If you'd like to give her the full treatment, but can't swing the full price tag, here's an itinerary to make her feel like a queen for a day. Or at least like a scullery maid with the day off.
Let her sleep in. According to ModernMom. com, 37 percent of mothers polled said if they could have one extra hour each day, they would prefer to spend it sleeping. Compare that with the 6 percent who would choose time with their children, and 12 percent who would be with their partner. No offense, squirts.
Breakfast in bed. Get a tray - or cover a cookie sheet with a dish towel, if you can't figure out where she keeps the trays. Send the kids out to the yard to pick a couple of flowers. Stick them in a soda bottle with water. Assemble the meal. Many moms would prefer Dad didn't cook, so here are some suggestions from Steven Rosenberg, chief eating officer (seriously) for Liberty Heights Fresh market in Salt Lake City:
"Get some really good granola that's handmade with no junk in it. Serve it with really excellent yogurt and fresh organic strawberries. You can drizzle a little maple syrup on it, but you don't need it." Add some "fresh orange juice, and handmade bread baked that day or the day before."
If she likes a little more substance, fry up some bacon. But make sure it comes from a pig, not a turkey.
"Give her authentic food that when you read the ingredient list, it's not hard to pronounce," he said.
Kick her out of the house. After she has showered and dressed - and has read the paper, taken a catnap and whatever else she wants to do - hand her a printout of the day's activities. Make sure her favorite CDs are in the car, ready to play.
Body work. Buy a massage in advance at one of the massage therapy schools in Salt Lake City, where prices are about half what you would find in a spa. If she goes to Utah College of Massage Therapy, she'll have to wait for an opening, but Myotherapy College of Utah and Healing Mountain Massage School take appointments. She can enjoy a basic Swedish or deep-tissue massage at Myotherapy.
Or she can get fancy at Healing Mountain, which offers reiki, prenatal, craniosacral and four-handed massage, as well as spa treatments. It's about $25 for a 50-minute session. And you can request an advanced student or someone you know by name.
"It looks like a spa. It feels like a spa," said Josh Blumental, a regular at Healing Mountain. "It doesn't feel like a school."
If the school setting would put her off, try Knead a Massage in Salt Lake, which offers 30-minute sessions with licensed therapists for $35, and 60-minute sessions for $55.
Lunch. Arrange for her to meet a friend for sushi or salad someplace nearby. Include a gift certificate so she doesn't have to visit the ATM or even sign the bill. Insist that she eat dessert.
Spa services. This is where it usually gets pricey, but for moms willing to primp outside the box, there are affordable alternatives to traditional spas.
Roxann Vredenburg visits the spa at the Cameo College of Essential Beauty in Murray two or three times a week for pedicures, facials, waxing or manicures. A lot of people are surprised when she tells them where she gets her pampering, but "I like them, and it's a great service." And service is key. If you don't like the manicure you're getting, an instructor will step in or find another student to help you, she said.
There's also the cost, said the Sandy mother, who, with a daughter in private school, has to watch her budget.
Manicures run from $15 to $20 at one of the schools. Facials cost $25 to $30. Body wraps, polishes and compresses are $35 to $40. You can even get chemical skin peels and microdermabrasion for $40 to $60. All prices are a fraction of what a spa usually charges.
"All of the treatments are performed by students, but we have round-the-clock instructors scheduled to be with them, to monitor them and to be available if students have questions," said Candice Caudle, director of the Skin Science Institute in Salt Lake.
More complicated procedures like peels are performed only by advanced students.
Be sure to ask beauty and massage schools about packages and discounts available this time of year. And call soon - appointments are snapped up quickly.
Back home. Now that she's decompressed and refreshed, spend the night together as a family playing games or watching a movie. She'll be especially pleased if Dad has pizza dinner ready (again, no cooking!), the laundry is folded and put away and the children are clean. When bedtime comes, tuck in the kiddies and let Mom soak in a hot bath. Make sure there are candles around the tub and flowers on her nightstand.
Pampering for less
* Healing Mountain Massage School, 455 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City; 801-355-6300
* Myotherapy College of Utah, 1174 E. 2700 South, Salt Lake City; 801-484-7624
* Utah College of Massage Therapy, 25 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City; 801-521-3330
* Knead a Massage, 2670 S. 2000 East, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6988
There are many; here are a few in the Salt Lake Valley.
* Cameo College of Essential Beauty, 124 E. 5770 South, Murray; 801-747-5704
* Skin Science Institute, 28 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City; 801-983-0619
* Skin Works School of Advanced Skin Care, 2122 S. 230 East, South Salt Lake; 801-530-0001
* SLEEPING IN: Free
* BREAKFAST: $5
* MASSAGE: $25-$30
* LUNCH: $10-$15
* SPA TREATMENTS: $30-$60
* DINNER: $25
* BATH: Free
* ROMANCE: Priceless
* TOTAL: $95-$135