Use these ideas as your guide and give her a first Mother’s Day to remember.

By Angela Kwan
Updated April 11, 2017
Sally Anscombe/Getty Images

It’s an exciting time being a first-time mom and experiencing everything that goes along with it—from bonding with baby, witnessing a first smile or laugh, and much more. But it can also be an exhausting time, too. After plenty of sleepless nights, crying fits, and obscene blowouts, Mom deserves to be spoiled rotten. Before you head to the store or do some online shopping, consider what Mom would most appreciate: a day of much-needed alone time, a special day with the family, or a mix of both.“One of the first things we always tell Dad is every mom is different and know what makes her happiest,” says Kristen Chase, publisher of Cool Mom Picks. “She may want a day with the baby or without the baby.” Take a look at some foolproof ideas below.

Sally Anscombe/Getty Images

Don’t Forget the Card

It’s easy to overlook, yet so simple to execute. Save your money and opt for a DIY card—you won’t be sorry. “From my kids, I always love homemade cards,” says Jennifer Borget from Cherish 365. Not crafty? No problem. “Some of my favorite cards were made with three markers and computer paper,” says Jill Krause of Baby Rabies. Chase recommends putting baby’s handprint or footprint on the card, since it is, technically, from him. Remember to include a nice message. If you’ve got writer’s block, steal inspiration from these witty cards.

Opt for a Sentimental Keepsake

“Moms love getting something sentimental in terms of representing motherhood,” says Chase. She suggests saving that new purse for another holiday like her birthday. Gift ideas that tug at the heartstrings include a photo book of baby’s first year, jewelry (adorned with baby’s birthstone or engraved), or something personalized from Etsy. If Mom prefers experiences over goods, consider booking a session with a professional photographer. The family photo shoot doesn’t have to take place on Mother’s Day. Regardless of when you schedule it, give her a heads up so she’ll be ready for her close-up.

Send Her on a Day of Pampering

Motherhood takes a toll on the mind and body. For the mom who cherishes “me” time, it’s hard to beat a day at the spa. “Everyone should spend time alone—at the spa, in the bubble bath,” says Borget. Help Mom rejuvenate with a day (or even an hour) at her favorite spa or salon. If a massage or a manicure isn’t in the budget this year, assemble a spa gift basket and then make yourself scarce. She can decompress in a tranquil home while you tire baby out at the park. Bonus points if you can return home right before nap time. Then you can both enjoy an hour of peace and quiet before baby wakes up.

Give Her an Invaluable Gift

Sure, we all love gifts. But think of Mother’s Day as a chance to honor Mom with acts of kindness for all the unpaid, thankless (and often downright gross) work she does. Small gestures speak volumes, whether it’s breakfast in bed that includes clean-up service, a day of diaper duty, or a night of feeding. “Any way to acknowledge the hard first months of motherhood is wonderful,” says Chase.

If you’re totally clueless, print this foolproof Mother’s Day coupon. Print it, put a bow on it, and sign your baby’s name.

Plan a Date Night

Okay, this one is a wee bit selfish. Ask a relative or trusted sitter to come over and give mom an evening off. The first year of parenthood can put immense stress on a relationship. Spend a few hours reconnecting as a twosome, and try to talk about something other than your bundle of joy. “Everyone is sleep-deprived and adjusting to a new person in the house,” says Chase. “Going out and doing adult things is a special treat for any mom.”

Celebrate With Other Moms

“A lot of women develop stronger relationships with their moms after they have a baby,” says Chase. If she’s close with her mother or grandmother, consider a multi-generational celebration like a family brunch or dinner.

“Be mindful of the single moms in your life, too!” says Krause. “If their kids don't have another parent or support person who can come up with a way to celebrate Mother's Day, offer to help.” This could be as simple as giving your friend or relative a card from her baby and a gift card to her favorite coffee shop. You could invite the other family to spend the day with yours (just check with your partner first). Or, you could send the ladies to the movies or a wine bar while you babysit for the afternoon. Your thoughtfulness will not go unnoticed.