A different kind of Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day soon, so out come all the adverts telling you who your mother is, what she wants, and how to show her you care.

This article on Stuff, and the comments from readers, caught my eye recently. The article scorns cheap flowers, chocolate, and brunches, and declares that what your mum wants is a new throw rug or handmade ceramics from Etsy.

There are lots of ways to show Mum you heart her.

It’s a little presumptuous to be choosing gifts for well nigh half the adult population. Mothers are a diverse lot, no matter what the ads showing the Average Kiwi Family suggest.

What if your mum didn’t want you to buy anything? What if she really, truly, honestly has all she needs, or prefers to buy her own accessories and homewares, or doesn’t want you wasting money you don’t have? Not every mother demands expensive perfumes or designer homewares. Most mothers will accept gifts in the spirit in which they are given, and are happy with anything you give them.

But why not decide this year to do something different? How about showing her your love without getting out the credit card?

Here’s a few suggestions for a very different Mother’s Day:

  1. A day off from being a mum. Ban her (she’ll be quite willing) from housework, childcare, homework, taxi runs, and making meals. Don’t just let the work pile up for her to tackle tomorrow; take over her tasks for the day.
  2. A sleep in. If you want to follow this up with breakfast in bed, tell her to txt her order to the kitchen when she’s ready. Nothing ruins a good sleep in like having it cut short, even for breakfast.
  3. Feed her. Keep it simple. If mum’s the only one who can cope in the kitchen, then a prettily arranged tray of croissants and juice for breakfast, or nicely presented takeaways for dinner, are better than creating a big, inedible mess she has to clean up after.
  4. Peace and quiet. Make yourselves scarce and give her a few hours to mooch about the house or read a book in blissful silence.
  5. Clean her car from top to bottom. This is a particularly good gift from the children who messed it up in the first place, and they can have a lot of fun in the process. Just don’t get too raucous, mum’s trying to have a nap.

If your mum is a bit older, how about:

  1. Tech support. Fix that annoying problem with her phone, upload her photos from her camera to her computer, set up that app she’s been meaning to try out, list something on Trade Me for her. No laughing at her hopeless tech skills, and absolutely no (visible) eye-rolling.
  2. Practical help. Change a hard-to-reach lightbulb, run her down to the hairdresser’s, or mow her lawns. It’s dumb stuff, but it makes a difference.
  3. A cup of tea and a chat. Instead of honouring your mother with a flying visit, full of your own concerns and worries, bring a packet of biscuits, put the kettle on, and sit down with her. Let her talk about whatever she wants, for as long as she wants.
  4. Patience. Bite your tongue when she says the same old thing that drives you nuts. If you’re going out for a meal, don’t try to hurry her out the door. Answer her questions carefully, even if this is the third time she’s asked.
  5. Words. Tell her what a great mum she is, and how much you love her. You can never say it too often.

These ideas won’t suit every family, but they don’t cost much, and they do reflect what Mother’s Day is supposed to be all about: celebrating your mother and showing you care. When you think about what she really wants, and make an effort to provide it for her, it’s worth more than a present, and lasts much longer.