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Really Bad Ideas For Mother’s Day


It’s the week before Mother’s Day, which means the marketing machines are grinding away at full speed. Every single shopping-related website I’ve visited lately has jumped on the Mother’s Day bandwagon, offering suggestions for how people should use their products to express their love to Mom.

Some of the ideas are good ones, of course. Comfy pajamas, gift cards to the bookstore or for take-out, personalized jewelry -- moms love this stuff.

But some of the ideas I’ve seen offered up?


With suggestions abounding for what moms want, I thought I’d offer my own list of things moms generally don’t want. (What can I say? I’m a mom. Telling people what not to do is what I live for.)

1. Language tutorial software. I’m not kidding -- one of my favorite shopping sites has been running an ad for language-learning software this week, with the suggestion that you can “help Mom learn Spanish on the go.” Really? First of all, Mom probably doesn’t have any extra mental energy for learning Spanish, because she’s been too busy re-learning algebra so she can help with the homework. Secondly, the software costs nearly $400, and that would cover a heck of a lot of a curb-side carryout. I’d steer clear of the Spanish-learning software, unless there’s a plane ticket to a Mexican beach taped to the back of the box.

2. Swimsuit.
Yes, I saw this one as a suggestion this week as well. Pssst, kids, come closer for a little advice…once upon a time, your mom did not shriek in horror at the thought of swimsuit shopping. But that was a long time ago, before your sweet little growing body did bizarre things to her abdomen. Of course, it was entirely worth it, but let’s not rub salt in the wound. Along those lines…

3. Gym memberships or exercise equipment. If I have to explain myself on this one, then there is no hope for humanity.

4. Blenders, toasters, vacuums, etc. The exception to this would be if Mom specifically asks for it, but a good rule of thumb would be that if it requires plugging in, don’t buy it. Unless it’s the recharging pack for a robotic personal assistant who can do the laundry, in which case, I’ll taketwo, please.

Just for fun, I threw out the question on Twitter, to see what other moms had to say. KingdomMama suggested you might not want to give birth control (although MandyConforth reports she did ask for a vasectomy one year). NatalieWitcher thinks you should steer cleer of power tools (see rule 4, above), and Ogladi thinks you shouldn’t give her a parenting book. A few others were a little more specific, with 1StopMom advising against “candy that you don't even like that your husband should know about,” and WhitneyArcher discouraging “candles that smell like bathroom cleaners.” Not that they’re speaking from experience, or anything.

I can’t speak for every mom, of course, but I know the simpler, more meaningful gifts are the ones I love the most. Breakfast in bed, a handwritten note from a child, an inexpensive handful of flowers (preferably not from my flower bed, please?) -- we love those things. We really do. Most of us signed up for this motherhood gig knowing that the job itself is the reward.

What about you? What suggestions would you add to the list of Mother’s Day Gifts To Avoid At All Costs?

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