With Mother’s Day around the corner, you’re likely being bombarded with advertisements for holiday-related sales and suggestions for the perfect gift and advice on what “every mom wants this year.” It’s all very lovely and well-intentioned — of course mothers deserve a day of gifts and special treatment! — except that moms might be the most notoriously difficult-to-shop-for demographic on the planet. Ask a mom what she wants and she’ll tell you nothing, but is it true? What does a mom mean when she says she already has everything?
First of all, she’s probably lying. (But don’t be offended; it’s for your own good, she thinks.) Because there’s always something a mom wouldn’t mind receiving at any given point in time, whether it’s a practical kind of present that she can use forever (like one of those pretty new Kitchen-Aid mixers) or a one-time-only, splurge-worthy experience (like a day at the spa). Why won’t she just come right out and ask? As a mom-of-three, I have a hard time getting comfortable with the idea of accepting gifts from my children for multiple reasons, and I suspect lots of other moms feel the same way. (This of course does not apply to any Mother’s Day gifts brought home from art class or picked from the backyard, which are literally priceless.) In fact, most years, I’m not in the market for a traditional “gift” at all… because what I really want, you can’t buy in a store. (And I know I’m not alone on this one, either.)
These are just some of the things moms like me might mean when they say they already have everything they could ever possibly want or need.
“You have no money”
Unless your kids are teenagers and have jobs of their own (and sometimes even then), kids usually need money (from you) to buy a present (for you). Giving your kid money to fund your own gift is fine, I guess, but when you add in a specific request it feels less like a gift and more like something you asked somebody to pick up at the store for you — useful, but not particularly festive. Then again, without any guidance who knows what your kid will get… even with the help of your partner. The end result is often a gift you never would have worn, eaten, or used if your child hadn’t picked it out for you… and bought using money you would have preferred to spend on something else. Somehow the whole thing feels like a perfect metaphor for motherhood in general, doesn’t it?
“You can’t buy what I want in a store”
You know what’s been at the top of my Mother’s Day wish list for the past 18 years? A nap. Just a nap, just a couple of measly hours to myself in a a quiet room with pillows and blankets and nobody trying to pry my eyelids open with their fingers or calling “Mom, are you awake? Mom!! Are you awake now??” And do you know what I never get for Mother’s Day? A %#$@!&* nap. I’m not sure why this is, though it might be that my family thinks I’m half kidding with this particular request… I am not, dear reader. I am not.
“For the love of God, I don’t want another necklace that’s not my style/dress that doesn’t fit/box of chocolates I don’t like”
I blame these gifts on misleading marketing and pushy salespeople. Ah, the “lady at the store” said this bracelet is so popular she can’t keep it in stock? This bathrobe that’s two sizes too small was half off for Mother’s Day? It can be tough to stay on task with so many distracting, oftentimes conflicting messages coming from all over the place… which is why you so often end up with whatever was most prominently placed in a given store’s Mother’s Day display.
“Please, let’s drop the brunch charade this year”
Ah, Mother’s Day brunch! What a lovely idea! Sitting down to a delicious meal that someone else cooked, and you don’t even have to wash the dishes at the end! Except, of course, you’re probably going to spend most of the time balancing a kid on your lap while trying to get bites of omelet from your plate to your mouth or using a cloth napkin to cover up while you breastfeed or reminding bigger kids to use their fork, not their fingers when eating scrambled eggs. Those Bellinis better be bottomless, is all I can say.
None of this is meant to sound ungrateful, obviously; it’s just a silly holiday, and my personal M.O. re: holidays is to keep expectations as low as possible, because they almost never go according to plan. Still, low expectations or not, I don’t technically have everything I need.
I really *do* need a nap.