Men, May 12th is Mother’s Day.
Now, let’s get down to why we are here. I do not claim to be the resident expert on women, nor do I know what they want—ever. What I do know is if you haven’t started planning or know what your wife, mother, special friend, whoever is going to get this year, you are way behind the power curve.
For those of you in that group, I’ve put together a list of things that you need to know about (most) women and some “do’s” and “don’t you dare’s.” I admit, this isn’t exactly an ultimate guide on Mother’s Day gifts, but these will help you get a game plan together and make your mother(s) proud of you this year.
Absolutely no domestic tools are acceptable
Kitchen gadgets are a death sentence. These include, but are not limited to hand mixers, blenders, fryers, toasters, pans, pots, cookie sheets, microwaves, cooking utensils, rolling pins, juicers, crock pots, or any “As Seen on TV” items. These items, whether you know she likes to cook or not, are a no-no. Mother’s Day is for appreciating them for being wonderful mothers. It is also a day to emphasize that you understand the role they play, sacrifices they make, and to do something nice for them. Kitchen gadgets prepare the food you eat, therefore you benefit from it more than they do. Not to mention it tells them they can spend more time in the kitchen.
Other items used around the house, like vacuums, steam cleaners, irons, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, or anything that was designed to clean while being held in one’s hand is also out.
The only acceptable exceptions to this rule are major upgrades that she has expressed desire in, namely washing machine/dryer sets, refrigerators, ovens, ranges, large mixers, and coffee pots. Dishwashers are in the grey area. Proceed with caution on those.
Flowers are almost always the right choice
Women will sometimes say that they don’t need flowers for birthdays or Mother’s Day. They will also tell you they would rather have something else instead. This is almost always a lie. Women like flowers. They are disappointed when they do not get flowers, whether they show it or not. Yes, they are indeed more expensive on Valentine’s and Mother’s Day. Don’t be a cheapskate.
Possible exceptions to this rule are allergies. That’s it. There may be a small portion of the population that truly does not like or want flowers, but they are few and far between and you will probably know from experience not to get them. When in doubt, do it.
Note: Silk flowers are never the correct choice. DON’T.
Women love hand-made things
The things that the kids make at school or daycare for their moms are sentimental and important to them. Yes, there are 1,500 other macaroni art cards, outside-the-line colored hearts, and God knows what attached to a yarn loop in a box or piled somewhere in your house right now. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room in her heart (and that drawer) for one more.
If you truly want to make an impression, have said item(s) framed. Nine out of ten times, that is what she has always intended to do with the others anyway. Also, try making something yourself. Hallmark does not always say the right thing and it isn’t in your voice. Suck it up, buttercup, and write what you feel to her. She’ll appreciate it a hell of a lot more.
Reading material is always a win
Don’t know what she reads? Maybe you should pay more attention. I’m willing to bet there are several magazines somewhere and she will always keep her favorite author close. Look for it next to somewhere comfy. It will be there for when she has a stolen moment to curl up and relax.
This is one of the only times that a gift card is acceptable. If you simply do not want to take the chance of getting the wrong thing, let her pick out her own material. No harm, no foul.
Pampering is good if done wisely
Pamper packages are popular during times like these, but you have to have all the facts. Of course, I recommend “knowing” your “mom,” but if you don’t, these general rules usually apply.
Massages – Grey area. Some women are not comfortable with their bodies or they may just be uncomfortable doing them by themselves. (If you noticed, “spa days” are often group events.) Either stay away from massages or take the kiddo somewhere for the day and set up a couple’s massage and go with her.
Manicures/waxing – She can probably do these herself or has them pre-scheduled. Don’t bother.
Pedicures – Home pedicures are messy and more work than they are worth. Sending her for a “pedi” is a win. Be sure to plan on extra just in case she wants a “mani” when she gets there. Be sure you know if she likes having her feet touched at all before getting one of these.
Breakfast in bed
If you have never tried one of these, I recommend trying—at least once. This is an almost long-lost practice. It can’t hurt to bring this one out of the bag of tricks. Have the kids help. This goes back to the hand-made conversation earlier. Don’t stay and eat unless she asks you to. Giving her some “me” time to relax and reflect (or possibly laugh) will do wonders.
Breakfast also has the least potential for damage if it gets ruined. Chances are that she doesn’t have time to eat a big meal most days anyway.
Note: DO NOT leave the dishes and mess in the kitchen. Clean up after yourself or the moment is gone forever when she’s scrubbing pancake batter off of the ceiling.
Night clothes are good choices
Women love to get comfy to go to sleep or to relax. Nightgowns or pajama sets are usually a safe choice. Try to choose calming colors over bright, loud ones. Ensure it is extremely soft. Stay away from satin (unless she likes it.)
Notice there is nothing listed above that says negligee or “sexy.” Victoria’s Secret and Adam and Eve do not make nightclothes. They make clothes to get you into bed. Unless she wants to be a mother again, remember: comfy, not sexy.
Good luck! Go get ’em!
There you have it. Seven good (or potentially life ending) choices for a great Mother’s Day gift for the mother(s) in your life. I wish you good luck and happy planning, but above all, remember that mothers are mothers 365 days of the year. One day will never be enough to repay their love and sacrifice. Show them often how much you appreciate and love them. Any Wednesday is a good day for flowers and a quiet first cup of coffee can help her get a great start to a potentially stressful day.
You most likely read Brienna McWade’s Rebuttal to this article (if not go read it—I’ll wait…). She also gives you some great pointers for Mother’s Day gifts. In the interest of maintaining a level of “expertise” in this article, (but without revealing all of our journalistic sources) all of the ideas listed above came from an interview with a 20 year veteran of motherhood—a mother (or step) of 5.
Not discounting Brienna, of course, and I want the record to state that a good, friendly debate is always welcome here, but it just goes to show that everyone has different tastes, likes, and dislikes. You can’t go wrong with knowing your special mom! I hope you get some great suggestions from Brienna’s or my article, and we welcome your suggestions on both!