by Jill Smokler
Mother's Day. That special day every May, when you show the moms in your life just how special they are to you. If you're scouring the Internet looking for the perfect gift, you've landed in the wrong place; the perfect Mother's Day gift is as individual to each mom as a fingerprint, and what makes my mom happy might make yours start looking through Craigslist for back alley hitmen. Fear not! There are, however, some things husbands and partners should not get their wife under any circumstances ...
1. Cleaning products. Nothing says, “You’re the best, Mom!” quite like a vacuum cleaner or an ironing board. Use your head, dude. Save yourself some grief and your mom or wife some resentment and do NOT buy any kind of cleaning products unless she specifically asked for it. If she's got her eye on the latest and greatest steam vacuum and has mentioned it repeatedly in that special tone of deep deep longing, then sure, by all means, go for it! Otherwise, you need to pump the brakes. On the other hand, though, if you'd like to print out some nifty little IOUs for maid service, and actually honor them, that would be a dream come true for many moms across the universe. And then there are those who would take offense at the implied insult to their housekeeping abilities. It's a gamble. Proceed with that at your own risk!
2. Tickets to a sporting event that she has zero interest in. If you want to go, then go, but don't try to pretend that it was her you had in mind when you planned this outing. You might think she's a huge Packers fan because she makes amazing appetizers and allows the living room to turn into a sports bar every time the big game is on, but chances are she's just being nice. That's what Moms do. If you can't tell the difference between a real fan and a sympathetic supporter, just skip it. (Also: fishing gear, hunting trips, golf clubs, etc.)
3. Anything that requires Mom to get up early on her special day. The top #1 thing that moms consistently confess that they want for Mother’s Day more than anything else is to be able to relax and get some sleep. No one wants to get up to a disaster zone all over the house that she will have to clean up because you thought a sunrise pancake breakfast with the kids was a great idea.
4. Cash. Who are you, her great-great uncle's second cousin's niece, twice removed? You know she won’t spend that cash on herself. If you really feel all that strongly that she needs to pick out her own gift, at least make it a gift card to somewhere she likes.
5. Air (i.e. nothing). It’s one day a year. You know exactly what day, time, and channel the Super Bowl will be on. You can’t set a calendar alert or put up a Post-It note for Mother’s Day? Here's a hint for future reference: It's the second Sunday in May. Every year. Even on Leap Year. Here's another hint: Don't wait until the night before, or the morning of, and then think you're going to run right out and grab something. That never works out well, and Mom can tell. Something is better than nothing, I guess, but try to remember, okay? Don't make her feel like an obligation. (See also: Excuses.)
6. Excuses. “I wanted to ---, but ---” You’d be better off acting like you forgot than offering pitiful excuses as to why you weren’t able to do all the marvelous things you planned. This is not said to hurt your feelings, but honestly, it's the voice of experience talking. Your grand plan details that fell through don't need to be shared. Because chances are she'll smile and nod and hug you anyway, but in the back of her mind, it'll sound exactly like what it is -- an excuse for why you couldn't get your shit together one day a year.
Now get shopping!
Yes, yes any gift is precious. Now tell us what you REALLY don't want!