A Mom’s Top 5 Free Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day!

I wanted to offer up my top 5 free to cheap Valentine’s Day presents that I think any mom would love. You’ll notice a theme – it’s all about alone time or getting more sleep!

1.       Surprise sleep-in for mom where Michael gets the kids up and ready for school. It’s hard to get up at 6:45 week in and week out especially on cold mornings. (When I had Lilina, Michael got the kids ready for school that entire first year of her life and I really, really appreciated it. So he has done it the past. It would be a nice treat every once in a while.)

2.       Quiet time for me to read while he takes the kids to park (or anywhere outside the house) to play.

3.       A bubble bath alone WITHOUT a 3-year-old inviting herself in!!! (“Oooh, mountains of bubbles,” she says while stripping off her clothes. I always try to convince her the water is too hot. However that only works for so long and then before you know it I am sharing my relaxing bath with a preschooler who is trying to swim in the tub.)

4.       A walk alone with my husband. This is harder than you would think because you can’t just leave three kids alone in the house while you take a walk together. You have to either hire a babysitter or pawn them off on a friend for an hour. I would adore if he told me one of the neighbors was watching all three for us to take a walk.

5.       Massage by Michael – Michael is actually very good at massages but hates giving them. Bums me out.

One other free idea that Michael did for me at Christmas was checking out some of my favorite music from the library. It was a nice surprise for him to bring home a swing album (which he hates!!) and Michael Jackson’s greatest hits – a 5-CD collection. I appreciated him thinking about what I would enjoy. (A corollary idea: Burning her a mix CD  from old albums (cds) you used to enjoy together!)

This is a slide-show of 20 other ideas — not free though. (I love the classes idea. I would love to take dancing with Michael. I regret that I could never talk him into swing lessons before we had kids. I think that would be romantic and force you to keep weekly dates to attend the dance classes.)

On the flip side I think Michael would appreciate time alone in the house and sleeping in too.

My current plan for Michael is all his favorite food treats that the kids always steal from him – like chocolate-covered nuts and toffee-covered popcorn. Nothing fancy or expensive  — just his own private stash of snacks that the kids cheat him out of. I need to keep thinking and add some more to this plan. I am totally open to husbands’ ideas of what Michael would enjoy for Valentine’s Day. (Keep it clean – I know he would enjoy that.)

So: Moms here’s your chance to tell your hubby what you would enjoy for Valentine’s day. And hubbies here’s your chance to let us know some great ideas to make you happy!

(A slight aside: I want to wish my big brother a happy birthday today! He is 42 today and has made it more than a year and half with his new transplanted heart. It is truly a miracle that he is alive so birthdays are extra special. God bless you big brother! I hope you many more happy birthdays!)

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NoWay

February 11th, 2011
6:11 am

If you are giving in to your 3-year old then I perhaps you should recognize who the adult is and who the child is. There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries for your personal space. Oh yeah, I forgot, you also let your kids come into your bed too.

Jeff

February 11th, 2011
7:18 am

Those work well for giving to you man as well. (wink wink, nudge nudge)

deidre_NC

February 11th, 2011
7:20 am

well i rarely got to take a bath by myself when my kids were little-so i can completely understand that. i dont think it is so much giving in as its hard to resist a little one getting so excited about a bath with mommy. we even named bath time for me ‘fred’-as in ‘ok im gonna go fred now’ and it wasnt long til my youndest one figured that one out….lol…ove of the worst arguments my ex and i got in was his being unable to understand why i wanted just ONE bath without any company!! grrrr….all of these are great theresa…and maybe a cd burned for him of yalls favorite music would be nice for him to receive too. to me any time alone or with a loved one is a great gift. so it goes without saying that maybe the men would like something along those lines too.

Photius

February 11th, 2011
8:15 am

“It’s hard to get up at 6:45 week in and week out especially on cold mornings…”

Wha??? Seriously?

And kick your kid out of the bathroom when you’re in the tub; have some boundries – it’s not all about the children all the time….

