16 working moms on what they really want for Mother’s Day

True: the phrase ‘working mom’ pairs two synonymous words, since all mothers (and parents in general) are always on the clock. Also true: for those female professionals who balance a full-time gig with another full-time, lifelong job, Mother’s Day offers an opportunity to celebrate the magical way she somehow, pulls it all off.

Though there are plenty of gift guides and recommendations for the sweetest, coolest, trendiest and kindest products around, there are some gestures that go even longer.

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Here, women entrepreneurs and executives share what they really want for Mother’s Day — and spoiler — it’s not a box of chocolates. Though, sure, that’d be nice, too.

“I want my kids to use their voice.”

“For Mother’s Day, I would really love all three of my kids to recognize the importance of making their voices heard and speak out. In the workplace, this is critical because it’s how you ensure you are recognized and are able to have an impact. In the personal sphere, speaking out is necessary to effect change and feel empowered. By speaking out, you recognize your power and can never regret missing opportunities.” — Vanessa Yakobson, CEO/Partner at Blo Blow Dry Bar, and mom of three.

“A nice family photo and a full night of — uninterrupted — sleep.”

“We are having our family over for Mother’s Day. We’ve bought jewelry — and will buy cards and flowers — for the ‘grandmas’ and will be cooking up a storm and drinking nice wine. But, then we’ll be cleaning up a messy home and kitchen, still having to figure out naps, do bath-book-bottle-bedtime routines and somehow go to work the next day. So, I would really love a nice family picture where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling so I can print it and frame it. And, I’d love to sleep a full eight hours to recharge and get ready for the week.” — Meredith Klein, Director of Media and Public Relations for Jet.com, and mom of two.

“I want someone to drop me off at my local bookstore.”

“I want the luxury to browse at Vroman’s in Los Angeles — alone — for at least two hours. Losing myself in a bookstore is one of my favorite things in the world. But it’s not the type of errand you put in the datebook. While I am overjoyed to share a love of books with my kids, I miss wandering through the shelves, completely lost.” — Amanda McIntosh, founder of Take My Face Off, and mom of two.

“I want thoughtful things or experiences that mean a lot to me.”

“I don’t want them to feel obliged to go over the top for and their mom seems to feel the same. Little things like knowing what I like, or use, or need, mean a ton to me — coupled with a kiss on the cheek, and I’m good! Gardening is my thing. I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I feel good about it when I’m done and I freak out when we have our own veggies.” — Noreen Moriarty, Co-Founder of Aethera Beauty, and stepmom to three.

“A girl’s day with my girl.”

“As a working mom, time with my 5-year-old-daughter is so precious. So for us, that means brunch with my L.A. mama friends and their littles, mani/pedis at Olive & June, and blowouts at Drybar. Then home to nap — I’m not kidding! We end the day with a spa night in together where we take a eucalyptus bubble bath, put cucumbers on our eyes, wrap ourselves in fluffy white robes, order pizza, and watch My Little Pony. Perfection!” — Sara Happ, Founder of Sara Happ, and mom of one.

“The gift of one Wednesday a month to myself.”

“The most valuable commodity for a crazy busy, stressed out, pulled-in-every-direction mom is having some time alone to unwind and recharge. A local eatery here hosts some relaxing music and a few wine specials on Wednesday nights, but I am rarely able to escape the chaos of bedtime to enjoy either. The gift of time – just one Wednesday night a month – where I could dash out the door for a few hours of calm would be more appreciated than anything that could be bought at a store!” — Bethany Hollars, Content Director of BrickSeek, and mom of four.

“I want thoughtfulness and time.”

“I love reading and I really enjoy getting time outside, so my family chooses a hiking trail, pulls together a picnic of my favorite foods and takes me out for the morning. Then we will go home where they give me time and space to read all by myself on the porch — no interruptions, no questions — just me and a good book with no guilt at all.” — Tonya Dalton, Founder and CEO of inkWELL Press and mom of two.

“I want a Mother’s Day card, picked out by my son — without my husband’s help.”

“In that card, I would love a heartfelt message from him written in his own writing. And, perhaps a ten-minute conversation with him where we actually talk about what is going on in his life! One more thing, that he takes a picture of him and me together! It’s a lot, I know. This to me would be the true essence of motherhood, meaningful time spent with the child I gave birth to — no easy feat — and helped to raise! I just love seeing and hearing who my child is as a human being-especially now, when he will be off to college in a few months.” — Jill Boylan, Owner of Soul Journey, and mom of one.

“A casual family photo session.”

“My family needs to be intentional about taking a picture of all of us — and I can imagine it will only get harder if we have more kids. It would mean a lot to me if my husband and in the future, kids, chose a frame and then made time to take a picture together. It would be great to see the family year over year on a special day like Mother’s Day day. Then I want to go to a yoga class … alone.” — Amy Zitelman, CEO and Co-Founder of Soom Foods, and mom of one.

