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Surveys say this is what your mom wants for Mother's Day — and it's absolutely free

What your mother really wants is time for herself — and time with you.

by Nicole Spector /
Image: Hispanic boy giving mother bouquet of roses
A survey by TopCashback.com found that spending time together is the number one most-wished for Mother's Day gift this year, voted for by 55 percent of those consulted.Ariel Skelley / Getty Images
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If you've already splurged on fine jewelry or flowers for mom this Mother's Day, you may want to consider adding another gift. Don't worry, this one doesn't have to cost you a dime, and it's sure to make her light up with joy — especially if she's got young kids to care for and/or is balancing both work and motherhood.

New survey data from the mom matchmaking app Peanut shows that what most moms are really hoping for this Mother's Day is either a “break from the mama routine” (35 percent) or a “cool experience: spa, etc.” Twenty-six percent are asking for “a good night’s sleep” while only five percent would like a physical gift.

Mom is always on the clock — she needs a break

The findings, which Peanut users can find in the app’s Pages feature, are based on the responses to the question Peanut posed to its more than 300,000 members two weeks ago, Michelle Kennedy, CEO and cofounder of Peanut tells NBC News BETTER, adding that the results aren’t exactly shocking.

“As mothers we’re always ‘on,’” notes Kennedy. “Even when it comes to Mother’s Day, we’re thinking about our mother-in-laws, our own mothers [and] making sure everyone enjoys the day, but it’s meant to be a day about us. After all the juggling, it’s no surprise we need some down time.”

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Don’t book mom a spa, just book her a bed

Also not surprised is Eirene Heidelberger, parenting expert and founder of GIT mom.

“Ask any mom and we’ll all tell you that we are sleep deprived and that a good night sleep is the holy grail of motherhood,” says Heidelberger. “Send the kids to grandma and grandpa’s house for a sleepover or, if that’s not an option, let mom sleep in another room so Daddy has to deal with all the middle of the night intruders. There’s also the time-tested and mom-approved uninterrupted breakfast in bed. Don’t forget to let mom savor the meal you’ve lovingly prepared for her.”

Sa'iyda Shabazz, a writer and the single mother of a five-year-old boy says that all she truly wants this Mother’s Day is “uninterrupted 18 hours of sleep.” Aurora Satler, author of “The Ultimate New Mom’s Cookbook” would be delighted by as little as an extra 30 minutes of snoozing. “Getting a chance to get a half-an-hour more or an hour more [sleep] is like booking a spa for many overtired and overworked moms (myself included),” she says.

Beautiful stuff takes up space, while experiences are intangibly beautiful

The close runner-up to the desire for some serious R&R, Peanut found, is a cool experience, which makes sense as so many of us are tackling clutter and figuring out what to do with all the stuff we’re getting rid of post-spring cleaning.

Every year I ask for a garden weekend of pulling weeds, raking, and planting. That's my ideal gift: us all working together to create beauty.

Every year I ask for a garden weekend of pulling weeds, raking, and planting. That's my ideal gift: us all working together to create beauty.

“For me, an experience is something that doesn't take up space or require maintenance,” says Shabazz, with Salter humorously adds: “flowers: one more thing to keep alive.”

Tam Francis, an author and the mother of teenagers indicates that she actually would like some flowers — but not the kind you pick up in a store or order online. “Every year I ask for a garden weekend of pulling weeds, raking, and planting,” says Francis. “That's my ideal gift: us all working together to create beauty.”

Research shows you’re on the right track with your gifts

Interestingly, we’re seeing this desire for experience reflected in the retail space. RetailMeNot’s shopping and trends expert Sara Skirboll notes that 50 percent of mothers who want a gift for Mother's Day would like a nice dinner, while around one in four would like to receive flowers (26 percent) or a gift card (26 percent).

“This is one of the first Mother's Day I've seen in years where our data on what mom wants is actually matching up with what mom is receiving,” Skirboll says. “Historically, families will gift mom things that she doesn't need or want, and this year we're seeing that her wish list is matching up to what people are buying. The overarching theme here is that mom wants to feel special and pampered with no strings attached."

Additionally, in a survey that polled 1,135 adults, the rebate Web site TopCashback.com found that spending time together is the number one Mother's Day gift this year, voted for by 55 percent of those consulted.

Clean the house

Desired experiences certainly vary, but there’s one perhaps all mothers can agree on not wanting this Mother’s Day: cleaning. Time for the rest of the family to take charge and get to work.

“For many years raising four kids, I always smiled and appreciated the pasta ‘pearl’ necklaces and clay handprints, but the one thing I always loved most (and received) on Mother’s Day, was cleaning,” says Poppy Spencer, a certified counselor and relationship expert. “It was my day to enlist four pairs of hands to clean the basement or garage or rooms; even organize photo albums (a real treat) from the stacks of shoeboxes awaiting proper assembly. The de-cluttering is a wonderful way to start the summer.”

Co-parents need to also get on board with this task, and if able, hire a maid for the day

“Take the money you would have spent on a piece of jewelry or some other trinket and hire a house cleaner instead,” advises Stephanie Seferian, founder of MamaMinimalist.com and the Sustainable Minimalists Podcast. “Give your wife something priceless which, of course, is free time.”

Your gift will likely still be adored

None of these findings or comments means that your physical gift (if you purchased or made one) won’t be deeply appreciated. Many moms have a towering wish list of items they’d like. Take my own mother, for example. For a month I’ve had a day of delicious eateries and spa activities planned for Mother’s Day, all planned as a surprise. After booking the mani/pedis and making the restaurant reservations, I went ahead and asked her what she really wanted, figuring she’d affirm all my thoughtful investments.

She sent me a link to a new TV.

More for Mother's Day

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