Some of the best gifts I've given my wife in the past few years have been comfortable, versatile shoes. She's on the move for most of her waking hours — especially now that our second kid is up on her own two feet and walking faster every day.
For the active mom who jogs or goes for long walks pushing a stroller or with a kid in a carrier, go with trail runners. Columbia's Caldorado III Trail Running Shoe ($120) is comfortable on concrete sidewalks, and gives plenty of grip and support on grass, gravel, or of course, on actual trails.
The Hush Puppies Cyra Catelyn Chukka Boot ($69.96) is a great option if she wants a more stylish shoe. They're comfortable from the very first wear with no break-in period and the suede has a coating that helps shed water and resist dirt, so she won't have to worry about getting them dirty too fast.
And for the mom who wants a casual sneaker that's a blend of both sporty and stylish, PUMA's Muse Metallic Sneakers ($80) works with jeans, yoga pants, or shorts alike. They're just funky enough to catch the eye and comfortable enough for hours of wear.
Chances are the mom for whom you're shopping for already has a stroller (or three), but she probably doesn't have one that's this small. The Ergo Metro Compact City Stroller ($299.99) weighs just 14 pounds and folds down into a package measuring 20.5 inches by 17.3 inches by 9.1 inches. That's smaller than most carry-on suitcases (so, yes, it fits in most airline overhead bins) and lightweight enough for easy one-handed carrying.
The stroller runs smoothly and is easy to maneuver over sidewalks and around the mall, and it has a decent sized storage bin under the seat, which is surprising given how overall small the stroller is. The seat reclines and has generous padding, and the large canopy provides a lot of sun protection.
When a mom has a crying baby in one arm, a preschooler's breakfast in the other, and about 10 minutes left to get herself dressed and out the door with the kids in tow, having a go-to dress is a beautiful thing.
Richer Poorer makes what could be called elevated basic apparel — the garments are simple but stylish and well-made, and best of all, but reasonably-priced.
Two dresses in particular — the Tee Dress (a T-shirt dress) and the Tank Dress (yes, you figured it out) — cost $56 and $52 respectively, come in multiple colors, and will never be out of style. Add a light jacket in spring or fall, or go with sandals in the summer, and the guesswork is all done.
That's why we're both so enamored with the brand Seedsheet, which sells all-in-one gardening systems that can be set up easily. Planting the seeds take about five minutes and then you just keep the soil moist until it's time to harvest (read: eat) or transplant maturing plants.
Seedsheet kits come in multiple varieties like herb and salad blends, and with just about everything you need to start your garden, even including soil and a planter.
Whether you call them leggings, yoga pants, or something else, you know what I'm talking about — the super comfortable, widely versatile, lower body apparel option that's in every woman's wardrobe. Every mom I know has a pair so they can get out the door fast to exercise, run errands, get the kids from school, meet a friend for coffee, or head to the airport and get out of town.
Cariloha makes clothes with a blend of cotton and sustainable bamboo fibers, resulting in leggings (and tanks, shirts, and more) that are super comfortable and suitable for wear in all sorts of situations. And of course, they have handy pockets at the hips that are perfect for a phone or wallet.
Recipes that are easy to make, nutritious, and tasty can help take the strain off meal prep while bringing some exciting new dishes into the culinary rotation. The key is to find cookbooks with recipes that are genuinely easy to prepare and don't use a lot of outlandish ingredients, as a trip to the grocery store negates the whole quick-and-easy thing.
Recipes for Your Perfectly Imperfect Life by Kimberly Snyder contains plenty of easy (and vegetarian) recipes, and also has comprehensive information about various foods, explaining the specific benefits of ingredients like millet (a grain that is rich in amino acids) or hemp milk (which has tons of proteins and omega 3s). It's a great cookbook for someone who wants to create healthy meals and learn more about the foods themselves.
Healthier Together: Recipes for Two--Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships by Liz Moody is a great cookbook for preparing a romantic meal after the kids fall asleep. Its recipes will help you make the most of those rare moments partners get to share.
Having a great meal to prepare is one thing — having the tools that will help make its preparation easy and efficient is quite another. The KitchenAid 7-Cup Food Processor ($99) can slice, mince, shred, and more. It will save immeasurable time compared to the old knife and cutting board approach to meal prep, and the generous seven-cup capacity means fast meal preparation for a sizeable family.
The device was designed with safety in mind, so you don't have to worry about little hands getting near whirring blades easily.
If you don't like the idea of having any flame at all, but still want a pleasant scent, go with the Moodoo Smart Home Fragrance Diffuser ($139). It uses pre-loaded scent capsules that can be mixed and matched to create custom blends, and distributes the aroma evenly throughout large spaces.
Maybe it's cliché, but most moms (and people) I know love chocolate. And enjoying chocolate doesn't take any time out of the day, either. Give a busy, hardworking mom assorted sweets from Godiva — anything and everything in its lineup is delicious. Chocolate gift sets start from $14.95 and go all the way up to $200.