Give time • For mothers with young children, never underestimate the restorative power of a clean house, said Carina H. Wytiaz, national editor for Today'sMama.com(an online resource for moms), avid blogger (JetSetCarina.com) and a mother of three living in Provo. Wytiaz says every couple of years for Mother's Day, her husband will hire a cleaning service to give the house a thorough scour and scrub.
"A housekeeper will come, and when the house is clean, everybody else leaves," Wytiaz said. "Being left alone in a clean house for a few hours, that's the best present a mother can get."
Remember nature • Consider switching out cut flowers for a living gift that keeps on giving. Salt Lake City resident Wendy Davis, the mother of two college-aged children and a returning college student herself, remembers the year her daughters insisted on giving her a peach tree sapling over their father's objections.
"I now have that tree in my back yard and it is a constant reminder of the love my girls and husband have for me," she said. "I am sure that the peaches it produces are the best-tasting peaches ever because of their thoughtfulness."
But beware of letting the kids run the show or adding to the household. Laura Durham, visual arts manager of the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, remembers when she and her siblings brought her mother two kittens and let her choose which one she wanted.
"Of course she couldn't bear the thought of keeping one and sending the other back (typical mother response), but my dad said we could only keep one," Durham said. "Worst Mother's Day ever!"
Nurture the caregiver • According to the RetailMeNot survey, just 2 percent of givers are likely to give their mothers a day at the spa, but Wytiaz says you can't go wrong with giving mom a little pampering. A few years ago, she and her siblings bought their mother a spa card so she could enjoy her first pedicure, at age 60.
"She never does personal things for herself," Wytiaz said. "She loved it, but she was worried that we spent too much money on her."
It's the thought that counts • Although the typical American will spend $168 on mom this year, according to the National Retail Federation, many mothers are just as tickled with a handmade token rather than anything money can buy.
Farmington resident and actress Kim Allen Tolman says her mother is a "sucker for the sentimental," a trait she inherited.
"I don't need flowers or anything fancy," Tolman said. "Give me a handwritten card or something with their hand print, and I'm over-the-moon content."
What mom really wants for Mother's Day
Flowers • 18 percent
Spa day • 18 percent
Gift certificate • 15 percent
Jewelry •15 percent
Source • RetailMeNot.com
The perils of pleasing mom
According to RetailMeNot.com, nearly seven in 10 consumers are more worried about what to buy their moms for Mother's Day than what to buy their dads for Father's Day.