6:45am…. it’s hard to get up…. Incredible.

Lori

February 11th, 2011
8:30 am

I just want my husband to take my son to his evening Karate class, so I have an hour ALONE in the house. It is surprising to me how tiring it is to never be alone. Of course, I’m going to use that hour to bake them a little surprise, rather than spending it relaxing for myself. But, hey, that’s the life of a mom!!

ABC

February 11th, 2011
8:36 am

It’s hard to get up at 6:45?? Some of us get up an hour earlier! When does your kids’ bus show up? Ours is here at 7 a.m., so getting up at 6:45 is not an option. And lock your bathroom door next time you’re in the tub. Sheesh!

  

February 11th, 2011
8:42 am

Make a mix CD then put it in portable radio then stand outside that night an play it loudly until her attention is piqued and a dramatic moment occurs. Make sure to make a dramatic statement as well in order to “win the girl.”

Proceed with movie-like scene of heartfelt novelty. Then top it off with a touch of lighthearted tomfoolery and clever catch phrases related to romantic themes.*

That’s a wrap! :D

*Disclaimer: a lot harder to do with a straight face if she’s a fat chick.

theresa

February 11th, 2011
8:51 am

I usually work at night and then try to spend a little time with michael so if you go to bed between midnight and one then 6:45 is not enough sleep. So it depends on when you are going to sleep.

motherjanegoose

February 11th, 2011
8:52 am

I feel bad for my husband, who gets up at 4:00 a.m. five days per week. I try to let him sleep in on the weekends, when I am home. I know he sleeps a lot when I am not home but it throws his clock off and then he is wide awake on Sunday night. He is exhausted by Friday as he does not usually go to sleep before 10;00 or 11:00. I cannot complain about getting up, compared to him. If I can sleep until 7:00 I am thrilled! I have never been one to be sleeping in bed at 9:00.

I do not like massages…he does…perhaps that is what I can do for him! We will be home alone on V day…no kids living here now. Maybe I could make him breakfast…4:00 is early!

Re: the bath….
I suggest you set a timer and give it to your 3 year old. “Mommy needs some time to herself and will close the door. When the timer goes off, you can come in to visit.” The bubbles will be gone and the water will be cold…tee hee.

Clear expectations can eliminate chaos. When I am out and about, I say this every day ( as I observe parents and teachers) and yes there were plenty of days I did not set the expectations and ate a giant plate of chaos. I learned the hard way. Initially, I was better at setting expectations in my classroom than with my kids but soon I got better at both.

Re: the snacks…”Kids, here are Daddy’s snacks in this basket…here are yours…he does not want fruit rolls ups nor juice boxes…please do not touch his snacks.”

I love fun jewelry and would like a Pandora bracelet. Anyone have one? I have my charm bracelet from when I was a girl but it is too jingly to wear now. It is a fond memory. I also LOVE my Brighton watch that my sister got me for my 50th birthday…I wear it every day.

Happy V day to all of my friends here. It has been grand chatting with you and meeting many of you too. See you next week DB and hopefully soon Misty…also JATL.

TWG…Happy Birthday to your brother!

Karma

February 11th, 2011
9:09 am

It’s hard to get up at 6:45, classic! i’m speechless.

shaggy

February 11th, 2011
9:17 am

This sounds more like Mother’s Day stuff, and by the way, what are you moms doing for your man for V-day?
It is supposed to be a 50/50 day, you know. We work really hard every day, moving those mountains with our large, manly pick-up trucks, we build complex things that even we don’t understand, and kill all of the spiders for you, not to mention opening jars.
Well, what do we get for all of that?

MJG, Me, using my huge oversized truck, had some mountain moving yesterday, while I was designing my latest groundbreaking invention, and then, I killed a bunch of spiders…with my bare hands, so I didn’t get to reply to your answer to my question until this morning…starting at 6:44 sharp. It is there now.

