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Is It Really the 'Thought That Counts'?

Lucy scours the web and finds some interesting Mother's Day gifts.

 

Like all things in life, change is inevitable, no matter how much we resist. Mother’s Day is no different.

When the kids were little, I got the cutest gifts. Macaroni pictures on paper plates, homemade cards, or a gift certificate book that promised things like “I’ll clean my room,” or “good for 10 hugs.” All were produced with huge smiles and anxious faces. They watched my face to be sure I loved it; boy, did I.

Now that they’re older, I think I’d be a little concerned if they presented me with a necklace made of buttons. Not totally surprised, but a little nervous about what type of human I’d unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

After hearing that according to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend just shy of $19 billion (yes, billion, with a “B”) for Mother’s Day, I had to know what they were spending it on. According to the federation, 83 percent will give mom a greeting card, and about 66 percent will gift her with flowers.

But where was the rest of the money being spent? I went to the trusty world wide web to see what today’s modern mom might get this year. I found some options that, in my view, fall into the “What NOT to give” category. I’ve compiled a few I saw online, as well as a few of my very own helpful suggestions.

One of those overstock type stores is having a huge Mother’s Day sale – on self- help books. Because what mother doesn’t want to find out that her child thinks she needs to work on herself? And if she’s divorced, and really, really mad at her ex, then the book, “I Used to Miss Him, But My Aim is Improving” might seem like you’re giving your blessing to, er, well, do all manner of illegal things. You don’t want to visit mom in jail next Mother’s Day, do you?

Along that vein, if your mom’s a bad cook, chances are she knows it. And even if she doesn’t, handing her a book entitled, “Recipes even YOU can’t mess up” is rubbing salt in the wound. You’re supposed to love your mother.

If your mom is a yoga fiend, and has been dropping hints like B-29 Super fortress bombshells that she wants a new pair of yoga pants, by all means, get them for her. However, if your mom is like me and my friends, receiving a pair of sweat pants, size XXL, will send us crying into our rooms for the rest of the day. Even if they’re pink with sequins. The same goes for any kind of work out equipment no matter how new and awesome. Gym membership also falls into that category.

While some moms may really want Botox injections, don’t give her a gift certificate for them. Most women want to keep that kind of thing private, so that when people ask what our secret is, we can just smile and say something dumb like, “good genes.” I personally haven’t had that done – yet.

A truly unnerving ad I saw was for lingerie. If that even entered your mind, there’s really not much more to say than, “eeww!” Well, that and you need to go see a shrink. No, really, go – now!

Another gift to avoid, unless again, she specified that she wants one, is any kind of house cleaning appliance. They’re a gift for another day. Yes, even if her vacuum cleaner just exploded and turned into a fireball. And dust rags are just tacky.

Moms want to be taken out for dinner. Bringing over a few raw steaks, a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, and a bag of frozen dinner rolls is not the same thing. And getting her a bucket of chicken (even with the tiny chocolate cake) doesn’t qualify either.

All silliness aside, most moms will be happy with just about anything you give her, including a bucket of chicken. Well, except for the lingerie; that still qualifies as icky. To us, homemade gifts and cards are every bit as valuable as the Hope diamond, because they come from our child.

Some moms are watching their child’s first steps, listening to their first words, or using the magic of a mother’s kiss to make boo boos better. Moms like me are worrying about driver’s licenses, broken hearts and challenging exams. And other moms have children that left the nest. Change comes, and if we’re smart, we’ll enjoy each of these stages of our children’s lives, rather than lamenting the passing of each phase.

The one thing I can guarantee you, though: Moms want one precious thing, time with their kids. As life changes, moms cherish the memories that have been made with her most prized possession – her children. So if you’re wondering what to give your mom this Mother’s Day, how about an afternoon spent making another memory. A memory that she’ll tuck away in her heart and cherish forever.

Kathie Butler Hart May 07, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Spot on!
Irene Lennon May 07, 2012 at 12:15 PM
What a wonderful article. It was both touching & funny and so true. Loved it. You have a real talent for writing.
Tamara Kells May 07, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Thank you so much, Irene, Kathie, Jim & Chris!
earndoggy May 07, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Nice one, Tam! This fat body of mine has not seen anything REMOTELY resembling a negligee and I plan to keep it that way! (^_^)
Michelle Hazlett May 08, 2012 at 01:19 AM
That was wonderful and true. I love the homemade gifts and the cards but being with my boys and hearing them laugh and giggle is enough present for me...oh, and when they say I Love You Mommy! Those are the BEST 4 words in the world to me.

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