is going to have to sacrifice to make everything work."

Sheila Hill, of Caddo Mills, Texas, has a son in the military currently deployed.

"I would like nothing more than to be able to hear him on the phone and see him at the same time. Since he won't be home this year, a phone call will come when he can and I get pics now and again but to see him live and hear him at the same time would make my Mother's Day. A picture is worth its weight in gold but a live picture when they are so far away, is priceless."

Laura Henry, of Napoleon, N.D., is a florist. "So flowers are not on the top of my list. After working extremely long hours for Mother's Day, my perfect gift would be plants, trees or shrubs for my yard. I purchased my parents' house a few years ago and the yard is in need of desperate repair. Even grass seed would be all right with me."

Millisa Baker, of Apple Valley, Calif., is just looking forward to being the center of her family's attention.

"Being a working mom you are usually taken for granted. The things you do are 'Just the things mom does.' From cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, giving baths, getting my daughter ready for school or ready for bed. Getting the baby fed along with anything else a 4-month-old may need, and many other little tasks that pop up. At the same time getting ready for work myself. Also being the loving and supporting partner. It's a lot. So it's nice even for one day to be the one that is pampered and appreciated. Even if all it is is breakfast in bed and a homemade card. That is a beautiful Mother's Day!"

Time for Mom to Rest

Karen Anderson, of Muskogee, Okla., works full time and often after hours. Her daughter and grandson had to move in last July. For Mother's Day, she "just would like someone to clean my house. I am exhausted at the end of each day."

Theresa Trimmer, of West Point, Va., has two sons, ages 22 and 27.

"I would love it if they would both come with me to church and then out to a local restaurant for lunch! That would make my day!"

Melody Loftin, of Houston, said the best gift would be the company of her two grown children.

"Cooking together, catching up and maybe a good movie … after all, the best things in life really are free."

Belinda Bishop, of Athens, Ala., has a son in Arizona and a daughter in North Carolina.

"Everyone is all grown up now. We're thousands of miles apart. I guess it's silly to a lot of people, but since their dad died in 1989, the three of us have become really close. We still are, but we never really get to be together anymore. Everyone has their jobs, and in my daughter's case, two jobs. I would love for the three of us to be together for the day. They'll call, and that's great, but I miss us all being together. I would also love to know that my daughter won't lose her house."

Jessica Tschirhart, of Gloucester Va.: "I don't really see the point of this day. I love my family and they love me. But they give me things anyway and I enjoy it. Things are hard right now and I'd like to go see the new 'Star Trek' movie with my husband, eat at my mom-in-law's."

Maria D.Castillo, of Deer Park, Texas: "I think a single, hard-working full-time mother should get a good pair of diamond earrings. These will last forever and will also remind her how she's appreciated as she wears them."

Flowers for Mom

Linda Crews, of Muscatine, Iowa: "I tell my children not to spend their money on me, but they always do. So I tell them I just want flowers to plant in my garden pots. That way I have something to enjoy all summer long."

Heidi McCabe, of Rockville Centre, N.Y.: "I'd like a lot of things I'd feel guilty buying myself, like a BlackBerry phone, spa treatment of some kind, even breast augmentation. However, the one thing that tops all the lists is time … alone, that is. What I wouldn't give to have a few days all to myself in our own home. How great it would be to wake up in my bed whenever I want; have that cup of coffee without nuking it 15 times before I finish it; browse through the weekend circulars in the paper on our back porch; take my time showering and getting dressed; schedule a random lunch/coffee with a friend in town; even browse through a few local stores at my own pace without a deadline about when I have to be home; spend hours on the Internet; fix myself something to eat and drink … not in a sippy cup; read something; do anything; do nothing! It would be amazing!"

Madeline Elliott, of Pleasant Hill, Calif.: "I think the best gift to give to a mom is to send a donation to all moms out there who've been through tough times with their family. I feel for them. I'm a struggling single mom who doesn't have a lot, but I have been very blessed and fortunate enough to have a job and keep my place with my two teenagers."

Kathy Widner, of Martinez, Calif., asks for one thing: no laundry for a month.

"That would be my ultimate gift. I feel like I spend every weekend doing laundry. We are also trying to be green and are trying to save money so I get up early so I can get things hung up on the line."

Raquel L Gitch, of Sumner, Iowa: "I want the gift that you're not supposed to get for Mother's Day -- a vacuum. With two dogs and four children and with summer just around the corner my carpet will be infused with dog hair and mulch from the flower beds. I've gone through so many vacuums and none have lasted or have managed to get the dog hair out of the fibers of the carpet."

Sandy Crain, of Spearfish, S.D.: "No gifts, just to spend time with my 7-year-old son and laugh at his silly jokes and stories."

A Home-Cooked Meal

Tracey Davis, of Auburn Wash.: "We are as hard hit by the economic downturn as much as the next person. So, if I was to receive any gift for Mother's Day, I would like something akin to a relaxing day. Let me sleep in (without hollering at the kids to be quiet as this is counterproductive), make breakfast when I get hungry, (not 8 a.m.), take the kids out of the house for a little bit so I can have me time, and you make dinner (yes, that includes doing the dishes when you are finished)."

Carlene Orloff, of Cottage Grove, Minn.: "What I would love for Mother's Day is all my children and grandchildren to spend the day with me as they do every year. After the day with them I would love nothing more than to spend five minutes at least with my mama. She passed away six years ago."

Brenda Erwin, of Hurst, Texas, spent last Mother's Day fighting breast cancer.

"This year, my husband is delivering flowers through Mother's Day weekend to pick up a little extra cash. While I'm teaching first grade Sunday school, he will likely be delivering flowers on Sunday, too. My daughter will be at her job, decorating cookie cakes for Great American Cookie in the mall. So Mother's Day will likely be very non-celebratory because we are doing what we need to do.

"I don't want Hallmark cards or fancy bouquets of flowers. I don't want big boxes of chocolates or expensive dinners out. I'd just like for the energy and the time to actually clean my house and mop the kitchen floor."

Carolyn Cagle, of Asheville, N.C., said she doesn't want a foot or back message or dinner out.

"If it was all so possible, just to have my mother with me for just for an hour. I lost her 49 years ago. I had just turned a teenager and to this day she is greatly missed.

"But at least I will have wonderful memories. The next best thing … to have dinner with my son and listen to his all of dreams and hopes and the girls in his life."

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