TinaTeach

February 11th, 2011
9:27 am

I love the sleeping in bit! I almost always get up before Hubby during the week. I’m up by 6:30 (when we lived farther from work it was 5:30) while he gets up at 7:30. I used to make up for it by sleeping till noon on the weekends but since having our son those days are just fond memories. I’m up by 7:30 on the weekends if not seven since that’s when our one year old wakes up!

I’m may suggest the sleeping in bit for Sunday. That would be lovely.

lurker

February 11th, 2011
9:28 am

Ummm, as a working mom, I would love to sleep until 6:45 everyday – “week in and week out” as you say! Even in cold weather. Welcome to my world. Have to get kids up and get ready for work!! At least you can go back to bed or catch a nap! Geezzz….

TinaTeach

February 11th, 2011
9:30 am

Sorry, typo there “I may suggest”

oh and for hubby I’m sending him to a friend of ours who does massages!

motherjanegoose

February 11th, 2011
9:34 am

@shaggy …and I just replied to you. You and others may want to check it out. I guess most here did not realize what I was talking about and that is why they were so snarky to me. catlady got my point. Some like to be snarky to me no matter what the topic but that is not something I am able to change. When anyone comments in a rude manner and does not understand what is being said…I am getting better at letting go and realizing that not everyone has the same capacity to think.

FYI…my husband is not the bug man here…he hates bugs and has a deathly fear of bees and wasps. I lived on the farm and am not even too nervous around snakes. I have also driven a dump truck, hauled hay and castrated bull calves. I will give a shout out to my husband about anything techno and bow to his expertise. I would not be on this computer today, if it were not for him…thanks honey!

DB

February 11th, 2011
9:40 am

I’m with you, T, getting up before 7:30 am makes me REALLY grouchy — but that’s usually because I often work until 2 or 3 am :-) I don’t care how long I may have had to get up at 6:30 to get the kids off to school, etc — whenever I am on my own, I “revert” to my night-owl ways. So now that I can set my own schedule, I usually go into the office at 10 or 11, work until 4, come home, do home things, and then about 11 pm, sit down and work on the projects that need intense concentration. Hit bed about 2, up at 8 or 8:30, walk dog, shower, repeat. :-)

JATL

February 11th, 2011
9:42 am

I will take alone time any time I can get it in any way!!!!! It’s important for everyone, and it’s something I desperately need. I would do anything to be able to sit down in my house for 2 hours and read -alone -by the fireplace with NO ONE ELSE THERE. My husband seems to finally get the fact I want alone time and it’s not weird -most women I know do – and understands it more than I think he used to, but I SERIOUSLY need for him to take the kids places often on the weekends, so I can have some time alone at the house. He has done this before, but I don’t think he realizes how imperative it is that it happen often. Unfortunately it seems that in order to get that, we have to have some huge fight first, and he has to realize that I’m really at the point where I’m about to snap. I would do just about anything at this point to have a week off while the kids are at their schools so I could get some organizational things and decorating things taken care of at home. If I could get some chunks of time on the weekends on a regular basis, then maybe I wouldn’t need a whole friggin’ week!

Everyone on this board understands how it is with small children -a one or two hour project winds up taking all day because of the interruptions and “help.” I’ve tried since the birth of my first son to get my husband to establish some sort of weekend tradition where he takes the boys to breakfast every Saturday or to the playground and for ice cream that afternoon or Sunday afternoon, but it never works. These things happen once in awhile, but I want a regular schedule! I have to go away to get any decent, quality alone time at this point -which I like sometimes, but I don’t want to drop $400 or $500 every few months just to escape and relax! So YES, the one thing -the most IMPORTANT thing -beyond gifts or anything else is for me to have REGULAR ALONE TIME! The best gift my husband could ever give me would be to make a calendar schedule for a year with chunks of alone time for me on it every weekend!

