What? You forgot to buy a little something for yourself for your birthday? You skipped the stocking stuffers for the sock with your name? You considered sneaking nibbles from the kids' candy your much-deserved Hanukkah present? And the massage you've been meaning to schedule for three birthdays in a row is still a blank space on calendar.
Single motherhood can often mean holidays are making magic and time for kids who grow up too fast, scoot off to dad's house too soon and are the center of your very heart. That can be wonderful, teary, exactly what you'd hoped for when you became a mama. But now here you are (and we all are) in the middle of the longest day/week/year/decade of all time. You are bone tired. Or bored. Maybe bumming out about your job or body or last Tinder date. What you need to unwrap is a little something special for you, something to shake up this pattern of putting yourself last, something to make your eyes light up, your smile widen, your current attitude soften, your concerns set aside.
Of course, yoga could do that. So could a little soak in the tub. A phone call to a friend could work miracles. It's also OK to lean on material items, just a little bit, so long as you buy them with intention, use them wisely and they make you feel good every time you see them.
Meditation can wait until later. Here are our very favorite gifts to give yourself, holiday or not, any time of year, on all kinds of budgets, as an investment in you, as a reminder that you matter. These feel-good gifts will do the trick. Fancy bow optional.
Psst. If you're thinking that you love something but...it's too..Then you are probably on the right path to your own perfect present.
A bad-ass caftan
Oh, caftans. Composed. Colorful. With only one, maybe two, fucks to give. What else can you throw on and look so in charge while still being commando and bra-less? No yoga pants or PJs can stand up to this power play of a comfort garment. Imagine how silky smooth you'd look and feel wearing one of these caftans while gloriously eating sushi alone, catching up on Masters of Sex and making leisurely dates for later (much later) while the kids are away. Consider how you could keep the sexy-but-covered feeling alive the morning after you slide out of bed with a new love. Or how you could command a Skype conference call with all other participants thinking you are dressed in a spendy, buttoned-up silk blouse while your lady-ness breathes easy underneath. What a gift. Natori caftans, $125 - $695 (gulp, chose your pattern and fabric carefully). Pictured, Natori Alexandra, $125 on sale, and to-die Birds of Paradise zip, $180.
The even badder-ass caftan
And if you have the confidence or even less fucks to give, tweak the easy-breezy caftan look by opting for one of these loungy quilted robes that are surely Star Wars inspired. Or pair your silky supposed-to-be-lingerie look with strappy heels for a Real Housewives reunion show taping or maybe the maiden voyage of your yacht, possibly just a spontaneous strut down your hallway catwalk when Beyonce comes up on your shuffle. Natori quilted caftan, $180. Natori bold blossom caftan, $495.
Properly fitting, perfectly colorful workout shoes
I am vigilant about doing the toe-wiggle check to see if my son has outgrown his tennies while I put too many miles on own running shoes. Or worse, pick up a pair on sale without ever trying them on and then gut out treadmill time no matter how much they pinch my toes or slip at the heel. Honestly? Investing in some shoes more tailored for my favorite workout, foot and gait AND are in a delicious color (hello, aqua, orange and spitfire hot pink babies) would not only do my body good, it would give my brain a boost. Slip on a little motivation to Zumba, hike, kick around a soccer ball or walk to school pick-up rather than drive with professionally fitted gym shoes in a color that says, "YES. YOU. NOW." Pictured, Nike Zoom Pegasus 31, $100
Hair pins made for grown ladies
Stop digging out a Frozen tiara, giant bobble elastic or one of 400 huge silk flower baby bows from your purse/bathroom drawer/pocket to pull your own hair back. Instead, secure that Pinterest hairstyle you've attempted with a sweet, sophisticated or sassy hairpin made for you. Messy topknots, half-assed chignons, everyday ponytails and I'm-three-weeks-in-to-growing-out-my-bangs 'dos never looked so chic. Swarovski gold pear hair pins, $17 for a set of 12. Vintage bluebird hairpin, $10. Two gold branch bobby pins, $28. Flower fascinator pin, $24. Vintage jewelry hairpin, $12 each. Skull cameo hairpin, $13.
