“I’ll always love my moma, she’s my baby girl.
I’ll always love my moma, she brought me in this world.”
“I’ll Always Love My Moma”
The Intruders, 1973
For practically everyone, those words ring as true today as they did when they blared out of the radio some 43 years ago. Mom is usually the second person to grasp your little newborn body (besides the doctor, of course) and the attachment formed in just those few seconds will usually last a lifetime. With Mother’s Day upon us this Sunday, we take this yearly opportunity to say thank you to the person who was there when we took our first steps, said our first words, attended our first day of school, kissed and soothed our scrapes and scars, and proudly watched and nurtured us as we grew.
In our formative years, most of us remember hearing “Kids in Africa don’t have peas. Eat them now.” Or, “If everyone jumped off a building, would you do it, too?” You may remember, “For God’s sake, turn that racket down. Nothing but ‘babuh, babuh, babuh!’” And lest we forget, “Wait until you have children, you’ll see.” No, you shouldn’t wait until one day in May to say “I love you, mom,” but because the holiday hosts enormous sentimentality, you cannot let the day go by without awarding mom with something special. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, but most children—particularly those just starting out in the work world—will sacrifice and find the extra cash to fete mom on her special day. Most moms may respond with “Thank you, but you shouldn’t have done this” often meaning that she knows your early paycheck doesn’t warrant such a splurge, but it’s for mom and nothing’s too good for her.
Flowers always a great gift
The sentiment behind Mother’s Day has not changed much since Julia Ward Howe (“The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) wrote the first proclamation for the holiday in 1870. Back then—as it continues today—flowers were the most practical gift item because it simply meant walking to the nearest patch of blossoms and picking a beautiful bouquet. Often it was a handmade gift like a wood carving from a husband or son, or a scarf or bonnet sewn with love by a daughter. Of course, those who could afford it could purchase expensive items like jewelry or maybe the latest in fashion. Whatever the monetary consideration, people for almost 150 years have set aside time and money to make sure that mom was celebrated on her special day.
Today, purchasing a Mother’s Day gift is as easy as clicking on your tablet or smart phone. The holiday falls on the perfect day—a Sunday—which retailers relish because it provides an entire weekend for shopping whether it be at an online or “brick-and-mortar” store. This year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that Americans are expected to spend $21.4 billion on Mother’s Day, with jewelry selections topping the individual gift items at $4.2 billion. Another $2.2 billion is anticipated on gift cards, $1.9 billion on clothing and consumer electronics, and $1.6 billion on what is called “personal services” that may include special outings, flowers and greeting cards.
About $21.4 billion spent
Most people will shop for mom at department stores, despite the increasing popularity of shopping online. The NRF conducts surveys for most major holidays and reports this year that roughly 28.7 percent of Internet users said they plan to purchase gifts at specialty stores—like a florist or jewelry store—and 23.7 percent of respondents said they plan to purchase a Mother’s Day gift digitally. Other popular outlets for shopping include discount stores, small businesses and specialty clothing stores. Only 1.9 percent of Internet users said they plan to purchase a gift via a catalog.
Consumers appear to be enthusiastic this year in celebrating mom and are expected to spend about $172.22, on average, which is just about the same as last year. Matthew Shay, president of the NRF, said Mother’s Day ranks just behind Christmas in terms of consumer spending. “It’s clear that Americans want to honor their mothers this Mother’s Day, and whether it’s a special meal at her favorite restaurant, jewelry or a new smartphone, families are planning to indulge mom again this year.”
Gifts cards are popular
The NRF survey went into detail about the yearly favorites for mom, and the findings tend to mimic the typical items that have been purchased for decades. Outside of electronic gadgets, flowers have been the mainstay but more “personal” gifts have always been popular. The survey asked mothers what they would prefer and 36 percent of respondents said “something homemade,” followed by dinner reservations (34.8 percent), a simple greeting card (31.5 percent), a gift card(s) (relatively new for the past decade and coming in at 24.7 percent), and flowers at 22.5 percent. Jewelry items, which can be an expensive purchase, came in at 11.2 percent, followed by books (10.1 percent), a spa treatment (7.9 percent), clothing (5.6 percent), music (5.6 percent), a trip to the movies (5.6 percent), travel/vacation (4.5 percent) and electronic items at 3.4 percent.
Husbands sometimes have a unique perspective on what mom would want. Unfortunately, many men will make a common mistake of purchasing a household appliance (anything from an iron to a vacuum cleaner) which may sound like a good idea at the time, but the recipient may only see this as another item for housework. A nice set of cookware—if she needs it—is excellent idea, and you really can’t go wrong with any of the new kitchen gadgets said to make cooking a breeze. However, husbands can make points with simple things like drawing a bubble bath, lighting some candles, playing her favorite tunes and, most important, keeping the kids occupied to allow mom to enjoy a little piece of spa treatment right at home.
Let’s do lunch
A candlelight dinner—even if it’s a simple meal—is a gesture that can make her feel like it’s back in the days when you were courting her. Just make sure she doesn’t have to enter the kitchen because, after all, it’s her day to rest and relax. If you’re not handy in the kitchen, simply order in from your favorite restaurant. How about a surprise lunch with her friends? Simply get in touch with her girlfriends and set a date, make reservations at her favorite dining spot and she’ll be grateful for the splurge and will still get to enjoy most of the day with the people she loves—her family. And if the mother of your children digs flowers, mix it up a little. Don’t just go for the red roses with baby’s breath, instead add in some calla lillies and/or tulips to give your bouquet a different look. You can do this yourself at home or ask the florist to assist you.
