Updated 8 March 2010
She brought you into the world, nursed you when you were sick, put her life on a silver platter for you... and then every year you forget to get her something for Mother's Day, you git.
We wanted advice on the best ways to go about scoring a direct hit and giving mum a Mother's Day present she really wants. To kick off then, in true h2g2 style, let's hear it from a mother who really doesn't like Mother's Day at all.
Speaking as a mother, I really don't like Mother's Day. The goodnight kiss I get from each child every night is a better present than any purchased card, bunch of flowers, box of chocolates or Mother's Day brunch could ever be. And I don't like to eat my breakfast in bed!
OK, fair enough. In which case then, let's be a bit devious. Or, as the title of the following header proclaims...
Be Insidious - Give Her Something for Yourself!
Why not? It's her own fault if she's satisfied with everything she has. Ask her what she wants. If she answers the usual: 'Noooo... I don't need anything', be insidious. Buy something with second intentions, but don't forget her favourite flowers (if the present is a flunk, there's still the flowers). The second thoughts may vary in perfidy. Subtle variations include 'inciting her into a hobby' and more selfish variations include baking-books like Baking Delicious Chocolate Cakes.
Inciting mum into a hobby - One must be careful though, but this will solve the problems for all the next Mother's Days. And birthdays. And Christmas. Or Chanukah. Care must be taken to find a suitable hobby which she will eventually like. Observe your mum carefully. Do you see her gardening, making pottery, other artistic stuff, videos, collecting coins, drawing cartoons, playing an ukulele, scuba-diving, h2g2-ing? Everyone has a weak spot.
Make her bake more of your favourite cakes - ('I've done it with my mom - it worked' - Researcher.) Baking books are perfectly disguised presents for yourself. It looks like a book for her (there are very beautiful baking books with background info and historical aspects of the cakes), but next time you visit her, the cake is for you. Alternatives: making chocolate, secrets of the Chinese kitchen (perhaps along with a Wok-set). Don't forget: mums like to feed their offspring. No matter how old.
Magazine subscriptions - (Works for Dads, too.) Sometimes you spend a lot of time at your parent's home while mum is away, cooking or on the phone. She won't let you help in the kitchen and telephone conversations can take hours. Fortunately there's the National Geographic Magazine on the table. In such magazines there's something for every taste. (You can also renew it every year, solving the next year's problem). It is also a nice long-distance present (you can arrange the subscription by mail).
My mum loves gardening, so last year I bought her a copy of Gardeners World magazine, and told her there were 12 more to come - I'd bought her a subscription. She was completely over the moon and has requested the same again this year.
That could be Mother's Day sorted for the next several years!
Inciting a living room style change - Are you not satisfied with the looks of your parents' living-room? (The question sounds really nasty, but what the hey?) What about the dining room? You can start to incite a style change in subtle and less-subtle manners by giving the right presents. Subtle ways include: stylish-candles, a freaky tablecloth or a modern lamp. Less subtle ways include: A0-Posters (don't forget the frame) with a motif at the limits of her taste (don't exaggerate). Oh! And don't forget to install the poster. More less-subtle ways: attack the furniture (it's a little more expensive but works best). Attack the curtains, give her curtains with modern patterns.
A Short History of Mother's Day
During the 1600s, England celebrated a day called 'Mothering Sunday', celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. 'Mothering Sunday' honours the mothers of England. As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honour the 'Mother Church' - the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm. Over time, the church festival blended with the Mothering Sunday celebration. People began honouring their mothers as well as the Church. During this time many of England's poor worked as servants for the wealthy. Most servants would live at the houses of their employers but on Mothering Sunday the servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers. A special cake, called the Mothering Cake, was often brought along to provide a festive touch. Sometimes furmety was served - wheat grains boiled in sweet milk, sugared and spiced.
Here's a canny lil' tip from a US Researcher who manages to please mum and beat the queue while he's at it:
In my area of the US, all the restaurants offer 'special' menus for Mother's Day. Unfortunately, their offerings are usually bland, boring and mass-produced to accommodate the mass onslaught of haggard parents with unruly children in tow.