And sleep? You should kiss the ground Michael walks on that you have a husband who got up for a year! We “take turns” on weekends, although an inordinate amount of noise seems to be made with no effort whatsoever to squelch it when it’s my morning to sleep in. I used to try to close doors and be quiet, but I don’t any more. Unfortunately he seems to be able to sleep through anything. If my husband had any idea how much happier our home would be if he could provide me with some real sleep and alone time on a weekly basis, he would probably do it, but since he’s never tried consistently -he doesn’t know.

JATL

February 11th, 2011
9:46 am

@MJG -Happy V-day to you too! I’ll email you about school stuff! I have a friend with a Pandora bracelet and it’s very pretty. I have an older-school style charm bracelet from James Avery that I love. I need to get some new charms for my youngest and my new kitty! I had given my mother a charm bracelet like mine years ago, and I think I’m going to have them transfer her charms onto mine. I think the Pandora idea is cool because they’re not dangling everywhere and getting caught on anything -that’s the only argument I have with mine.

shaggy

February 11th, 2011
9:47 am

MJG,

Touche’. Many here already have ascertained that you function at a higher level than ordinary people, and without the ego either, never self-aggrandizing. Wow, to be you.

motherjanegoose

February 11th, 2011
10:00 am

@ shaggy…seriously, is that a compliment or an insult? I do not know.

I am not too bright since I had to look up: self-aggrandizing to see what it meant.

Most here do not want to be me and sometimes I do not either. Especially today, as I have to go for my pap smear….ladies anyone want to trade a morning alone for that….lol. Is that TMI? I am still in my pajamas and home alone with the dog. I did not have to get up at all but did at 7:00. I think I will fix myself some breakfast and go out to get the paper. Have fun all!

Thanks JATL..I look forward to meeting you!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 11th, 2011
10:11 am

JATL — I agree that I would be equally happy to work just as long as I was alone in the house!!! I spent last Sunday afternoon trying to organize all our papers (I fell behind in my notebook system) so I would pull the documents needed for our taxes. I had kids trampling on the papers and talking to me — I’m trying to concentrate!!! This weekend I am ready to pull all the numbers and fill in the paperwork for the accountant and it would go much faster without three kids in the house.

Katy

February 11th, 2011
10:17 am

I would kill to be able to wake up at 6:45 am week in and week out…0400 over here…6:45 is sleeping in for me on the weekends.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 11th, 2011
10:19 am

AJC’s Bargain Hunter has a list of consignment sales for kids up — check it out.

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-bargain-hunter/2011/02/11/kids-and-moms-atlanta-consignment-sales/

Complain, complain

February 11th, 2011
10:19 am

I don’t get people who complain about their kids. Why did you have them in the first place??

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 11th, 2011
10:19 am

Katy — what time do you go to bed???

Becky

February 11th, 2011
10:25 am

I would be ok if I were just given a card..NO chocolate please..I love getting flowers, but don’t want my husband to spend $100.00 on them..Just go pick out somthing small and hand it to me..The same with jewerly, nothing big..

@shaggy..I have been married 17 yrs. and this yr. will be the first year that we have been together on that day..My husband has always been at the Daytona 500 for Valentines Day..One yr. I sent him roses with a silk rose mixed in and chocolate..Put on the note that I would love him until the last rose died..He never even realized that one of the roses was silk and would never die..:~)

Becky

February 11th, 2011
10:27 am

Theresa, my sister has to get up by 4:00 every morning (in VA/DC area) to be at work on time…

Lady Strange

February 11th, 2011
10:39 am

I’m a single mom so Valentine’s is really just another day for me. LOL. I’d rather spend the time making Valentine’s with my son so he can give them out to his grandmas. But if the opportunity arose, I wouldn’t turn down spending some time with the guy I’m dating. Just not likely to happen due to our schedules. :)

JATL

February 11th, 2011
10:40 am

@TWG -I know! I feel kind of pathetic that one of my biggest fantasies has become a week at home alone -so I can do house work in peace! Seriously, it would help “center” me in so many ways! My last 2 years have been a crazily obnoxious whirlwind, and I don’t feel like I ever got the change to truly organize when we moved into this house.

