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Mother's Day is fast approaching, and although you'll never hear us complain about receiving any type of gift, sometimes a bit of the unexpected is just what a mama needs to brighten up her day.


If flowers, chocolates, and breakfast in bed isn't your thing, we've got 7 out of the box ideas that will make the perfect gift for a favorite mama in your life (or for yourself!) this Mother's Day.

1. A sensible style

Kids create a lot of messes, am I right? Enter Ruggable: an interchangeable, nonslip, durable, stain resistant, pet friendly, and COMPLETELY MACHINE WASHABLE rug. Yes, you heard that right. Ruggable rugs can be easily lifted up and thrown right in the washing machine, eliminating mama's need to flip out every time her kid spills his milk all over the living room. (Or his jelly sandwich all over the family room. Or his yogurt all over the hallway. You get the idea...) And they come in a huge array of styles, sizes, price points + colors. What's not to love?

Ruggable Rugs
$89.00 and up, Ruggable

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2. A lasting change

If the last thing mama needs is more stuff, we love the idea of gifting something that will positively impact someone else's life. CARE's Gift of Lasting Change is the perfect way to honor mom—each donation delivers lasting solutions to poverty worldwide. In honor of Mother's Day, we especially like the opportunities available for Women's Empowerment, which include scholarships for girls to attend school, a girls' mentorship club, fighting gender-based violence, and more.

CARE.org Gift of Lasting Change
$25.00 and up, CARE.org

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3. A DNA discovery

What if a little bit of saliva could reveal the secrets of your DNA? Thanks to 23andMe, that's all it takes to learn the story of your history and beyond. 23andMe offers genetic reports that can offer insights into your ancestry, health, traits and more! That's a whole lot from one little vial of spit.

Order your kit and discover more about yourself and your family than you ever knew before.

23andMe Kits, 23andMe

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4. An instant pic fix

It's a fact: Mamas love photos of their families. But it can be next to impossible to find time to edit and print our favorite frames. (Great for our Instagram feeds, bad for all those baby books.) Enter the Polaroid Snap Touch camera—just like the Polaroid cameras of your youth, but a whole lot smarter. The LCD touchscreen lets you edit photos to be black and white, sepia, or color, and it even has Bluetooth capability. Get ready to snap, print, and share all your favorite shots with ease.

Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Digital Camera
$169.96, Amazon

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5. A kitchen vacation

Founded by a mom who wanted to give her child fresh, wholesome meals—without sacrificing time together—Nurture Life is a meal delivery service that ships age-specific, dietitian crafted meals to your doorstep. Each recipe prioritizes organic, seasonal produce and never includes artificial flavors or colors, trans fats, or high fructose corn syrup.

All you have to provide are your children's ages and dietary preferences to get started. It's a great, simple option for first solids and for expanding the palates of older children—and mamas will love how much time and energy is saves them.

Nurture Life Baby, Toddler + Kid Meal Delivery
Subscription prices vary, Nurture Life

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6. A home helper

Reading, yoga, relaxing...just a few things you might choose to do while this (amazing) robot vacuum cleans the house FOR YOU 🙌 If mama usually tackles vacuuming duties, give her the gift of time this year with what we consider to be one of the best uses of tech we've ever seen.

The iRobot Roomba has a patented cleaning system that's engineered to loosen, lift, and suction everything from small particles to large debris from carpers and hard floors. (Just don't forget to pick up all those Lego bricks first.) With easy Wifi connectivity, all it takes is the tap of a button a quick Alexa ask to get you one step closer to the clean home of your dreams.

iRobot Roomba
Prices vary depending on model, Amazon

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7. A mantra maker

Whether it's your favorite mama mantra or simply a welcome sign for friends and family to Mother's Day brunch, a letter board is the gift that keeps on giving. (Plus, it's the hottest way to make any and all big announcements.) Want to score bonus points? Gift yours with a special message to Mom already spelled out.

TF Publishing Letter Board
$43.49, Target

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

FEATURED VIDEO

The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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