“Spend a day with my children, living in the moment.”

“As a busy entrepreneur and a mother of four young children, I always look for time in the day to focus on self-care and a little pampering. The best gift I could receive on Mother’s Day is to spend quality time with my family. My business takes a lot of my attention and I often feel like I am juggling a million things. I would love to spend the day with my children being present in all the activities we do to celebrate the day. A morning cuddle with my kiddos, healthy morning breakfast in bed, yoga, picnic in the park, long walk or bike ride sounds fantastic to me. Spending time with the ones I love is what I would adore this Mother’s Day.” — Leila Aalam, Aesthetician and Founder of Beuti Skincare, and mom of one.

“A day when I’m ‘off.’ ”

“As an entrepreneur in the parenting space, I spend my working time devoted to creating products that fill the needs of children. And when I am ‘off’, I switch to spending all my personal time with my own little girls. So, while flowers and brunch are really cute ideas, what I really want is to feel young and free for just a few hours — nobody’s needs to fulfill, no kid-centric activities and just plain fun! Of course, we’ll talk about our children and husbands but we’ll laugh along the way and be carefree for a bit. For the past three years, I’ve taken a short ‘mom-cation’ to re-center and disconnect, and I highly recommend it!” — Julia Lera Israch, Founder of Tantrum Fix, and mom of two.

“I want to spend time with my family — and to finish a hot cup of coffee in one sitting.”

“This holiday used to be one so wrapped up in expectation. For so many years, I measured success by the standards of others, by constantly looking sideways and constantly comparing myself to other moms. So Mother’s Day became another comparison game for me. When I finally found a new way to measure success, which for me is by looking inward and defining it for myself, in a unique way for me and my family, I no longer measure my self worth, or my importance by an Instagram-worthy breakfast in bed, or any other external measure. I measure success in quality time, with the people and things that bring me joy, which includes food, flowers, and hot coffee.” Lisa Canning, Speaker, Author and Coach, and mom of seven.

“I want to cook them breakfast play and binge-watch.”

“I would like to wake up and be able to cook a very special breakfast for all of them — I know, different. Some moms would want breakfast made for them. Then, I would like to go to the park and shoot some soccer ball with them for at least two hours until they are exhausted. Afterward, I would like to go out to lunch at a nice restaurant with them, order and eat whatever I want, including a nice bottle of dry white wine. Come back home, binge watch TV for the rest of the afternoon. For bedtime, I would like to put them to bed, but not be the one who gives them their showers and have a babysitter watch them while I go out to a fancy restaurant with my husband for date night. … [it] is hard balancing my career and motherhood. I don’t get to have a lot of quality downtime with them, due to lack of free time. And they are constantly requesting I do these activities with them, so as a mother making them happy on makes me happy on Mother’s Day.” — Carmen Larach, Head Designer at Charles Diehl Architect LLC, and mom of three.

“I want a massage — and four hours alone at home.”

“My reasons for wanting a massage are pretty self-explanatory. It’s a time to deeply relax and feel good. The experience of going to a spa and being really cared for, while basking in some quiet time is the perfect situation for Mother’s Day. I’d also love four hours alone in my home with no husband or kids around. During that time I’ll do exactly what I want to do. People, particularly mothers, tend to be so externally focused on what we’re doing, so we rarely have time to feel our desires and do what we actually want to do. Taking time to tap into that space — ‘what is it that I actually want to do’ — gives us grace in the rest of our lives.” — Briana Borten, Founder of The Dragontree and Leader of Love Rising Collective, and mom of two.

“Whatever they want to give me!”

“I do not want my kids to spend money on a ‘thing’ for me for Mother’s Day. The best gift for this busy working mom with many children is spending time with them. If they want to take me for brunch or a play, that is a beautiful memory we can make together. Last year, one of my daughter’s wanted to do a clean-up of the ravine in our backyard with me on Mother’s Day. It was not a glamorous way to spend the day, but we worked on the project together, had some laughs and spent time together outdoors. That was good for me!” — Julie Cole, founder of Mabel’s Labels, and mom of six.

“I want my son to take the garbage out — and my daughter to focus on homework.”

“I want my son to bring down the garbage cans before being asked and my daughter to stop making silly Tik Tok videos and focus on her homework. That, or a two-hour massage in a foreign country! My son is about to go to college and my daughter is almost a senior in high-school so they are growing up fast and need to start fending for themselves — as much as it pains me to say. I want my kids to be set up for success, so even taking the steps to do these little things points them in the right direction. I certainly attribute a lot of my success the being accountable for my actions and owning them!” — Risa Barash, Founder and CEO of Fairy Tales Hair Care, and mom of two.

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