If you ask the mom of a one-year-old what she'd like most for a gift to mark her baby's first year, chances are good she'll want time away. Especially if Mom is staying home with the baby, she may be ready for a long weekend with her husband or her girlfriends. On the other hand, a mom that works may like nothing more than a few days to spend just enjoying her child. Either way, the best gift for the mom of a busy toddler is almost always time.
If Dad can swing it, arranging a few days away on a second honeymoon may be just the gift she needs. Leave Baby with Grandma or good friends and head to a fancy hotel, even if it's just downtown. Help Mom set thoughts of the baby aside, treat her to dinner and spa treatments, and remind her that she's not just a mom, she's still your wife and you value that. A new dress and a makeover might really make her day as well.
Friends might arrange for Dad to take baby duty for a long weekend and bring Mom away to a local guest spa for two or three days of total pampering without a toddler peering over the bathtub. A massage, a hot oil treatment, and lots of laughs will help her remember that she is an independent person and not 100 percent tied to her child all the time.
If Mom works, arrange for her to have a few days off. Call her boss, tell her you want to surprise Mom with a mini-vacation, and give her the gift of nothing to do but play with her baby. Dad or friends can take over the chores, make her meals, do the heavy lifting, i.e., diaper changing, when it comes to toddler care, and treat Mom to some long days at the zoo, the park, or a local swimming pool with her child. Or, just let her relax at home and enjoy time with her baby.
If you feel you must give a tangible gift, arrange for a photo session with a photographer experienced in mother-child photography. Help her commemorate this milestone in pictures.
You can also spread the gift out over the entire year by giving her the gift of a weekly or monthly massage, facial, or just time away. Arrange a regular luncheon date with her friends and offer to pay for or supply babysitting.
A gift basic full of her favorite treats plus some coupons for things she enjoys as an adult might be just the ticket. Give her a season's pass to the theater, ballet, or local basketball games. Again, make sure you make plans for childcare so she won't have to worry about finding a sitter.
Don't forget: If she has older—or younger—children in addition to the one-year-old, make sure you plan for them as well. What most moms of young children really need is a break!