For people lucky enough to have a mom to give a Mother’s Day gift to, the honor of celebrating that mom can be daunting. What present can you give the woman who birthed or adopted you that appropriately repays her all that she’s done for you? How do you say thanks to that? Annually?
(For all of you not in the know, Mother’s Day rolls around this year on May 8th. That’s this Sunday, so there’s no time to waste.)
In an unofficial, possibly fictional poll of moms nationwide, mothers overwhelmingly voted for a subscription to a monthly wine club.
But forget all that. Seriously, your mom really just wants to know you’re thinking of her. Every day. Fortunately, some of you are, at least according to the 2012 “Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults” by authors Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Ph.D., and Joseph Schwab. The poll suggested that 55 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 stay in contact with their parents daily or nearly every day via text, email, phone, or in person. Another study from 2014 found that parents’ relationships with their children improved with the more means of communication they utilized, including instant messaging, video calls, social networking, and even parent-baffling applications like Snapchat.
So maybe you’ve got that going for you heading into Mother’s Day this year, which I’m calling “Mother’s Day 2016: The Showdown. The Letdown. The Help-Me-Down-I’m-Stuck-on-This-Ladder.”
“The Showdown”: Because this day has become an annual tournament between you and your siblings – and sometimes Dad – to out-gift everyone else.
“The Letdown”: Because your sister inevitably wins said tournament – that overachieving brat.
“The… Ladder”: Because sometimes you get stuck up there. Sometimes your laptop has to be droned up to you so you can finish writing a thing due Monday. Just saying. (Send food.)
What Should You Get Your Mom?
Call her. Let me repeat that in case you missed it the first time. Call her. If you also want to send her a gift and a card, do so. (If you want to get her something last minute, might we recommend Beachbody On Demand where she can stream hundreds of workouts?) She’ll appreciate those as well. But what she really wants is for you to let her know you’re thinking of her and that you hope she’s having a fantastic existence despite your ongoing shenanigans.
Just be careful what you say. Because, you know, sometimes when your mouth opens, it says things that ought not to be said. Hold your tongue – literally if you have to.
What Not to Say When You Call Your Mom
– Any variation on the “send money” theme, such as “I would’ve sent a gift, but I can’t even cover my rent” or “For Mother’s Day, I’d like to give you the opportunity to pay my phone bill” or “I’m soooo hungry.”
– Anything about your sex life – ever. TMI for the mom. She may say she wants to know, but unless she’s Dr. Ruth Westheimer, she’s lying – or she’ll use the information against you at a later date.
– “How’s Dad?” Not the time. As you try to sign off of the call, she may summon some feigned shock and ask, “Don’t you want to know how your father is?” To which, you get to reply, “I called for you, Mom” – and watch those mom-points rack up. Dad won’t care. He knows the score.
– If your parents are divorced, she may try the whole, “Have you spoken to your father recently?” Do not take the bait. Reply with a moratorium on talk of all things Dad: “Let’s not discuss him today – it’s your day.” She can’t argue with that. If she tries to force the issue, one stern “Mom” should end that portion of the conversation.
– Similarly, politics is also off-limits.
If your Mother’s Day call in any way becomes tense or heated, redirect to gossiping about your siblings or her siblings. Mom will eat up your empathy with a spoon and will be delighted you took the time to reach out.
Just call your mom already. Wish her a happy Mother’s Day. And mean it. You can thank us later.