The kids are fighting, there's no clean underwear for tomorrow and someone needs to pay that stack of bills. If you believe the 2008 U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics report, it's mom who will most likely handle it, from the household upkeep to childcare. The notion of a work-life balance in a mother's daily life can much too easily fall by the wayside.
No problem. HowStuffWorks and TLC have five budget-friendly treats to help recharge a mom's battery without adding to that pile of bills.
5: Wine Tasting
Drinking wine tastes good -- and can take the edge off a long day -- but do you know how to determine the nose, taste, mouthfeel and finish of that glass of Merlot you have with dinner? A visit to a local winery can help you develop your palate and give you a little vino education. Plus, when was the last time you spent a pleasant afternoon tilting back a glass?
Make it even more budget-friendly by throwing a wine-tasting party for your closest friends, moms or not. Have everyone bring a bottle of their favorite vino and you supply some appetizers (anything from cheeses to tapas to wings, depending on your crowd) and wine glasses.
Feeling mom guilt about having fun? Remember the antioxidants, called flavonoids, in red wines are good for your cardiovascular health. So drink up - it's good for you!
4: Breakfast in Bed
Can you remember when you used to sleep until noon? Through breakfast? Okay, what about more than 5 hours? It's a luxury for most moms to get a good night's sleep, so adding a good breakfast -- without first having to get the kids ready for school, walk the dog, shower and get dressed -- can feel truly decadent.
Whether it's prepped and presented by the kids or as a partner's romantic gesture, it's still cheaper than a stay at a B&B or a brunch outing. And, in a report by the National Weight Control Registry, 90 percent of people who've lost 30 plus pounds and kept the weight off for at least a year eat breakfast almost every single day. (No numbers around how many of those breakfasts were in bed - but does it really matter?)
3: The Luxury of Time
According to a Families and Work Institute survey, in 2008, 31 percent of moms said that their spouses took equal or more responsibility for the care of their children. The other 69 percent of moms? Well, they've apparently got a lot on their plate.
So what's the perfect present for a busy mother? The gift of nothing.
Seems like a cop-out, right? Hardly. The gift of time for mom to do whatever she wants, whether it's catching up with the girls, catching up on chapters of the newest Twilight book or catching up on a nap, is a precious luxury. Clearing out the kids, the pets, the mess (or whatever stands between a mom and her free time) means a happier mom, and you can't go wrong with that.
2: Calgon, Take Her Away
One of the most loving and luxurious gifts of mom is to give her time to relax. Kids can have dad help draw her a sudsy bath with scented salts or aromatherapy candles. Dads can put nimble fingers to good use with a deep massage. Lavishing mom with attention is free and a great way to show just how much you love her.
Not a homebody? It's still budget-friendly to get some pampering outside the house. Take advantage of free in-store makeovers at a cosmetics counter in the mall, alone or as a girls-only afternoon, and don't feel compelled to walk out with a bag of goodies -- the makeovers really are complimentary.
1: Cultural Fix
Sure, strolling the halls of the Louvre is a once in a lifetime adventure, but what about those of us on a staycation budget? Grab a cultural fix in your city's museums and art galleries. Depending on where you live this could mean something small and kitschy like the Barbie Hall of Fame in Palo Alto, CA, or a biggie like the Whitney in New York. Sometimes you can walk away with amazing works of original art for low prices when you're buying from unknown or emerging artists at a local gallery.
Feeling inspired? Break out the watercolors and spend a few afternoons in classes at a local community center.