10 absolutely free gifts to request this year, mama

We've got the answer to: "What do you want?"

best gifts for moms
RyanJLane/Getty

If you're a mama, you know the holiday season can be nearly as stressful and overwhelming as it is joyful. Let's be honest here: So much of the mental labor tends to fall on a mama's shoulder, especially when it comes to choosing thoughtful gifts for everyone on a family's wish list... in many cases, mothers even need to choose (and drop serious hints about) her own presents.

But here we are in 2020. For many families, money is tight. In almost every family, tensions are running high due to all the stress we've faced this year. Mamas everywhere are exhausted, trying to manage their households, careers, virtual learning, their kids' mask-wearing and social-distancing measures and so much more... often all at once.

I think we can all agree on one thing: What mamas really need (and deserve) this year is a break.

So if you're looking to save some money and would rather have a bit of time to yourself (maybe even enough to catch up on all the TV shows you've been neglecting!) instead of a new purse, here are a few gifts you could request this year. Whether you ask your partner, your parents or even your kids to gift these options to you, they won't break the bank... and will allow you to indulge in a bit of the self-care you so deserve, mama.

A week of no diaper duty

Just imagine. An entire week of simply handing your not-yet-potty-trained children over every time their diapers are stinky or wet... it sounds like a beautiful, beautiful dream. And that dream can be your reality if you request this gift. If a week seems too ambitious, consider requesting a day or a weekend instead.

An at-home spa day

I love this idea of requesting this from your own mom or sister. Have the gift-giver set up a station complete for an at-home spa session: Candles, light music, a face mask, a fluffy robe, a cup of herbal tea, maybe even some cucumber-infused water. As long as you have all these items at home, this is a cost-free gift. And if you don't have a fancy face mask on hand, consider a DIY option. A babysitting session should be a part of this gift so you can simply relax.

A month's worth of weekly coffee in bed

Ask your partner to commit to bringing you a steamy cup of coffee in bed very single Sunday morning for a full month. Who knows? Maybe it'll even become a habit. That coffee is best enjoyed while your partner gets your kids ready for the day. Just think: You can drink that precious liquid while it's still hot.

All the photos on your phone and computer organized at last

I jokingly refer to myself as "family historian" since I take and manage nearly every photo of my children. Most mamas can probably relate. But this year, request a loved one to go through all the photos on your phone and get rid of the ones you don't need to hold on to, categorize the good ones, maybe organize them by year, age or occasion. Or, even better...

Pictures you're actually in for a change!

You could request an impromptu photo session of anyone who can use an iPhone. The rule? The gift-giver has to click a certain number of approved photos of you (with or without your family members. You decide!).

A fancy home-cooked dinner (that isn't cooked by YOU, of course)

This one is sort of a classic, but for good reason. Requesting a delicious home-cooked meal that you have absolutely nothing to do with is exactly what mamas need right now. The most important part of this gift? You should not have to weigh in on a single thing. The gift-giver must choose the meal, get all the groceries, figure out how to prepare it, serve it to you and handle all clean-up. No "what-should-I-make-you-for-your-special-dinner?" type questions allowed. And while technically this does require a bit of money spent, we'll allow it since food is a necessity.

A Zoom night with friends

Having virtual dates with our friends can be game-changing as we deal with pandemic isolation, but let's face it: Planning the occasion can be kind of a pain. Request someone else to take care of all the logistics (especially the back-and-forth of trying to find a time that works for everyone involved). You just show up and have a wonderful time.

A "fancy Friday"

If you're anything like me, you miss getting dressed up. Leggings are great and all, but wearing a nice outfit and maybe even some lipstick sounds wonderful as this pandemic continues to rage. If you share this sentiment, ask your family to commit to a "fancy Friday" where everyone gets super dressed up, even if just to eat dinner at home.

A movie marathon of your choosing

Make your kiddos promise to watch all your family-friendly favorite movies under a blanket with you.... doesn't a day without hearing the theme song of whatever show they're obsessed with at the moment sound nice? And don't beat yourself up for allowing them extra screen time, mama!

A home project you've been meaning to get to taken off your hands

If you've been thinking of reorganizing your pantry or overhauling your children's' toy station, feel free to ask someone to take this off your hands as a holiday gift. And you can use all that precious time you'll save to actually read that book on your nightstand!