Being a mom is tough enough. That’s why there’s one day devoted entirely to finding ways to tell moms how much we appreciate them. When chronic pain is thrown into the mix, however, it can seem downright impossible sometimes. Mothers in chronic pain have unique struggles that make everyday life a lot harder. Here’s how to honor your mom with Mother’s day gift ideas made for pain patients.
Why is it so important to honor mothers with chronic pain?
Chronic pain can be limiting. For mothers in chronic pain, these limits can interfere with the small, everyday things that other moms take for granted. Changing a diaper, coloring a picture, or lifting a child into a carseat can become insurmountable tasks. Despite this, mothers in chronic pain manage to find ways to make it work.
In a very moving article at Slate.com, mother and chronic pain patient Sarah Erdreich describes the struggles she has caring for her daughter, stating:
“I can’t push her stroller much farther than the three blocks between home and day care. I can’t dress her by myself, or tie her shoes. And, I can’t make the appropriate hand motions to accompany ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider,’ write out the alphabet, or brush her hair. But all that feels like mere window dressing for what I really can’t do: feel at all confident that I can take care of my child alone for more than an hour.”
She also describes ways she’s found to make things work a little better. For instance, she’s made sure her toddler knows how to scoot down stairs and climb into her own stroller. While this doesn’t seem like much, it does mean that Sarah doesn’t have to carry her toddler down stairs or lift her into the stroller, which saves Sarah from a lot of pain.
Children in chronic pain
Despite the challenges of being a mom with chronic pain, most mothers would still choose to feel pain themselves than have to watch their children live with chronic pain.
Unfortunately, there are children who live with pain on a daily basis. Where children are concerned, one of the most important aspects of being a parent is to be an advocate for your own child. This is particularly important in children with chronic pain, since their pain tends to be poorly managed.
Some of the signs that a child might be in pain include:
- Decreased physical activity
- Changes in appetite or sleep
- Favoring one arm or leg
- Avoidance of other children
- Irritability or crankiness
- Grimacing, flinching, or other non-verbal expressions of discomfort
If you think your child is in pain or that his or her pain management program is insufficient, tell your physician.
Mother’s day gift ideas for pain patients
For mothers who live in a house with chronic pain – whether it’s their own or their children’s – finding those perfect Mother’s Day gift ideas can be a challenge. If a mother in your life lives with chronic pain, consider getting her something to help control that pain for Mother’s Day.
If you are a mother in chronic pain, then print off a webpage with what you want and leave it somewhere your partner or child will see it – or just treat yourself. Also, spoil yourself a little. Splurge a little at your favorite store, go out for a day of pampering, take time to truly relax, or get that new gadget you’ve been wanting.
Here are some Mother’s Day gift ideas to get started.
The ritual of tea time is a great place to start, especially when it is a delicious tea that happens to be anti-inflammatory.
2. Time off
For no apparent reason, let Mom take the afternoon or the morning off. Get the kids off to school, pick them up, help with homework, and put them to bed. Even better, have the kids help make a coupon book that Mom can redeem at any time for two hours off.
3. Turmeric honey paste
Turmeric honey paste is a natural way to help reduce inflammation. It can be added to tea, soups, stews, and curries for a golden color and delicious flavor. Make a batch of this and include it in a basket with tea.
4. Foot massage
You don’t have to be a professional to offer mothers with chronic pain a foot massage. The feet are highly sensitive and absorb all of the shock of the day. Make Mom a cup of tea and massage each foot, slowly and carefully. Alternately, take her to a spa near you and get her a pedicure that includes a deluxe foot massage.
5. Foot soak
If you are working on a DIY budget, offer Mom a foot soak at home. Using hot water and a large plastic tub, add lavender and Epsom salts. You could also include a foot massage with this gift, or you can purchase a spa-like foot bath.
6. Thieves oil bath salts
Thieves oil has a grim beginning. During the time of the Black Plague, thieves would use a special combination of essential oils to prevent themselves from getting sick when they robbed plague victims. Eucalyptus, clove, cinnamon, lemon, and rosemary make up this fragrant blend that is also very energizing. Mix up a bath of thieves oil bath salts and add it to the foot soak or time off.
7. Dinner out
The plus to dinner out is that no one has to plan, cook, clean, wrangle kids, or worry about putting away leftovers. Take Mom out to her favorite restaurant the night before Mother’s Day to avoid the crowds.
And if you need someone to watch the kids while you go out (or while you and your spouse or partner celebrate Mother’s Day without the little ones), tell your own mother (or mother-in-law) that her gift is an afternoon with the grandkids. Pack a couple movies, some low-energy board games or puzzles, and a gift card to order pizza, and drop them off for an afternoon or evening with grandma.
8. Dinner in
The plus to dinner in is that it can be eaten comfortably in pajamas or on the couch. Delivery services in major cities mean that you don’t even need to be a cook to make this gift happen.