@Complain, complain -those of us with kids love our children and enjoy them a majority of the time, but do you have NOTHING in your life that is usually great, but annoys the crap out of you on occasion? You know -a career, a spouse or significant other, a good friend, a pet, a relative…. I just love people who think once you have kids you should NEVER EVER complain or get annoyed or put out with them or having them around all the time. You’re unrealistic at best. I’ve never met another human -and that includes my children -who I want to be around 100% of the time, and I certainly don’t expect anyone to want to be around me 100% of the time either.

JJ

February 11th, 2011
10:44 am

Theresa you get NO sympathy from me. I am usually on the road by 6:45. Sleeping till 8 to me is considered sleeping in….LOL. That won’t happen until Sunday….

My house is empty and quiet.

I have no valentine, and I’m ok with that. I’ll buy myself something nice, if I want to. I may go get a tree and plant it in my yard, or buy some seeds and start them in the “greenhouse”. I was never one for flowers on VD, they just die. I prefer to plant something. I sent my daughter a little Valentine care package. Sent Mom a card……that’s about the extent of my VD.

I hope everyone has a romantic VD with their significant other. I would also suggest you go out on Sunday, to avoid the crowds.

JATL

February 11th, 2011
10:48 am

NO! Don’t go out on Sunday! We actually always celebrate on the 13th because of a funny proposal glitch that happened, and it’s really wonderful -no crowds, no worrying about a reservation and places are virtually empty, so the wait staff is delighted to see you and attentive to your every need! We want to keep that to ourselves ;-)

Becky

February 11th, 2011
10:50 am

@JJ..Did that last night, took the kids to the Japanese Steak house that they love..THought with it being Thurs. it wouldn’t be that busy..Ha, turned out that there were at least 6 people there celebrating birthdays..Oh well, they enjoyed it and that was the reason for taking them..It was “their” day..

Complain, complain

February 11th, 2011
10:50 am

@JATL, we all need breaks from our kids, spouse, etc. but it’s the way TWG phrased it that irked me.

Dreamer

February 11th, 2011
10:56 am

@Complain, complain 10:50–We don’t ALL need breaks from our spouses.
I’m with my husband ‘usually’ 24/7–I like it and would not change it.
Go ahead, call me weird. I like him and I like to be around him.

motherjanegoose

February 11th, 2011
11:02 am

@ Dreamer…I cannot imagine being with ANYONE 24/7 call me weird! I need a little variety and he would not want to traipse around with me.

Quick question…I thought a lot of SAHM’s sent their kids to preschool, so they would socialize, wear themselves out and come home for a nap and so moms could have some time to themselves? TWG maybe you could send the 3 year old to preschool or does she already go? Give yourself some time alone?

Justin

February 11th, 2011
11:21 am

I stumbled across this on Facebook – it’s a pretty entertaining Valentine’s Day cheat sheet, check it out! http://on.fb.me/hehJcl

Betty

February 11th, 2011
11:47 am

@JATL—I totally get you and relate to needing the alone time! I don’t know why it is sooooo difficult for others to understand this, especially husbands, it seems. It would take pleading to no end when I was married to get my ex to handle the kids for a few hours, AWAY FROM THE HOUSE, so that they would leave me alone and let me just sit quietly and read or something to re-energize myself. And once I would finally get a few hours, and he would even notice and comment on how much more relaxed and happy I was once they came home, it would still be ages before I could get him to do it again. He would want to keep bringing up the time he took them to the park that morning “in March” as if that should keep me happy for the next 10 months!

Dreamer

February 11th, 2011
11:53 am

@MJG: There is not many people I could be around 24/7 either. But with my husband, I can be with no problems. It’s weird because we have completely different personalities (with the same core beliefs though) and get along wonderfully.

catlady

February 11th, 2011
12:28 pm

I am speechless. (everyone can applaud) Can’t even begin to comment.

