As a mother, I peruse the plethora of Mother’s Day catalogues delivered to the house with gusto, writes Melinda Uys, of the United States of Mama. Yes, I’d love a fluffy white jumper (dirty in minutes), or a shiny new toaster (so I can make everyone else toast every morning) or even some kind of pain inducing hair removal appliance. Apart from being pretty expensive, impractical or just a little insulting, there are lots of other gifts most mothers would prefer.
My favourite breakfasts are the ones I get to eat in bed without fear of coffee or pieces of croissant getting into the uncleanable middle layer of my mattress. So maybe the best thing to do for mum would be to have the kids carry in her gourmet breakfast, give her a kiss, plop down the paper/magazine/TV remote and LEAVE HER ALONE. Or even better still, take those 5am-waking devil-children out of the house to some market where you can purchase a wonderfully organic, sustainably sourced breakfast and if they’re fresh out of that, a Bacon & Egg McMuffin so a) there’s no mess at your house and most importantly b) mum gets a sleep in.
For a mother, there is nothing more delightful than spending an ENTIRE day with her children. Especially when she hasn’t had to be with them every minute of the day, day in, day out. This is my one genuine and repetitive request every Mother’s Day – some alone time. It might be at breakfast (as mentioned above) or a walk on the beach by myself, or even a little wander through the shops to peruse all the Mother’s Day stuff on sale without requests for Shopkins or Tonka trucks. The opposite is clearly the case for those mums with grown-up children; they don’t want to miss a minute of the time you’ve set aside for them.
I think lunch at a restaurant on Mother’s Day is a little overrated because of all the other families out trying to have a good time with ratty children who’ve been up since 5am, but I’m a bit of a lunching grinch like that. If you’ve plied her with baked goods in bed in the morning, why not suggest an early dinner at a favourite café or restaurant instead? This way you avoid the children’s witching hour, the crowds, and if you’re lucky, can dine as the sun sets. Alternatively, spend some time organising a lovely, well thought out lunch at home for her in such a way that she needs do nothing. You can also knock out a few birds with one stone by inviting any other mother types you need to consider and have one big lunch for grandparents, aunties etc. The kids need to wash up, obviously.
Every mother on Earth, when presented with a gift on Mother’s Day, will inexorably exclaim her absolute delight no matter how wonky, shoddy, unhelpful or ugly the gift might be. We do this because we’re such amazingly beautiful people who, more than anything, don’t want to disappoint or sadden our children. To that end, if you are purchasing a gift, try and find something your mother is passionate about, would find beautiful or wouldn’t buy for herself. Floral pyjamas, and come to think of it the vast majority of items in a Mother’s Day Catalogue, probably don’t fall into this category.
Overall, the most important thing to remember is that Mother’s Day is about providing mums with something they don’t usually get- recognition. This recognition can take many different forms, but mothering is about loving. So show some love, at the very least a phone call, and definitely NOT a piece of burnt toast and lukewarm tea.