Now that my children are beyond the pre-school stage, we always make a reservation at a favourite restaurant for the night before Mother's Day. We have a lovely meal in a restaurant that has a lower than normal attendance because everyone else is going out the next day. Mother's Day is on the second Sunday in May in the US.
We do the same thing for Father's day, too.
The Morning After the Day Before
Methinks the lady (or in this case, the lady's son) doth protest too much - see what you think. He's also another advocate for celebrating mum's special day, but not on Mother's Day itself:
It's not my fault they put the FA Cup Quarter final1 on Mothers Day now is it? And it's also not my fault for saying yes when I was asked if I wanted a ticket to go and watch Spurs play Chelsea is it? This doesn't make me a bad person does it? I am going to see her tomorrow instead, and besides she doesn't like all this commercialisation of things, so she's not a great fan of Mother's day anyway.
One cool tip about Mother's Day - tell them that you made an entry here (on h2g2), and tell her that this shows the whole world how you feel about her; the result is instant pride and a warm 'n' fuzzy feeling! Trust me, I just did it!
Is this entry just a bit too twee for you? A bit too wishy-washy, mumsy-wumsy? Well, let's hear it for the following Researcher whose 'reality' take on Mother's Day, is well... you decide:
Hey, the obvious and best gift you can give is hard cash - no problems linked to the old 'oh, I don't like that/him/her/it anymore' shenanigans associated with just about any present you ever try to buy for anyone. A corny handmade card, hand-drawn or made of some other old bit of tat stuffed with notes goes down well. This partially makes up for some of my more aggravating escapades! That and a hug.
Presents for Mummy
What follows are the pondering thoughts of one mother's child who obviously gives the whole Mother's Day thing considerable thought. Maybe we can all learn something from her:
Maybe this is a bit of a cliché, but I actually ask my Mum what she wants. But then she usually replies 'I don't know' - drat, foiled again. I can't get her chocolate because she's just lost loads of weight so it's the last thing she will want. I can't get her flowers because everyone else will be getting her those.
Fortunately, there is a very nice embroidery kit that she wants. She's ordered it from her embroidery catalogue and I am going to pay for it. Problem solved!
Most inspired Mother's day gift? An audio book version of Pride and Prejudice back in 2000. We were due to fly out to China about four weeks after Mother's Day. I know that Pride and Prejudice is my mum's favourite book, and that she almost never sleeps on a plane. Something nice to listen to during a long-haul flight.
Mother's Day USA
Mother's Day in the US is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. In 2010 it will be 9 May. Typical presents are usually cards, chocolate, or dinner out. Usually, a phone call is required too. Mothers across America universally lament the fact that their offspring do not call frequently enough. So how does one appease or appreciate one's mother? Creative gifts go a long way in Mother Points (a unique rating system based on the amount of effort expended on producing an appropriate gift). If you live close enough you can hand-make mum 'coupons' and present them to your parent in a cute little box. These coupons might be heart-shaped and contain messages like: one phone call, free carwash, will babysit dog, one free dinner out. Your mother can redeem one each month, week etc. If you live farther away, send something expensive. Show your mother how much you appreciate her despite the distance. Perhaps you even fell guilty for living so far away. Either way, a nice gift can pacify one's conscience. More about the MP gift rating system (for the curious):
- Phone call - 10 MPs
- Phone call and card - 20 MPs Call
- Card and dinner - 50 MP's
- Cutesy gifts (depending on the mom) - 80 MP's
- Handmade presents 100 MP's
- A note/letter of appreciation with a handmade gift - 200 MP's
In reality, and much less tongue-in-cheek, a good 'I love you' will suffice. Mothers just want to be appreciated, like the rest of us.
A lovely little poem, written by a mother, straight from the heart! Or, as we say in the Towers, 'Oooh! Handbags at dawn!'
My perfect Mother's Day
Would be the day
Can get out and buy me a present instead of sending her dad to get one