Sumptuous cleanser and moisturizer
I have a bad habit of digging into the corners of moisturizer jars until there is nary a drop left. Or just haphazardly throwing a drugstore brand into my cart because my skin feels like it is going to fall off my face. The crazy thing is, I LOVE moisturizer, adore a cleanser that really gets in there and leaves my skin feeling fresh and scrubbed. But in a fit of being too frugal or putting myself and my own must-haves at the bottom of the shopping list, I often slather my face in products I don't love or are just OK. Join me in being done with that business?
I'm choosing a Belli gift basket for myself now and whenever I need to refill in the near future. Belli products are formulated for pregnant and postpartum women, but trust a mama, you can (and should) use them any old time. Perfect for unpredictable prenatal and postpartum skin that weathers massive hormone influxes, too little sleep, too much coffee and bliss of snuggling all four sensitive baby cheeks, I love the clean, light feel and smell of the facial and body washes and this delicious hydrator. And I don't think that will stop as my baby grows and my skin (pray goddess) evens out again. (Belli sent me products to review. All opinions are straight up and my own.) $48 for the set
Cozy scarf you never want to unwind
Need a cozy embrace that lasts all day? Find it in a big loopy knit scarf, an voluminous on-trend blanket scarf. Whether you put some cash toward cashmere or choose a soft but not-so-spendy flannel, wrap yourself in something that will keep you warm, brighten your go-to gray outfit and pull together whatever you're wearing under that sleeping-bag winter coat. If you are really on a budget or feel somewhat crafty, turn this gift into a fun visitation-Saturday project with this perfectly simple DIY blanket scarf tutorial over at MomAdvice. Pictured, blanket scarf on Etsy, $29.99 , and handknit wool infinity scarf similar to this one, $45.
Chocolate you can't bear to share
Of course, you benevolently clear the candy clutter from the months-old Halloween bucket when you need to clean up your pantry. And OF COURSE, for every bite of that delectable post-Whole 30 candy bar you've been waiting a month to eat, you dole out two bites to every kid you're bribing into a car seat. Now it is time to build a stash of divine dessert that only touches your lips. My choice right now are any and all Chuao chocolates, perfectly portioned to tuck in your purse, desk or on a shelf way the hell high up. Each flavor is better than the next, so you might as well grab a gift box just for deserving you. Chuao Chocolatier kindly sent me a gift box to sample and I swear I only shared one or two of the maple bacon chocolates with my kid before I hid the rest away solomente por mi. All chocolate-crumbed opinions are my own. Chuao chocolate bars, $6, and gift box pictured, $36.
Books that will grip you
No matter if you dive headfirst into novels every single night or have had one hell of a time fitting in your own reading time in between Night Night, Little Pookie and whichever Rick Riordan book you are pouring over and over with your kiddos, isn't it time to find some time for one more wonderful read? If I was seeing you'd soon, I'd wrap up a copy of Cheryl Strayed's pre-Wild advice column compilation, Tiny Beautiful Things, or Mira Jacob's debut, The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing. Strayed's responses to real advice-seekers are gripping, gorgeous and raw, and feel like long and winding stories that somehow wrap up too soon. Read one a night as needed. For a deep read that spans generations, dig into Sleepwalker's, with all its complex, funny, aching characters and family issues, small but momentous successes and haunting failures. Full disclosure, Mira Jacob is a friend and former colleague and I could not be more proud of how she fit so much talent in this book. Tiny Beautiful Things, $11, The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing, $26 hardcover.
