Mother’s Day is coming. Actually, it is really here. You have a few short days to decide what to do for your mom, or your wife (or both!). Sure, we could have taken our usual route with holidays. The guide…where to eat, what to buy, how to make her feel special that one day out of the year when we are supposed to make mothers feels special – yada yada. But, from one mom out there…pour a cup of coffee or tea, and let’s have a good heart-to-heart, shall we?
On Eating Out – THE LOWDOWN. Hey, I get it. I love to eat out. No shopping, no prep work, no cooking and no cleaning up, so what could be better, right? But, on this one day, guess what? I hate it. You need a reservation everywhere, except perhaps Mickey D’s or Taco Bell (and I am talking about the drive-thru, guys!). Everyone and their sister takes mom out for Mother’s Day! Restaurants are crowded and loud, and often you feel rushed as you see other people waiting for the reservation they made for the table you are seated at. There are limited menus in some venues (yes, I rhymed on purpose), and they run out of “specials” rather quickly. Sure, in some places you get a rose, or some other flower. But we will address that in a few paragraphs. Plus, mom cannot go in sweats. Often, you go someplace rather fancy, and “getting dressed” is required. Oy! I do that every day, you want me to do it when I am supposed to be relaxing? Can’t I just stay in pajamas ONE day?
THE TIP: Let me give you my opinion, which is also based on a small survey taken among friends. We want a peaceful meal. And…I bet that many of us would LOVE for you to cook it! Sure, it can be scrambled eggs or pancakes in bed (but then we have to clean the bed…so really, the table will do), or a plate of spaghetti, or a burger (translation: we don’t care). It means so much more when you make an effort to shop, prepare, cook and clean. It says “hey, since it’s your day, mom…let me take the TIME to cook you something special”, because in my book and the book of many a mother, food equals love. Maybe it is the Italian goddess in me, or the foodie – whatever. But it is so much more meaningful to know that husband/daughter/son have given good thought to what you want to eat, and have put blood, sweat and tears into it (just not too much salt, or red pepper please!). Plus, for me anyway, it warms my heart to see my husband and kids in the kitchen. The kitchen is the hub of all life, the place of all places, the warmth of the home, the Mount Olympus of the mother-gods. Watching my family cook together is like watching a philharmonic orchestra create music from many instruments. And hey, if you should happen to bake cookies or a cake too – well then, gold stars for life!!
On Spa Gift Certificates – THE LOWDOWN. Many a year and for many an occasion, I have received a gift certificate to a spa. They have come from co-workers, friends and family. They have been to spas that are local and convenient. They have been for manicures, and pedicures…and yes, the ever-popular seaweed body wrap (hello! the only thing I want wrapped in seaweed is sushi!). And, when I was single, or married without children, they were sometimes welcome and used. But, in the days of working, side-editing, taxiing children, monitoring homework, volunteering at school and on the softball field (feel free to insert soccer, football, baseball, tee-ball, cage-fighting, etc.), I can honestly say that I vouch for many a harried mom in letting you know that we are grateful for that certificate, but when the heck do we have time for a one-hour Swedish Massage with Iryna?? If you can get her to come to the house between load one and load seven of the dark colors in the washing machine, then maybe. But, really…save your hard earned money.
THE TIP: Ok, don’t tell anyone, but when I was pregnant with my second child, and on bed rest, my husband used to paint my toes. Shhhhh! Sort of like in the food situation, you got this! You can “take one for the team”, and break out the polish! Or, get some massage oil, and get to work (um, really…that one is for the spouses or life-partners). I love it when me and my daughter have “manicure” time at home. It is a chance for us to chat…without the “bzzzzzz” of a dremel in the nail salon, or the smell or whatever chemical someone is gluing to their nail beds. Of course, if you absolutely HAVE to give a spa certificate, you must also include a “certificate” for free time / child care, so mom can actually get to the spa and not have to worry about who is with the kids, etc. And…chances are, if we HAVE time to get to the spa, it will be on the fly, and we will pay for it ourselves.
On Flowers – THE LOWDOWN. Flowers are predictable, and on certain holidays (like that day for Cupid and Hallmark), they are expected. What fun is in getting flowers, if you know you are going to get them?
THE TIP. If you must give mom flowers, do it at an unexpected time. How about on Flag Day? Or…on Wednesday? Or, any day that she WON’T expect you to surprise her with flowers? Then, you get double kudos. By surprising mom or your wife with flowers on an ordinary day, she will know that you appreciate her all year long, rather than on just one designated day, and she will be pleasantly surprised! Or, instead of flowers, plant something every year on Mother’s Day to remind her that, by virtue of her giving life to you, you recognize it by giving life to something else that will grow. Maybe a stretch in that analogy, but I kinda like it…rather poetic of me.
On Household Items – THE LOWDOWN AND THE TIP. Never. Ever, ever, ever. The ONLY exception is something that might be consistent with a hobby of hers – such as a Juki Serger Sewing Machine Model MO644D, or a set of paints, etc. NO blender, NO vacuum, NO washer/dryer combo with computer board, not even that fancy schmancy Panini Press. Never. ‘Nuff said.
On the “WOW” gift – THE LOWDOWN. Ok, I will admit, this gets dicey. It is controversial territory. Some women feed off the “wow” gift, and some women could care less. In these times, everyone is feeling the economy, and normally I might admit that I would really LOVE me a good, old fashioned Louis Vuitton bag, or pair of diamond studs. However…in recent times, I have come to appreciate the greater gifts in life. I think most of you can relate, and this is where I might actually get serious.
The Tip. If it is completely within your means, and you know for sure she has been jonesing for whatever it is she has been jonesing for, then get that “wow” gift. But, keep a few things in mind. In doing so, try to patronize some of your local, small retailers. The mom and pop jewelers, apparel, and accessories stores that line the Main Streets of the towns of Westchester. By doing so, you will not only ensure that the Mom in your life gets a fabulous gift, but that the Moms that have a hand in these stores are able to keep their doors open. If it is outside your means, then you have tons of options. Making the decision to become a mother came from her heart and soul. She pours her life into it every day, and with every action. A hand-made gift, card…and even just the smaller gestures I outlined above will warm her all over, and will let her know that she is appreciated every minute of every day that she walks this earth as a mother. Have the kids make her a macaroni necklace. If you are 4 or 40, you can still make something for mom. Or just spend the day together…you can take a walk with her, or sit quietly on the Sound Shore, admiring the Long Island shoreline in the distance. Take a ride up-county, or even play a round of golf with her on one of the local public courses. Head into Mahattan, and get lost in a museum. Find out what drives her, and well…drive her.
The bottom line is this. Mothers just want to be loved. Our lives are hectic these days, and our roles are blurred, and not so defined. Sometimes we feel like furniture, so show us how much we are truly appreciated. Love and respect the Grandmothers too, for they have much wisdom to impart to us all…so don’t leave them out.
This editor would like to take the opportunity, on behalf of Westchester Happening, to wish all the moms out there a VERY Happy Mother’s Day! May all your dreams, however big or small, come true! (and…if anyone is listening – can you tell hubs about that Juki Sewing Machine?? thanks, wink, wink!)