It’s springtime, which means that Mother’s Day is coming soon. In case you forgot that it’s that time again, there are plenty of ads everywhere—on the radio, popping up on your browser, and in the aisles of your local drugstore—to remind you of the festivities.
Generally speaking, it’s been a rough year or so for moms. Frankly, being a mom is hard enough without having to contend with a global pandemic and the uncertainty it visited on the world. The COVID-19 pandemic was an actual plague, and it was hard on everyone, regardless of whether they have kids or not. That being said, evidence shows that the pandemic has been unequivocally harder for parents, especially for moms, and especially for moms who are also in marginalized communities. So much so that the New York Times’ podcast The Daily recently aired an episode entitled ‘The Agony of Pandemic Parenting.’
It’s not for the faint of heart.
That’s why it’s a bit of a drag to see listicles flooding the internet and advising folks to buy jewelry and chocolates for your mom. Considering that the coronavirus has brought what Forbes calls a ‘mass exodus of women’ from the workforce it’s ludicrous to think that a nice necklace is what we need right now. With that in mind, here’s a more useful listicle—four gifts you shouldn’t get for Mother’s Day, along with what you can consider instead.
1. Instead of fancy jewelry, give the gift of a quiet afternoon.
Let’s be real, here. If you get a beautiful necklace or some stunning diamond earrings, it’ll just sit in her jewelry box untouched. Us parents haven’t been able to have a quiet moment to ourselves in many, many months; we’re not attending any big galas any time soon.
Are you vaccinated? If so, consider offering the mom in your life an afternoon or evening of childcare, free of charge, so that she can wear the jewelry she already has to get out of the house. Maybe she’ll drink a cup of coffee in the park, or take a walk, or spend some time with her partner. Whatever she chooses to do, she doesn’t need precious gemstones to do it.
2. In lieu of potted plants, maybe a bouquet in a vase.
Let me tell you one thing that the mom you love doesn’t need—one more thing to worry about. Even the very simplest plant to care for needs some care. Unless you’re also offering to be in charge of watering and misting these plants, maybe just don’t get them.
A lovely bouquet is acceptable, though, and will be even more appreciated if you take the time to think about which flowers the recipient loves best. While pink roses are traditional for Mother’s Day, it could be nice to get something a little more colorful. Extra points if the bouquet comes with a vase so that she doesn’t even need to arrange them!
3. What’s better than a meal-kit? A gift card for take-out!
Some people love to cook, and even find it relaxing. For these moms, a meal-kit subscription might actually be a good gift. At the same time, it’s important to know your audience. If the person you’re buying for doesn’t like to cook, dressing it up in a fancy package will not make that better.
You know what the person who doesn’t like to cook wants? A gift card for DoorDash, Uber Eats, or Seamless. Actually, even the mom in your life who thinks cooking is great is probably tired of it by now, and would be really happy to get a gift card for ordering in. After all, when you order in you don’t have to do any dishes.
4. That snazzy new mop? Not the way to go.
I cannot stress this enough. Even if the shopping channel or a sponsored Instagram story promises you that this is the great new cleaning tool the mom in your life needs—they are lying. No one wants a gift that reminds them of the chores that they have to do, whether it’s a mop, a vacuum cleaner, or some cool closet organizers.
Instead, consider getting a gift that is the antithesis of chores—a basket of self-care items. Face masks, bath bombs, a fluffy robe, and new slippers are all great options. Moms everywhere have been doing the ultimate juggling act for months. Give the gift that offers an opportunity to put down all the juggling paraphernalia and rest for a moment.
Mother’s Day is an opportunity for celebration. Instead of getting the gifts that our various apps would have us believe are best, let’s take a second to actually think about what the person you’re buying for wants and needs. The best gift is the kind that someone needs, but wouldn’t buy for themselves. Ask yourself what fits that description, and don’t buy something frivolous just for show. The mom in your life will thank you for it.
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