Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gift Guide: Working Mom edition

Why is it Thursday and the first time I am posting since Monday?  Because I'm a working mom, and I never know what is going to be thrown in my direction by life on any given day.  I always have to do lists for both the day and the week, and they most always get crossed off completely by Friday, just not always in the order I expected.  In honor of my truly packed week of curveballs and travel, I give you my gift guide for the working mom:  what to give the woman who has everything but time...

1) Whole Foods Gift Card
The thing that stumps me the most when I contemplate the possibility of going back to a 9-to-5 office job is how in the heck we're going to get a dinner on the table every night that doesn't turn us into pudgy, sodium-addled zombies in short order.  Time to cook in the evenings can be rare to non-existent in a house with two working parents.  This is why a Whole Foods gift certificate would be a blessing for any working mom: have you seen their "hot bar"?  Behold!  Dozens of healthy dinner options for the taking!  From rotisserie chickens to wholesome soups to delightful stir-fries, it is all ready made and chock full of nutrition.  It is also the reason many people call WF "Whole Paycheck", and most of us can't justify hitting up this bar with any regularity.  My thought is that your fave working mom could stash this gift card in her wallet and have a freebie dinner ace in the hole when she needs it the most.  A gift card to a favorite local pizza shop would do the same, just not in such a caloric-ally beneficial way. 

2) Digital Photo Frame
Nothing makes me happier than pictures of my boys.  However, the ones on my desk of little J are from when he was 8 weeks and 13 weeks old, respectively.  While those photos are beyond adorable, they're not of the running, jumping, chatting guy in my life these days, and I can't say that getting prints made and framed is high on my "likely to happen soon" list either.  Hence, the beauty of the digital photo frame; it's imminently update-able, and not only by you (and right from your jump drive, no less), but by anyone else who happens to be chilling with your kid (I'm talking to you, little J's brilliant photographer aunties).  I don't know about you, but I'm a visually driven person.  A photo of the little guy on my work desk keeps me motivated, not only to work efficiently so I can spend more time with him, but also about why I am working so hard in the first place.

3) Massage Gift Certificate
Hours of sitting at the computer and shlepping toddlers take their toll on your back, neck and shoulders, and most moms don't get a whole lot of this kind of "me" time.  Most moms I know would weep with joy for a professional massage.  In Boston, Greg Pratt at Etant Spa is God's gift to your muscles.  In Portland, Oregon, Unwind Massage's Angella King is a miracle worker.  In Portsmouth, NH see Jill Vranicar at Mid-heaven, and in SF, Moss Acupuncture has massage therapy available on site.  Yelp is also a great resource for finding massage therapists in cities other than your own.

4) All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker
Sorry to keep coming back to food, but let's face it: when times get busy, covering life's basic needs takes priority, and food is one of those needs, people.  Slow cookers are amazing.  Our's is from the early 90's and we've been looking to upgrade for awhile.  I've got my eye on this All-Clad one, which has a removable insert that you can place on the stove-top to sear meat.  My thought is that you'd do that while dishing out the cereal in the morning, throw in some veg and sauce, turn the thing on low, and head out the door.  You'd come home to a hot meal and a house smelling of fragrant comfort food, and what better gift is there, really?

5) Neutral Cashmere Wrap
What do you do when you are all dressed up and ready to head out (and only a few minutes behind schedule, no less) and then someone plants a yogurt-covered handprint on your last clean shirt?  Throw a wrap over the whole thing and call it a fashion statement.  A good wrap can save even the most thrashed outfit, and is a perfect thing to stash in your desk or airplane-bag.  And why cashmere, you ask?  I'll tell you why: sometimes all it takes is a deliciously soft fabric to take you from feeling shlubby to elegant, and make you feel polished and ready to rumble. It's worth the splurge. The White + Warren one above would be a great luxury treat, but J.Crew has lovely silk-cashmere ones at a bank-friendly price point.  Or see the pashmina-hawker on your favorite downtown city street if you must... any woman in your life will be glad to have an extra wrap in her arsenal.
Coming next?  My gift guide for dudes.
Stay tuned...


  1. I love all of these picks, SMJ. I just wanted to give my recommendation for a digital photo frame, which I received for my birthday early on this year and have since put to very good use:

    Although the stock photo shows 4 pictures on the screen, you can have 1 photo show at a time, and automatically rotate through the photos, which is what I do. The best part is that all you need is a USB stick to put the photos on - quick & easy to transfer over new photos as they come, and holds a ton. There's also a small remote control if you want to flip through the pictures, pause, etc.

    It's so slick that Big Daddy Clarke got jealous that he gave it to me, so I got him one for Father's Day. :-) They're both at our respective desks at work.

    And, I seriously want to second the massage gift certificate gift. Really, it doesn't get much better than that. For those back here in VT, I highly recommend my massage therapist/yoga instructor/doula/woman of awesomeness Hannah McGuire at Massage and Yoga VT:

    Let the holidays continue! :-)

  2. Love the ideas! New follower just stopping by...