The best good-ass jeans you've ever worn
Give the gift of a fanfucktastic backside to yourself, regardless of the number on the size tag or what silly things you've scolded to yourself in the mirror in the last five minutes. Spend some cash on some jeans that lift and love your booty so you look as wowza walking out of a room as you do walking in. A dark wash works great for all occasions, fancy to cas. I love Joe's Jeans, which I was first introduced to in an Anthropologie sale room. But I also recommend a visit to a denim boutique to be fitted by someone who knows their stuff. If you're ready for instant gratification, buy your booty-yum on the spot. If not, write down the brands, styles and sizes you loved most, come home. grab a glass of red and scour the internet for a better deal. And, hey, splurge on expedited shipping because you deserve it. Pictured, Joe's Jeans on Zappos, $99 and up.
A bra that finally fits for real
Loves, it is time to do away with that tattered Target nursing bra you bought when your second-grader was first born, the molded-cup bra that runneth over and the sexy number with the seven holes you strategically cover with your elbows. Get yourself to Intimacy or another professional bra fitter to find out your true size, then find a bra that hikes your bewbs up, cradles them softly and makes even you say, "HELLLOHHHH," when you catch a glimpse of your shirtless self. SPEND. THE. MONEY. A true-sized bra will make your clothes fit better, help you look slimmer and will do wonders for your reflection. And since you are spending $60 - $200, branch out from blah-blah nude for something rrrrrowl. Go even crazier and wear that animal print, bold color, racy lacy thing every day. Even under your Wonder Woman t-shirt (you can still get that from Target). Panties that match? Don't mind if you do. J'adore this Sculptresse Chi Chi Full Cup Bra and matching skivvies set, so lovely for the curvy lady. Pictured in pink leopard, $62 for the bra and $34 for the high-rise panties.
A little beauty for your boudoir
It seems ridiculous to encourage a woman who works hard and is mindful of money to step away from the home goods aisle in Marshall's and instead buy herself a handmade silk decorative pillow AS A GIFT of self-love. But here I am saying that I think it is a fine idea. After all, you know that who (or what) you wake up next to or pat lovingly before falling asleep is important. And you may also know that being a single mama can mean that your bedroom is now a boudoir. So choose a pillow that sits regally among your 14 other pillows or is propped carefully in the lounging chair where a certain someone's unused elliptical used to take up space, and relish seeing it when alarm goes off and the lights go out. Let it represent a blossoming or a life raft or just an homage to your favorite quirky sea creature. Let it soothe you, comfort you and prop you up. Pictured, handmade decorative pillows on Etsy, $26 each.
Art that is all woman
Even if your home is overrun with kids and the stuff of those kids, find a corner that can become an altar to the woman you are or want to become. Find special art pieces or posters that exude confidence, grace, languishing, love – whatever it is you want to embody — and take time to take it in every day. Some of it might just rub off. And wouldn't that be a gift of this gift? Pictured, Figure Drawing Female by Lucy Morar from this lovely boutique on Etsy, most prints $18-$23.
A welcome home, you're gorgeous mat
If you've recently picked up and moved on, had to say goodbye to the place you called your forever house or have unpacked your suitcases in too many spots in too short a time, here is a simple gift to remind you and your young ones that home is where you all step in together. Make an entrance with a cheeky statement doormat or simply spell it out, HOME. Just be sure to mind your household safety by opting for an initial mat rather than one that tells every person on your porch what your name is. Depending on how many school/soccer/spin class/TJ's run/laundromat/fundraising galas are on your schedule, the gift of a little doormat is the message it sends multiple times a day. This Must Be handpainted coir mat, $35. Wood slat doormat, $40. HOME rainbow mat, $28. Handpainted Pretty rug, $40 and up.
A cup of hot stuff
Or should we say, "A cup FOR hot stuff"? That's you, mama. You're the hot stuff. Here's the chance to remind yourself of your fabulousness and foibles and that it will all be just fine — especially after two mugs full of coffee/tea/tangerine Emergen-C. Sits perfectly next to the #1 Mom mug and the one with your company's old half-faded logo. Good Morning mug on Etsy, $18, and Behind Every Great Kid mug also on Etsy, $25.