LM

February 11th, 2011
12:46 pm

I told my husband not to send flowers, I have a lovley collection of dried roses already. Like so many here I just need some me time.

For my Husband, I am cleaning his shop. I know it dose not sound like much, but it is a a big shop, 24 by 24 and he never puts tools away. So I spent last weekend sorting, cleaning and putting things away, will do the same this weekend. He has everything from electric fence, plumbing, painting, hand tools, battery operated tools, power tools, and more nails, screws, bolts, nuts and washers.

In cleaning I found his old work watch, the one he wore around the property so he would not ruin his good dress watches, it was nasty covered in mud and the wristband was distroyed. I ordered a new watchband and this morning took the watch apart, cleaned it, set the correct time and put on the new watchband.

I didn’t spend over $15, but feel he will appreciate the gifts more than if I had spent $500.

Steve Stevens

February 11th, 2011
12:51 pm

5. Massage by Michael – Michael is actually very good at massages but hates giving them. Bums me out.

Perhaps if you didnt hate giving blow jobs he wouldnt hate giving massages!

JJ

February 11th, 2011
1:05 pm

@LM – That kind of stuff is WAY more appreciated, then blowing $100 on some flowers. What you did was VERY romantic…..especially cleaning up his watch. That was a sweet thing for you to do and I am sure he will appreciate it.

It’s the simple things in life that are so appreciated. I hope you have a wonderful Valentines Day!!

And for those who want some “relief’ alone time without the kids. That day will be here before you know it, and it will be nice, for a week or two. Then you will really start to miss the noise, the intrusions, the knocks on the door while trying to take a bath. Trust me, there will be plenty of “ME” time when they leave……But I know the feeling. I am a single mom so there wasn’t a lot of “ME” time.

motherjanegoose

February 11th, 2011
1:09 pm

LM…can you come over here and help me with my husband’s stuff? LOL I often find silverware and dishes out there. His DRESS watch, ties and all sorts of stuff. He is ALWAYS looking for something as it is never where it should be. After 28 years, I gave up.

justmy2cents

February 11th, 2011
1:27 pm

@ Steve- that is an apples to oranges comparison…it would have to be oral to oral and maybe massage to hand job?

Either way, I understand the sentiment.

We personally do not subscribe to the Hallmark holiday in our household. Women & men should be offended they need an advertising campaign for their significant other to remember to show them love and appreciation. It should be an all year thing, not a once a year “have to” thing.

LM

February 11th, 2011
1:42 pm

Thanks JJ, I try to figure out what he needs, sometimes it is small like the watch, other times I have gotten him industrial shelving (like the stuff at Lowes and Home Depot). Either way it is always something he needs, had mentioned previously and not something that will not end up being.

MJG, sure… LOL Sounds like both my DD and Hubby are like your Husband. Neither can find something right in front of them. lol

If I end up losing this job, maybe I can hire out as a personal organizer. Don’t think there will be much need for one in this economy.

LM

February 11th, 2011
1:43 pm

oops, should have said, “not being used.”

JJ

February 11th, 2011
2:00 pm

WIth regards to the “hallmark Holiday”, my parents used to go to the card store together, and they would each pick out a card and hand it to the other one so they could read it. They would smile at each other, and say “Oh that was so sweet”, Then they would put the cards back and leave the store……My mom always thought that was so much fun…..Again, the little things…..

justmy2cents

February 11th, 2011
2:25 pm

@ JJ- well, that serves the purpose intended AND saves money :o)

Myturn6

February 11th, 2011
3:28 pm

Fresh thought… I love to read so my husband got me a Nookcolor. He love “special” attention so I gave him dress up time and “special” attention!
WIN WIN
That was last weekend for our pre-just-in-case grandparts aren’t available Valentine’s Date. We are going out again tomorrow. SO Ithink I will go get him a new out fit for me to wear to double the pleasure but this time I think I will wrap it up for him to open like a surprise! With a box of chocolates to match! Sood good?