I’ve been a mom for 21 years now…almost 22…and I can tell you, I’ve seen the cruddy end of Mother’s Day presents more than once. It sucks. So, here’s my PSA to those of you out there who haven’t put any thought into your Mother’s Day present yet.
As Nike puts it, ‘just do it’.
After all, you count on ‘Dear Ole’ Mom’ for a lot all year long. Don’t you think she’s worth giving a little consideration for this once-a-year holiday in her honor?
Maybe you’re clueless on things your mom might like.
Let me shed a little light on that for you, speaking in very general terms.
Here is a brief list of things she does NOT want.
- To be forgotten.
When I tell you my son was 4 years old before I got my first Mother’s Day present, and that was one I bought for myself, it still makes me sad inside. And no, I am no longer married to his father (not just because of this, but who knows how things might have turned out if a Mother’s Day card or present had popped up one or two of those years…but, as some men argue, I was not HIS mom, so it wasn’t his job to buy my gift…I’m sure my one year old could have crawled down to the store on his own if I’d paid him allowance back then, but I digress). Don’t be that jerk that forgets Mother’s Day…or worse, knows it’s a special holiday, but doesn’t bother to give her something.
- A crappy gift
I know I’m vague-booking here, but seriously, put a little thought into what your mom might enjoy. I’m not saying you have to spend a lot…some of my favorite Mother’s Day presents were totally free, but took a little time and creativity, like homemade cards. They’re my favorite anyway. Expensive gifts are nice, too, but when the kids put their heart into making something, it means they cared long enough to stop everything else in their world and spend a few minutes thinking of you. That matters. (Another tip–a quickly scratched out sentence saying ‘thanks mom’ on a sheet of paper does not count as a homemade card…we know you took all of two seconds putting it together and it’s just going to piss us off…do better than that…be better than that.)
- A recycled gift.
Look, she might reward your attempt at being frugal, but inside, she’s not going to like being given something you already gave her some other holiday, or something someone else gave you. Unless she gushed over that gift then, don’t even try re-gifting her something crappy just because it was sitting around and available…that’s taking the easy way out and could easily be something she later re-gifts back to you for your birthday–not to be cruel, but as a good mother taking advantage of a teachable moment.
- A sink full of dirty dishes.
Yep, this happens every year when some sweet little one decides they’re going to make mom ‘breakfast in bed’. While that might be delicious, burnt toast and all, it’s not fun for mom to wake up to that mess in the kitchen afterwards. So, unless you know you’re going to leave that kitchen cleaner than you found it, just take her out to eat. And pay for it, too.
- Anything that involves cooking or cleaning.
Just don’t be that jerk. Unless she specifically asked for that amazing new upright vacuum, or kitchen mixer, this goes in the ‘hell no’ department. You’re supposed to be making mom feel like the queen for the day, so don’t go reminding her that she’s really more like ‘the help’ the rest of the year. Odds are, if she needs a new cleaning tool to keep the house spotless, she’ll go buy it ‘for herself’. Don’t cheat her out of a gift on her special day by buying something you don’t know she’ll love with all of her heart (and sorry, but I don’t know a woman alive who LOVES a new vacuum cleaner).
- Anything that involves fitness.
I know, I know. Wearable fitness trackers are all the rage, and your mom might actually want one this year. If that’s the case, by all means, buy it! But unless she has specifically said how much she’d love keeping track of her calorie count, just don’t. Don’t. Otherwise, she’ll read all kinds of things into the gift, like maybe you think she needs to lose weight, which is the last thing any mom needs to be thinking about on her special day. Issues with weight will ruin any holiday, so avoid this if you want her smiling when the day is done.
I know the little kids who make these ‘free hugs’ coupons mean well. But, I can tell you I have a drawer full of unredeemed coupons that really should be in the garbage now if I was following that book about purging ‘stuff’ (because honestly, these little pieces of paper promising to do the dishes, or wash the car, don’t ‘bring me joy’). They ultimately are like foreign currency—worthless unless you use them while you’re still in that country—which in kid speak, is right away.
So what IS a good gift idea?
Show your momma some love with your actions… plant her a new rose bush… take HER shopping for a new blouse and use your own hard-earned allowance to pay for it… write her a letter about your favorite things she’s done for you, or your best memories together… heck, you could even go for a walk together and share those memories…or share a scoop of ice cream (unless she’s lactose intolerant…then, find whatever it is that people who can’t eat ice cream eat for dessert and give her twice as much because that’s a very sad fate to be handed).
My favorite Mother’s Day present is the one I gave myself my first year as a single parent—a photo session with my son—so, why not tell her you want to go take some pictures together? Heck, you can even use your selfie-stick…it might be the only photo she’s actually IN with you for a very long time. Those end up being pretty priceless.
Just make an effort. Spend time with her. Show her how much she is loved.
What am I forgetting? What rotten gift were you given for Mother’s Day–or what gift would you want to hand right back if your family tried ‘presenting’ to you?