Making the most of Mother's Day
OHbaby! encourage you to think outside the box this Mother's Day.
Mothers come in many forms. Grandmothers, great grandmothers, mother-in-laws, step-mothers, surrogate mothers, biological mothers, illogical mothers…to name a few. Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to recognise and honour all of these wonderful women. But this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Before you shoot off to the mall or bust out the craft box I urge you to pause and do a little thinking and probing, to ensure your time and money is well spent, and well received.
A little thinking:
In Gary Chapman’s 1995 book The Five Love Languages he theorises that we each have one primary and one secondary love language: gift giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. He proposes that people naturally tend to give love in the way they prefer to receive love. Take a moment to consider if your previous Mother’s Day gifts have actually revolved around your own love language instead of hers. How does the mother you’re intending to treat actually give and receive love?
A little probing:
Mother’s Day means different things to different people, and there are a large variety of ideas out there on how it should be observed. My father has always been quite vocally opposed to the consumerism caught up in these celebrations, so growing up we knew giving him anything more than a homemade card for Father’s Day would be more of an insult than a blessing. To some mothers, it’s all about the gift. To other mothers it’s more about the opportunity for some ‘me time’, and her expectation is that her family will rally around to take care of her needs. Other mothers expect Mother’s Day to be a family affair. It’s well worth making a few enquiries to understand not just your mother’s expectations in terms of gifts, but how they’d like to spend the day. Your best efforts can go sadly unappreciated if you’re not on the same page.
Wine and chocolate. This is probably as close to a one-size-fits-all present as you’re going to get. If the mother is pregnant, obviously leave out the wine (but double the chocolate quantity to make up for it!) If you don’t know their favourite wine or chocolate, try and find out. She’ll love it if you’re really speaking her language.
Flowers or a plant. Excuse my lack of romanticism, but flowers soon die. Most women would probably rather you pick up some reasonably priced flowers – or better still, gather some wild flowers – than arrange for a plethora of exotic rarities to be delivered to the door, because all that extra money could have been spent on a present that actually lasts. Plants generally last longer than flowers, so that’s a good option, but don’t give her extra work – plant it yourself if it needs planting, or, and put someone else in charge of the watering, if it’s a house plant.
A homemade painting will always touch a mother’s heart, no matter how old their ‘child’ is. But go a little bit further. Frame it and hang it for her, or if it’s not quite frame-worthy, pop some magnets in with the gift so it can take pride of place on the fridge.
Recreate a childhood photo. If you and your siblings have flown the nest your mother is bound to be chuffed with a recreation of one of your well-known childhood photos. Get yourselves into the same location, source similar clothes to what you were wearing in the original photo, and reenact the scenario. A wig may even be order. There are plenty examples online to get you in the mood, and you’ll see just how humorous the results can be.
Breakfast in bed. Make this a little more special with some hand picked flowers, and homemade vouchers on the side of the tray for little things that children can do, like bringing her a drink, snack or a hug. Even better, give her a bell to keep by her bed that comes with a promise attached: when she rings it, someone will come running.
Art supplies or a journal and beautiful pens or pencils. It may be just that extra little bit of encouragement she needs to have some time out expressing herself.
A magazine, or if you can, push it to a subscription. There’s a magazine for just about every taste or season of life. If they have a baby or young children you can’t go wrong with OHbaby! Magazine.
A ticket to a concert/show. Especially if your mother is not in the position to get out much usually. If this is because of children, go the extra mile and organise and pay for the babysitter as well.
A voucher for her favourite restaurant/café/winery. Even better if the venue is remote so the whole experience also involves a ferry/plane ticket or an overnight stay!
A perfume. You don’t need to be a perfume connoisseur to get this right. You could do some detective work to find her favourite brand, but if she doesn’t usually use perfume it’s not necessarily a sign she doesn’t like it, she may not have had the luxury of affording it.
Jewellery. But play it safe when choosing a style, and ensure it’s exchangeable. Take note whether she seems to have a preference for gold, silver or platinum, and whether she’s more likely to wear a bracelet, necklace or earrings.
A Westfield voucher. Let’s be honest. The chances of you buying your mother/kid’s mother an item of clothing that is both her style and size is quite slim. Avoid that awkward too-big-too small-what-were-you-thinking scenario, and give her the pick of a mall instead.
A final word of caution. Unless your mother is straight out of the 1950s, don’t give her something that implies her identity is inextricably linked to the domestic. I’ve heard people suggest that even pyjamas and slippers can be risky in this regard, in that they could be construed to imply her time is spent mooching around. If you’re a mother yourself, prone to feeling a little misunderstood on Mother’s Day, consider dropping a few carefully worded hints to your kids and partner as the approaches, pointing them in the right direction, and planting a few ideas. Some of us may need to be a little more direct; I’ll be printing out this article and leaving it lying around.