Please Don’t Give Me Valentine’s Day Candy


It is February, and I have been breastfeeding my daughter for over eight months. Add my pregnancy onto that number and you get a sum total of almost a year and half of my body not being my body. I haven’t been prioritizing exercise, I’m tired, and I’m both starving and thirsty all the time.

Flashback! Rewind to the first week of 2019. I’m in that same crazed new-mom state, and my house is FULL of holiday sweets – cookies, cakes, candy. So, I ate them. All of them. Even my husband’s stash.

Now it is Valentine’s Day, and I am here to say – for all of the moms like me, who are tired and always hungry and never able to find time for exercise, PLEASE DON’T GIVE ME VALENTINE’S CANDY. I have no self-control in this vulnerable state. I am quite likely to eat myself into diabetes right around 4:43pm each day, in that frazzled moment when I quite am sure that I cannot handle this #momlife for another moment.

So, here are some non-candy gift ideas to show the mom in your life some love on Valentine’s Day:


Contrary to what Walgreens and Russell Stover want you to think, there are food items out there that are not candy!

Budget-friendly: fancy tea or coffee (or gift card), delicious homemade breakfast in bed, fancy granola, Vital Proteins items

Splurge: champagne, wine, or other alcoholic beverage of choice


Give her anything spa-related. Help her to feel like a human woman again.

Budget-friendly: nail polish, one-time use face masks, bath bombs, fancy travel-size shampoos

Splurge: facial or massage gift cards, spa day, manicure or pedicure gift certificate


This is a delicate point. Don’t give her anything exercise-related unless you know she wants it; this gift could be taken the wrong way easily.

Budget-friendly: water bottle, yoga/pilates mat, top or pants, weights (Marshalls and T.J. Maxx have some great stuff!), one-time class pass to a gym

Splurge: gift certificate to Lululemon or Athleta, one-month or more studio/online streaming membership, personal training or private session pass


Think about the things she liked to do with you before your lives revolved around little ones for inspiration.

Budget-friendly: go to a park, farmers market, festival, or other free or low-cost event

Splurge: take or plan a trip, go out to a fancy dinner (or not), tickets to a concert/performance/sporting event


If she’s the primary cook/housekeeper in your house or enjoys it, this is a good category; but, like exercise, this can be a touchy subject, so use your judgment!

Budget-friendly: small kitchen gadgets, fancy dishtowels, fun-smelling cleaning sprays

Splurge: gift certificate for meal prep subscription, cooking class (solo or as a date), house cleaning service


If she works, or even if she does not work but has a desk area at home, office stuff can be fun!

Budget-friendly: her favorite pens, a bright desk set, binder clips and paper clips in funky patterns, a new mug with a catchy phrase, a beautiful throw pillow

Splurge: new computer or tablet, printer, new desk chair or desk, framed art

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Sarah Townsend Leach is a fundraising, communications, and leadership professional living in Collierville and working with clients around the country. Sarah grew up in Nashville and has lived in quite a few places, but thanks to visiting grandparents in East Memphis throughout her childhood and attending Rhodes College in Midtown, this has always been a second (and now a primary!) home. Sarah and her husband John met through both of their work in the Episcopal Church in 2015, and she is a mom to Poppy (June 2018) and Ann Townsend (October 2019). Follow her journey through new motherhood: focusing on learning how to be a parent and finding her new work-life balance out in the burbs. Sarah loves exploring, being outside, yoga, and crafting (all of which she has no time for now that she is a toddler mom).