I recently asked members of my Facebook group, Millionaire Single Moms (have you joined yet?) what they would give to a friend whose divorce was just finalized, or even what they wished someone had gifted them when they were going through their separations.
The response was overwhelming! So many mamas out there wished for such basic courtesies during their hard times – a hug, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on (Read: Best online therapy sites for moms).
And then there were other, more practical gifts members swear by in times of need.
This post is all about those perfect gifts for single moms — whether during a breakup, holidays and birthdays.
Best gifts for single moms
What single mom, regardless of her trying, difficult circumstances, couldn’t use a day, an afternoon, or even an hour away from their kids?
Whether it’s grocery shopping or a good long nap, the gift of child care just might be the most useful thing on this list (unless you’re giving out wads of cash!). Check into great options for childcare in your area on Care.com!
“Childcare. I wish so much that I would have asked for more help when I was dealing with my divorce. It was overwhelming to deal with all of that plus have my kids 24/7.” – Chelsea
“I’d arrange a babysitter and take her out!” – Cyndy
“Childcare: I’d give her a few days notice and say ‘do whatever you want I’m taking the kids overnight.' ” – Beth
“I'd let her leave kiddo with me so she can have some time for herself to adjust, purge old memories, handle personal affairs, etc.” – Renee
A good glass of wine – or, really, just wine in general – makes things feel a little more manageable.
If you can’t be there in person to open the bottle and pour her a glass, there are other options.
“Wine and/or chocolate was delivered by several good friends, and much appreciated.” – Bea
To sidestep the annoying laws around shipping booze, consider surprising your girlfriend with a wine subscription or a wine gift basket through Winebasket.com!
There are tons of great ones out there, like Winc, Blue Apron Wine, Vinebox, etc. Bonus points if you FaceTime her for a virtual hangout while she’s enjoying her gift!
“Wine and ice cream are the best gifts after divorce.” – Ellen
Whether it’s a practical, comforting or inspirational book – or all three of those in one book *ahem* – many group members said they would buy their single mom friends a good book.
I've actually written a full post about what I deem to be the best single mom books, so your gifting is basically cut out for you! Here are a few of the group's favorites:
“The Kickass Single Mom book. Even if there aren't kids involved in the divorce… it addresses financial issues, have-your-shit-together issues and be-your-best-self issues!” – Kiara
If finances are her priority right now, check out my 30-day Kickass Single Mom Money Makeover.
“I've given this book to two friends now – Child Friendly Divorce by Diane M. Berry. It is excellent.” – Mary B.
“When I was going through my divorce, my mom got me the book In the Meantime by Iyanla Vanzant. Best divorce gift!” – Sherry
This is one single mom gift I'll admit I had never thought of before: a journal. Some Millionaire Single Moms evidently had thought of this, however, like these considerate ladies:
“A journal to process their emotions and to look back on to remember they survived.” – Cathy
“I like giving a really nice pen along with a journal with guided prompts.” – Treena
And then there are the moms who don't mess around with their journal gifting, like Sarah, who prefers giving “a journal… one of those handmade leather ones that wrap around like a secret treasure.”
It's a really thoughtful gift if you think about it.
Someone going through one of the biggest, most shaping experiences of their life could probably use somewhere to put their thoughts – somewhere safe, somewhere free of judgement, and somewhere they have space to really work out how they're feeling – whether that feeling is one of anxiety, loneliness – or sheer exhilaration and joy.
SO many single women tell me that they have NEVER received professional flowers before.
That shocks me, not because I am the type to have flowers delivered to my home to display in my bathrooms and guest bedrooms, but because it's such a simple gift to give and receive.
Sure, wildflowers your kids pick are sweet, but there's just something about getting a full, lush bouquet — occasion or not – that makes your day.
Check out SendFlowers.com for some beautiful ideas!
Whether it's a mani-pedi, massage, a facial, or even an aromatherapy candle, it's probably no surprise that the group had a lot of recommendations in the self-care department.
Bree's favorite single mom gift is sweet and simple: “a spa and shopping day!” and a lot of other single moms agree:
“I wish I would have gotten a listening ear and maybe a spa day after my divorce.” – Mona
“An energetic full body massage. There is a lot of pain and healing that can't be done by just talking it out.” – Jessica
“My friends got me a spa day it was unexpected but awesome” – Theresa
You don't necessarily have to be a whiz in the kitchen to gift home-cooked meals to a newly single mom.
You can subscribe her to a month of grocery delivery, coordinate a meal train, or hang out with her while she cooks and you do the dishes.
Just, for the love of god, PLEASE don't let there be casseroles.
“One of the best things given to me was that one of my girlfriends came over (with wine), helped me plan some meals, took me shopping for groceries, then proceeded to prep several weeks worth of meals while I talked to her and drank wine!” – Meghan
“Show up at the new home on moving day with a few bags of groceries. Someone did this for me and it made me feel so cared for.” – Sarah
“A home cooked meal, some wine and a listening ear.” – Joanna
“Something with… batteries”
Ok, you knew this was coming. A couple of realistic Millionaire Single Moms recommend surprising their divorced BFFs with something a bit more… self-sufficient:
“A vibrator. Sorry – it was the first thing that popped into my head!” – Jenna
“A removable shower head.” – Shauna
“Pure Romance party with all of our friends!” – Michelle
What better way to take her mind off of the ups and downs of divorce than to take your single mom friend out of her usual surroundings! If you're looking for ideas, these mamas have you covered:
“My bestie flew into town and we took all the kids on a short backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon. It was great to have her with me and gave me a sense of normalcy to take our kids on an adventure together.” – Anna
“From my sisters I got a surprise visit at midnight shortly after my divorce. They live in NYC and I'm in MD. So Saturday flowed into a whole day spent visiting, eating and shopping in a place I had never been before in my county.” – Rachel
“Going hiking and seeing a movie – trying to do a girls' day out as much as possible to keep her busy.” – Emily T.
A night out
Speaking of adventure, a lot of moms in the Facebook group really love the idea of taking her out for an evening she'll never forget… or never remember, depending on how your crew rolls. Here are some of my favorite ideas from the MSM group:
“Love and support with a good night out!” – Tori
“Lots of invites to everything! Take her to dinner, parties, anything to get her mind off of things.” – Suze
“A weekend away at the ACE Hotel. Girls night out? Yes, please!” – Jeanette
“A girls trip to celebrate the start of a new beginning!” – Miranda
I saved the best for last. There's really no way to stress this one enough. The best gift to give a friend who is going through a divorce is your time and your presence. Nothing beats it. Nothing even comes close. The moms agree:
“Friendship. I had a tribe of girlfriends who carried me through. They reviewed my documents (ok, it helps when we're all lawyers), they cleaned my house, they made me eat when I didn't feel like it, and so much more. They were my strength when I felt my weakest.” – Rebeckah
“Someone to come over and just hang out, listen and care like once a week. I felt so lonely after my divorce. I just wanted someone to be there to let me cry, hug me, and tell me I was going to be all right.” – Mary T.
“Friendship. Just be there for them. Don't bail, even if they are being a bitch. They need you now more than you know.” – Jane
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.