Parents.com, the online version of Parents Magazine, this year came up with the novel idea of asking mothers: “What mothers want for Mother’s Day?” Obviously, mothers are the experts on Mother’s Day and the responses may surprise husbands and children. Among the top requests they’d like to receive from loved ones were sleeping in, breakfast in bed, having some “alone time,” spending the day with family and a simple “thank you” from family. One respondent said she would “just love to sleep in a little” and be able to get ready “without anyone bothering me.” Another respondent to the poll would love a family picture of everyone “all dressed up and looking good.” One mom loved the giant Mother’s Day card she once received with her family’s signatures “because it shows how each child has grown from the previous year,” while another matriarch prefers homemade gifts—like a framed photo of she and her boys—noting that this simple item is “just something made from the hands of my sons.” As well, one women requested that her husband do something that he wasn’t particularly fond of—“take me out to see a ‘chick flick.’”
Surprise her with a day off
Moms partake in a variety of daily responsibilities. The “stay-at-home mom” definitely needs a day off. After all, these women don’t get sick days, vacation days, lunch breaks or a salary. A day off—from morning to night—can break the normal routine of child care and housekeeping and will allow her to “let loose” and reconnect with herself. How about hiring some help for a day? Between doing the laundry, washing dishes, cooking meals, grocery shopping, transporting the kids here and there, cleaning the house…whew…a day off for most moms could be a dream come true. How about hiring someone for the day to come in and do these things? Better yet, the husband who can sacrifice his Sunday take care of these things would truly be “king of the castle”—at least for a day.
A mini shopping spree is a terrific idea. Give mom a gift card or two for her favorite store; a new VISA gift card can allow her to shop at multiple stores. In this instance, inform mom that she must shop alone and purchase items only for herself. A spa treatment is an excellent present for the stay-at-home mom. Her day off can be filled with pampering in the form of a manicure, pedicure, facial, haircut/color and, most of all, a massage. If possible, splurge a little and purchase two spa packages to allow a friend to join her.
Most moms today work for a living. Therefore, a nice gift for the office can be a lovely way to say thank you. With this in mind, the popular box of chocolates is great to tuck away in her office drawer or to offer co-workers or clients a snack…or for herself when she needs a quick pick-me-up. Business cards are a handy selection—especially if you design them yourself—with a note saying there are “99 more like it” waiting for her. A photo book full of memories can be placed on her desk or office table for clients or co-workers to look through. Or you can give her a framed photo from her childhood to remind her of those days.
The latest gift items
Whether mom is into technology, intriguing jewelry, or a different type of gift, there is a near-infinite selection of innovative gifts that can satisfy even the most discriminating woman. Amazon.com released its yearly list of popular Mother’s Day gift ideas and the selection tends to get more high-tech each year. Here’s a sampling of items:
—Nest Learning Thermostat. It features automatic scheduling and programs itself by learning from its owner. The device also provides details about how much energy has been used and why, and it features a “Auto-Away” which adjusts the temperature when the house is empty along with an icon that appears when the energy-saving temperature is selected. Suggested retail price: $249.
—Vizio 2.1 Channel Sound Bar. The sound bar features a wireless subwoofer and also has Bluetooth connectivity and can be mounted on a wall. A remote control is included for easier control, and mom can conveniently stream music from a phone, computer or tablet. The sound bar is said to work particularly well with 42-inch TVs or larger. Price: $176.81.
—iRobot Roomba 650 Vacuum. The popular robot vacuum cleaner knows where it’s going thanks to a unique set of navigation sensors. It has a multi-stage cleaning system and can brush, suction and agitate floor surfaces to get them as clean as possible. It also adjusts to all floor types. Price: $334.99.
—Kendra Scott Kaplan Necklace. Colorful dichroic glass bars and spike-shape pendants make the necklace a fun statement piece. It has a lobster claw clasp with an expander and is available in a variety of colors, although the natural stones tend to vary in color, shape and size. Price: $295.00.
Mom goes ‘high tech’
—Amazon Echo. We’re back to sound again, this time with a fun device that can fill any room with immersive sound and allows for hand-free controls. The device can detect commands from far away thanks to something called “far-field voice recognition.” The Echo can be used for other tasks such as providing information on local businesses and even reading audio books. Price: $179.99.
—Philips Sonicare Rechargeable Toothbrush. The hallmark of this electric toothbrush is said to be its “DiamondClean” brush head, which boasts distinctive diamond-shaped bristles. Mom may appreciate how the brush can whiten teeth more than a conventional tooth brush because it features five cleaning modes and even a smart timer. Price: $162.00.
—Tea Infuser Glass Tumbler. It has a bamboo lid and is made of lead-free double-wall borosilicate glass. The result is added durability and an opportunity to actually see her tea or coffee infusion beverage. A stainless steel strainer gives users a choice between various infusion methods, and a silicone inner lining kelps to keep plastic from touching the infused drink. Price: $24.95.
—Top 6 Essential Oil Blends Gift Set. Fragrance blends such as PastTense, Mellow Mind, Tropical Island and Dreamy Sleep can offer an unforgettable aromatherapy experience. There are six 10-millimeter bottles that feature hints of lavender, chamomile, mandarin, lime, orange, rose and more that can lift her spirits and her help relax after a long day. These therapeutic grade oils are created from blends and oils from around the world. Price: $39.95.