I know what you're thinking: Mother's Day is a week away and the kids don't have anything to give their mom. Never fear, I am here to help. And I'm here to tell you we're a pretty practical bunch. You don't need to spend a lot of money to win our favor. Thoughtfulness, time and effort go a long way on Mother's Day.
To prepare for this column, I have done an informal poll of moms and reviewed some research. I am speaking from my own personal point of view (a mom in her active parenting years with grade-school children), but it reflects what others have told me and what I have read. If there is any doubt, talk to the moms in your life. That's how you'll know what she really wants.
By the way, despite what it may sound like, we really do enjoy being moms. We wouldn't have it any other way. We love our kids and want to be with them ... most of the time.
For one day, though, we'd like to be the mom without the hassle and responsibility that comes with the territory. For those of us who still have children at home, what we really want for Mother's Day is help and time. Time to do what we want and help with those things we don't.
I really want a day when I don't have to cook. I don't care if we go out to eat or order in or if we just eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all day. I don't want to cook it or prepare it or put it on a plate. I want to be served . . . and waited upon. I would like to sit down at every meal, not stand at the counter cutting fruit or quizzing someone on their spelling words. I want to sit and relax and digest my food. I'd like to be asked, "Is there anything else I can get you?" Because, yes, as a matter of fact, there is ... and I'll think of it in a minute.
I would love to have a day where I am not responsible for dirty dishes, dirty clothes or a dirty house. That doesn't mean you should let it all pile up for the next day. It means grabbing a dishrag and wiping the counter. It means sorting the laundry and cleaning a few toilets. Sitting on the couch, reading a book while someone else cleans would be heavenly.
All whining and complaints need to go to some other repository for the day. I don't care whether that be another person (ahem, Matt) or a slip of paper in a complaint jar to be taken care of later. I do not want to hear about how your brother took two pieces of gum or that your sister got more ice cream. Thank you.
Contrary to popular belief, mothers do not enjoy nagging. I do not want to have to remind anyone to do anything. That includes making beds, clearing dishes, washing hands, combing hair, flushing the toilet, taking the dog out, eating vegetables, taking a shower, doing homework or going to bed.
I would like a day not to feel guilty if I want to be alone. Maybe I'll go for a run, take a bath, a nap or have a glass of wine. I would like to enjoy some peace and quiet.
I know for some of you out there, this isn't going to cut it. You want me to name an item that you can walk into a store and buy. OK, I'll give you some hints. But these are icing on the cake ideas. The real gift is giving us a day free from hassle - a day when we can just sit back and be an
adored member of the family.
Icing on the cake
Some of the moms I talked to want to choose a family activity for the day. Spending an afternoon in the backyard on a sunny day sounds pretty good to me, provided I don't need to pick up dog poop or weed the flowerbed.
If you want to buy us something, make sure it is not a gift for the house. As much as I like my vacuum cleaner, moms really don't want one for Mother's Day.
Most of us also don't want expensive flowers or jewelry. Have the kids pick some dandelions or make a macaroni necklace and spend the money you saved on a massage gift certificate. (I've never known a mom to turn down a massage).
We also really do like the sentimental things the kids make us. It doesn't matter if it's a crayon picture or a well-thought out poem. We love it because it's from someone we love.
And finally, we want lots of hugs and kisses ... all day long.
That's what we really want for Mother's Day.