10 Guilty Thoughts Moms Have When Buying Presents on a No-Kids Vacation​

Linda Sharps | Jan 28, 2015 Being a Mom

“I said I missed them,” my 6-year-old hissed to his brother, who elbowed him deeper in the ribs. “You’re not supposed to ask for the gifts FIRST,” my 9-year-old responded. They glared at each other, then turned to me, all innocent expressions: “We’re so glad you’re back, Mom!” I hugged them close, and at least half a second of warm family time went by before my 6-year-old started surreptitiously rooting through my luggage.

What could I do but shrug it off, because I knew exactly what they were looking for — the results of me having gone through the 10 Phases of Mom-Vacation-Induced-Guilt-Purchasing.

Image via Flickr/stewtopia

  • Stage 1: Picturing Their Ecstatic Expressions


    You're having a great time without the kids, but you miss them, right? You just want to bring something back that will put a genuine smile on their faces. Something awesome. Something that will blow them away.

  • Stage 2: Briefly Considering the Indigenous Tribe/Geographically Revelant Gift Option


    You should get them something that really teaches them about where you went. Something amazing and powerful, something that's far more meaningful than anything they'll learn in school. Never mind that everything you learned about the ancient tribespeople of Mahahuahahaun you learned on the party boat tour while drinking crappy rum punch with your husband, your kids are going to get the REAL DEAL. Ole! Or, aloha. Whatever. Is it on a pillow? Shit, no way that thing's fitting in coach.

  • Stage 3: MINERALS!!!!


    I know I'm not the only parent who gets all jazzed about gift shop rocks.


  • Stage 4: Deciding a Postcard Is, Like, Totally Fine


    Oh god we don't need to spend a ton of cash let's just get them a postcard, honey. This one looks nice. It's less than a dollar. DUNZO!

  • Stage 5: The T-Shirt


    You know what I'm talking about. Everyone gets to the T-shirt stage at some point.

  • Stage 6: Oh Wait! How About A Souvenir Spoon? Yes! They'll LOVE THIS!


    Here's how many kids actually care about souvenir spoons: ZERO KIDS.

  • Stage 7: It Has To Be Stuffed!



  • Stage 8: The Pressed Penny


    Sooner or later, every parent considers the pressed penny. Then that same parent thinks how this novelty coin will instantly disappear, leaving  tears and ruin in its wake, and reappear one day by clogging the vacuum cleaner.

  • Stage 9: The Desperate, Sleazy Airport Souvenier


    Babies like shot glasses, don't they? They're practically sippy cups.

  • Stage 10: Realizing That Whatever You Bought (Even if You Didn't Buy Anything) is Just Fine


    Because you're home, Mommy. Also, let's be honest, your luggage is pretty fun.