9. Breakfast in bed
Breakfast in bed is a classic Mother’s Day gift, but go one further and do it during the week. For mothers with chronic pain, the morning can be the most painful part of the day. Take over getting lunches made and the kids off to school while Mom takes a slow morning with breakfast in bed.
10. Adaptive cooking tools
Mothers with chronic pain who still enjoy cooking and baking for their families will truly appreciate adaptive kitchen tools that make life easier. In addition to openers and other hand tools, consider a special anti-fatigue mat to make standing more comfortable, too.
You might also consider regular household items, chosen to be a little easier for those with chronic pain. Long-handed tools of any sort can prevent the need to bend or twist, so look for long-handed dustpans, doggie pooper-scoopers, shower sponges, or even toilet paper holders. If there’s a particular daily activity that’s difficult, look for a tool or gadget that makes that activity easier. For instance, if putting on shoes or socks is hard, consider a sock aid or an extended-handle shoe horn.
11. Adaptive gardening tools
Avid gardeners may find their time in the garden cut short by chronic pain. Adaptive gardening tools, including hand tools and even raised bed kits, can help mothers with chronic pain spend more time outside.
12. Her favorite class
Sometimes chronic pain makes it hard for moms to do the things they love. With only so much energy, their interests often take a back seat. Find a local class and send Mom to it, taking care of the house and the kids while she is gone. This will allow her to spend her energy revisiting the things she loves to do without the guilt.
13. Coupons for saying “no”
It can be hard for mothers to say no to their families, especially those moms who have always been the helpers. Give her the opportunity to say “no” without actually saying it by making coupons with the word printed on it. This means no to driving carpool, volunteering at the school, or baking for the bake sale. When each coupon is redeemed, step in and pick up the slack.
14. Girls’ night out
Coordinate with her friends and organize a girls’ night out that includes activities that make Mom smile. This might be dinner or dancing or a reception at an art museum.
15. Girls’ night in
Grab the kids and clear out for the night. Make up a basket of healthy snacks and drinks, queue up a list of movies, and invite Mom’s friends over for a girls’ night in.
Massage can be a powerful, relaxing weapon in the fight against chronic pain. Whether Mom prefers a light touch or a deep tissue massage, massage can help with pain on many levels. Bonus: check with your local massage studios for a package that reduces the price when multiple sessions are purchased.
17. Gift certificate to yoga
Mothers with chronic pain can experience tremendous physical and mental benefit from gentle yoga. Start the ball rolling with a gift certificate to a local yoga studio.
18. Gift certificate to a float tank
If you are lucky enough to have a float tank in your area, treat Mom to a session or two of float tank therapy. The benefits of float tanks can be tremendous, and many float tank operators offer very reduced prices for a package of several sessions.
19. Picnic in the woods
Pack a beautiful picnic and take a long, leisurely hike through the woods. Many gifts may focus on relaxing and lounging, but exercise and movement is a really great gift for mothers with chronic pain. Follow up with a delicious lunch (and maybe a nap!).
20. ____ of the Month club subscription
Give the gift that keeps giving all year round with a ___ of the Month club. These clubs offer subscriptions to everything from books to yarn to clothes to jam. Pair it with a class that Mom is interested in for a gift that is sure to please.
21. Cushion for the car
Some moms spend all day driving the taxi, shuttling kids to and from activities and home. Make her ride a little more comfortable with a special cushion designed to offer support and comfort.
Covering mom’s chores is also always a winner. Cook dinner, vacuum, weed the garden, or clean the bathrooms for your mother. These types of jobs can be difficult and draining for anyone with a pain condition (or anyone’s who’s exhausted from caring for a child with a pain condition), so shouldering a little of the burden will certainly make life easier.
Whether you do it yourself or hire an outside service, a thorough housecleaning is always a welcome gift. Mothers with chronic pain don’t want to spend their pain-free days shackled to a vacuum!
23. Jewelry helpers kit
Does Mom have a favorite piece of jewelry that she has trouble wearing due to small clasps and painful joints? A jewelry helpers kit makes short work of tricky hooks and clasps.
24. Book subscription
Give the gift that keeps on giving all year long. Riot Read offers curated book subscriptions for every literary taste. For moms that spend hours in the car, consider an audiobook subscription to Audible.
The best thing you can give mothers with chronic pain is your time. Some days it is not possible for those with chronic pain to even leave the bed, let alone the house. Offering to sit and chat over a cup of tea or a movie shows that you support them and understand. For a condition that can be lonely and isolating, this is the best kind of gift you can give.
Mothers with chronic pain have especially difficult challenges when it comes to caring for their families. Even on the days when they feel the most pain, moms still want to nurture and care for their partners and children. If your mom (or a mom you know) has chronic pain, show her some special love this Mother’s Day.
Add to the list – what are some great Mother’s Day gift ideas for the moms in your life?