'All I Want for Christmas Is a Sweet Day Planner': What to Gift Moms of Kids With Medical Needs

It’s that time of year again — a time for family and friends and, of course, gifts. I mean, what’s the holiday without presents, right? Clearly, I’m just kidding, but there is one common theme among gifts that happens to me every year. It goes a little something like this:

Well meaning family member: “Hey Ashley, what do you want for Christmas?”

Self: *crickets, tumbleweeds, and a whole lotta nothing*

Every. Damn. Year. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason around the holidays, I forget everything I have wanted and needed throughout the year. I tend to remember somewhere around December 27, which is useful considering the sales but makes for a pretty boring Christmas morning.

This year, I am officially blaming the forgetfulness and inability to decide on the 70 bajillion doctors appointments we have each week. My mind is full, people — the ability to make decisions on presents has been pushed out and replaced with med timing and insurance paperwork.

And I’m guessing I’m not alone.

The holidays are a time we, as moms, try to make magical for our kiddos. Couple that with children who may be either inpatient for the holidays or home for their first official Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza/whatever as an “outpatient,” and our ability to think of ourselves is shot. Fear not, though — I’m here to help. Enter my list of must-give gifts for every mom (heck, or dad) on your list. These five items are things I can’t live without, and hopefully they’ll be great for your hardworking, fun-loving, insurance-fighting mama, too.

1. Create 365 Day Planner (You can get the mini version online now at Michael’s for under $11!) I would die without my day planner. Every appointment, phone number, admission and reminder are written down in that thing. I tried putting it all in my phone, but there is something about putting pen to paper and being able to check a week at a time that gives me peace. I love Create 365 because it allows you to do just that — create the look of the planner that works for you. Plus, it comes with stickers and an option for super cute covers. Who says tracking neurology appointments has to be ugly?

2. Portable Charger It happens every time — you show up to your specialist appointment on time, only to see the doctor is apparently on an impromptu trip to God-knows-where and is now behind by six hours. (I mean, seriously, how does this happen? That’s a topic for a different post.) No worries — you have Netflix on your phone. But, what’s that? Your battery is already down to 10 percent. Fear not! This portable charger is super easy to throw in one of the 12 bags you’re already carrying and fully charge your phone while you wait half a day for your 15-minute appointment (eye roll).

3. YETI Tumbler I get it, I said it, too: Why in the name of all things holy do I need a $35 water bottle? It seems absurd, but after a day full of appointments this bad-boy keeps drinks cold and ice icey. I actually think I drink more water because my YETI keeps it cold. Plus, I’ve heard you can fit an entire bottle of wine in the big one. Which, obviously, I wouldn’t know from experience….

4. Literally any type of “athleisure” apparel I have a dilemma whenever Jackson is in the hospital: I want to be comfortable, but I don’t want to look unkempt. I end up living in “athleisure” wear — leggings, oversized tops, and sports bras — and it’s perfect. I tend to wear these to appointments, too, as it’s easy to move around in, lifting equipment and kiddos, and keeps me warm as most of the offices are cold! Plus, it lets me pretend like a clinic day is a workout (but, honestly, it is).

5. Visa Gift Card (or similar) Gift cards are great, especially the ones you can reuse and reload. When we were in the hospital, we were given a boatload of Starbucks gift cards because without coffee, I can’t parent. The problem was that the Starbucks in the hospital was actually not a Starbucks. They just sold Starbucks coffee. Instead of getting someone a specific gift card to one location, try a Visa card loaded up with funds that can be used at places they may need!

Hopefully these give you a few ideas of ways to spoil the mama in your life (or yourself!). Now, to test out the capacity of my YETI…

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