Actresses, authors, and businesswomen share the creative ways their kids have said “I love you.”

By Liz Steelman
Updated April 01, 2016
Monica Buck
Monica Buck

Flowers with child painting

One of the best presents I received was a painting of a mountain from my son. It was a school project where they asked the kids to draw something from nature that they feel is a representation of their mother. I loved that Mother’s Day!

—Kate Hudson, actress, entrepreneur and author of Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body


When my kids were very little, probably 3 and 6, I’d slept late. When I finally emerged from the bedroom they couldn’t wait to give me their gifts. My husband had brought them to one of my favorite neighborhood stores and helped each of them choose a gift. I was trying to get some coffee in me and they were jumping and down holding the presents and my husband said, “Come on, guys. let’s give Mom a minute; Let her sit down and have a cup of coffee.” And the little one burst out with “Okay, but I want to give her the pen!” prompting my older son to say, “Then I’m giving her the watering can!” Aside from the humor of them literally not being able to wait 30 seconds and blurting out what the gifts were, they were both very thoughtful items.

—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest


My first Mother’s Day occurred about a month after my daughter was born. My husband made a video of her in which he moved her chin with his thumb to make it look like she was talking, then he provided voiceover saying “Happy Mother’s Day, Mummy!” in (what he imagined to be) a British infant’s voice. It’s very important to maintain a sense of humor, and amid the hecticness of daily life, this makes me pause and reflect on how wonderful being a mom (usually) is.

—Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep and Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice


My son made a delightfully messy apron for me in 2012. It is covered in his blue paint footsteps. I love that it will always remind me of how sweet and small his feet used to be!

—Kimberly Williams-Paisley, actress and author of Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again


On a recent Mother’s Day morning, the kids and I spent time snuggling before heading out to my favorite hike in the woods of San Francisco’s Presidio. My mother happened to be in town, so she joined us. After the hike, my husband took the kids home, so my mom and I could enjoy a special mother-daughter brunch. I loved the combination of starting my day with my kids in the great outdoors and spending quality time with my mother. Now that I’m a mom, I appreciate those rare moments of adult time with my mom.

— Lynn Perkins, CEO and co-founder, UrbanSitter


A handmade little book from my son Freddie that included a picture he drew, a little paragraph about what we do together, and a photo. It captured a moment in time in the sweetest way. It was so meaningful to hear about what he likes to do with me and what his perspective is like at age. I really try to foster creativity and self expression in my kids and focus on effort and thoughtfulness, versus a right or perfect way to do something.

— Blythe Harris, chief creative officer at Stella & Dot and co-founder KEEP Collective


The handmade cards and drawings from my girls are always the best gifts. They are so special to me because they’re like a time capsule. I love to see how everything about them evolves over the years—their handwriting, their drawings, their coloring. My husband and I always encourage them to be creative and resourceful. It’s a reinforcement that using their imagination and their heart is the greatest gift they have to give.

— Jessica Alba, actress and founder of The Honest Company


The best gift I’ve ever received for Mother’s Day was when my children, Jayden (8) and Chloe (6) made me their own cards and created unique picture frames with arts and crafts materials that framed their photo of us! This gift in particular, reminded me of how much love and adoration they have for me as their mommy, how much they appreciate me and the sacrifices I make as a single mom (I had a crown and a cape in the picture they drew in my card!). But most importantly, it reminded me of how impressionable they are and showed me which moment in time, marked by the photo they chose, was their favorite "mommy moment" for them that year!

— Lauren Maillian, marketer, author of The Path Redefined, and host of Oxygen's Quit Your Day Job

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

This Mother's Day, we asked Real Simple staffers and readers the same question: what was the best Mother's Day gift you've ever received? See their answers here. Still trying to find that perfect gift for your own mom? Here, our editors come to the rescue with 40+ great gifts.