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Best gifts for the mom in your life

Want something unique and useful? We got mom covered.

mom-baby

Mom is doing most of the holiday shopping. You better not drop the ball on her gift.

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2019, your source for the season's best gifts and deals, hand-picked by the experts at CNET.

For many people, their mother is the hardest to shop for during the holiday season. The pressure to deliver can be intense for even an adult child, even if you know that they will just be happy that you took a moment to be thoughtful of them. But there are all kinds of unique, beautiful and personalized gifts to consider that will definitely make your mom smile.

Finding your mom the perfect gift can feel daunting. Of course, she'll like anything you get her -- she's mom. But you can do better than a scented candle and a gift card. You want a great gift that shows you appreciate her, that shows you know what your mom's favorite things are and what can be useful or make her life easier.

I'm a working mom with two kids, so I have some insight into the perfect gift for your momma. Allow me to be your guide with some ideas for thoughtful gifts for the many types of moms -- from first-time moms to grandmas -- in your life.

Willow

Want to help first-time moms who are worried about going back to work? Buy them a Willow. Is this her second or third kid? Doesn't matter -- all new moms need a Willow, and it will be received as a thoughtful gift.

Pumping is not glamorous or perfect. Most pumps have mom tethered to a wall outlet, requiring privacy for 30 minutes as bottles dangle from a bra. And she has to repeat this foolishness multiple times a day. The Willow pump is battery powered, spill proof, and hides inside a bra, letting moms pump anywhere, at anytime. And it works. I have a 5-month-old baby (and 3-year-old toddler) and this has saved my sanity, letting me pump while commuting, cooking dinner or playing on the floor with my kids. Dads, this also makes your world better: You can go out with your lady without her stressing about rushing home to pump in private.

Yes, it's expensive at $500. But it can make mom's life easier during this exhausting stage of child-rearing. And when mom is happy, everyone is happy. 

Anker

Is mom's phone out of battery again? Maybe it's because she didn't get a chance to charge it because her to-do list -- between the Baby Shark song-a-thon and uploading the quarterly presentation to her team over Slack -- is completely out of control. She's doing 10 million things, and she hasn't even had a good night's sleep, for pete's sake! Why don't you help cut her some slack with this perfect portable charger she can pop in her purse? We guarantee anything that makes keeping her phone charged easy is going to be a win as a thoughtful gift. This power bank has enough juice to recharge a phone three times, ensuring it's going to be one of mom's favorite gifts.

3Doodler

Looking for ideas for gifts to buy for a creative mom? Perfect for the kind of mom who can't resist a good arts and crafts project, the 3Doodler Create Plus printing pen gives tinkerers a way to make art or fix things. The unique pen works kind of like a hot glue gun, with heated plastic coming out of the pen's nozzle, giving users the ability to draw with plastic on a flat surface or in midair, forming 3D structures.

The pen set comes with five projects, but mom can take her art to the next level with one of the many Project Kits, sold separately. Make a Tiffany-style candle holder with stencils for $30, or moms can make a small clutch purse out of plastic with the $20 kit. Her friends are going to be way jealous of her beautiful creations. 

I also suggest that a perfect and thoughtful companion to this great gift would be some uninterrupted time to work on her crafts.

Native Union

A mom's purse is a survival kit, and every kit needs an emergency charger cord. Buy her a stylish keychain that also serves as a USB charging cable with Native Union's key cables. The reinforced cable design comes in several colors, with various models for lightning or USB-C connector ends. The ball design is perfect to help her find her keys in the purse, and she won't have to lug around a long, messy charger cord. Because she's carrying enough stuff for you already.

Ergo Impact

Being a mom is backbreaking work. Some massagers are more irritating than helpful. The MassageRite, made by Ergo Impact, hits the spot and helps mom relax. With a pillow-shape design and durable motor, it can be attached to any chair using the elastic Velcro straps. It's not exactly stylish, but it is very effective. Plug it in and heated rollers give a deep-tissue massage for the back or neck (and the heat can be switched off). Perfect for working out a knot in the office, or use the included car power adapter for the commute. Something that helps a mom treat herself is the perfect gift.

Mother knows best -- but we can use a little help from Google now and then. Google Nest Hub is part digital photo frame, part kitchen countertop companion. Using voice and touch, mom can quickly pull up a cooking video on YouTube, make phone calls, and keep track of the family calendar, making it a great gift for moms with lots on their plates (which, let's be real, is all of us). You can even give one to grandma for the easy sharing of photos via a Live Albums folder. The only thing this doesn't do is pour a glass of wine for you!

Perfect for the wired mom with several smart gadgets, the Hub also serves as a control panel. It's CNET's top pick for a smart display this year. Read our Google Nest Hub review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're not sure if it's time to buy mom a smartwatch, consider this: The new Apple Watch Series 5 has an always-on screen, so you can see the time at all times. That means its one less thing to slow mom down. This gadget is perfect for a woman on the go and is way more useful than a more traditional bracelet. It will definitely make mom's life easier. Read our Apple Watch Series 5 review.

David Carnoy/CNET

There's no stopping the chaos at home. But mom can at least tune it out with the Beats Solo Pro on-ear, noise-canceling headphones, which makes them a great gift for quieting the constant madness. The premium headphone is compact and travel-friendly with a folding design, perfect for moms on the go. It's the first Beats on-ear headphone to feature active noise cancellation. Maybe now mom will be able to hear her own thoughts.

Moshi

If mom needs to lug around a computer daily, help her keep organized in style with a laptop bag like the Moshi Treya Lite. The pretty satchel is made from vegan leather and includes a sleeve to fit a 13-inch laptop. Included straps and multiple attachment points give mom the choice to wear it as a shoulder bag, a messenger, a backpack, or a typical handbag. The clutch is also removable. Mix and match the color of the straps, bag and clutch for a gift with some unique pizazz. It'll also keep her hands free to clutch a cup of coffee or tea, and caffeine always makes travel less of a hassle.

Mark Licea/CNET

Finding time to get to the gym is hard, but if the family already owns a Switch game system, she can work out on her own time with this fitness-focused roleplaying game. A pilates wheel accessory and motion sensors keep pushing players to break a sweat, crushing enemies while sculpting abs. It's a real workout, with a fun quest that helps distract from those discouraging out-of-shape feelings. And if the kids want to jump in and compete with mom, she can get her gains while gaining family time. Bonus: After all that exercise, mom is definitely going to be able to relax a bit and get a good night's sleep. 

Originally published earlier this month.