I like to think I’m a pretty low-maintenance gift-receiver. I require nothing more than a card and a ridiculously cheap box of chocolate on Valentine’s Day (someone has to keep Hallmark and Whitman’s samplers in business). For my birthday, I relish some simple, yet sincere praise for the art of having been born. And for my wedding anniversary I enjoy being thanked profusely by my husband for marrying him (I’m blushing; you’re welcome again, honey).
Mother’s Day is kind of up there with Valentine’s Day in that I don’t need much, but my demands are pretty specific. However, they’re most accurately measured by what I don’t want as opposed to what is acceptable, such as:
• No coupons
This includes IOUs for the completion of future tasks around the house that you should just be doing anyway. Like, it’s not a gift to me when you clean up our storage area; it’s what you’re supposed to be doing all along. This also — and pay close attention here — includes gift certificates. The only way a gift certificate works as a gift is if you also make the appointment for me to get the pedicure, massage or child-free meal and then make sure someone is watching the kids so I can make my escape without worrying about who is feeding, watering and Band-Aiding the young savages.
• No supermarket flowers
Supermarket flowers exist for those times when you just happen to be thinking of me and wanted to tell me in a sweet, thoughtful little everyday kind of way that I rock (or rule) your world. Like, supermarket flowers are the perfect gesture for when you hung up on me in the middle of the day and then realized later that it’s not my fault I made you mad. When they are overwhelmingly inappropriate, on the other hand, is when you’re trying to say, “Thanks for carrying around these little hellions in your uterus for nine months and then allowing them to pee on you one day only to discover the next day that one of them inexplicably deposited poop in that corner of the closet under the stairs we previously believed no human could actually fit.”
• No brunch
I’m not a breakfast person, and breakfast comprises a whole half of brunch. Whether you were planning on cooking it (while I pretend not to be horrified about what you’re doing to the kitchen that I will, in some fashion, be responsible by default for cleaning for days afterward) or we go to a restaurant that sticks us with an overpriced version of the same menu it has every other day while I’m stuck trying to figure out what our older daughter will actually eat (unless you know for certain they will make spaghetti with red sauce at 9 a.m.), let’s skip it.
• No wet envelopes
As in, get me a card, but make sure you fill it out and seal it in the envelope more than 30 seconds prior to handing it to me. A wet envelope tells me you couldn’t be bothered to write “Dear Meredith” and then sign your name at any other time besides right before walking in the room to hand it to me. It also tells me you don’t think I think about the moist germs that are living on the envelope’s edge, and that tells me you never really knew me at all.
• No knickknacks
Don’t buy me those little knickknacks, doodads or “perfect Mother’s Day gifts” that you find in the store on the counter next to the cash register. If the store can’t find a good place to put them, chances are, neither can I.
• No appliances
Do I really need to tell you that I don’t want anything for the house? Don’t get me anything for the house. If I need a vacuum cleaner or a blender, it’s because I need it — I don’t want it. This isn’t 1952. I’m not June Cleaver. I don’t enjoy vacuuming or blending, no matter how cool and functional the devices are (dads like gadgets, not moms). Get me things I want, please, not things that make me feel like Alice, the “Brady Bunch” maid. However, I wouldn’t mind Alice’s blue dress. You know, for next Halloween.
• No books
Don’t get me a book. If you do, it’s just another reminder of one more thing I have no time for. And that makes me sad. I like books. Correction: I liked books. I have two kids younger than 4. Who has time to read? Also, remember when you got me that Kindle? Well, when you buy me an actual book, it’s a reminder that you can’t remember what else you’ve bought me.
• No extra time with the kids
I get time with my kids all day, every day. Every. Single. Day. I love them and all, but telling them we’re having a special day usually just means special kinds of tantrums. All. Day. Long. It’s a nice thought to have extra special time with my offspring on a day that’s celebrating them becoming my offspring, but I’d like to politely decline anyway.
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