My best Mother’s Day was the year my husband asked me, point-blank, what I wanted. Instead of playing coy, instead of saying I didn’t want anything, instead of assuming he would know I was just being a Mommy Martyr and then getting pissed off at him because he got me exactly what I said I wanted–namely, nothing–instead of suffering through an overcooked, frozen burger at Bennigan’s because it was the only place that could seat us at short notice, instead of all that, I told him.
“Breakfast in bed, a massage, and somewhere nice for dinner.” Ask and ye shall receive. It was a lovely day.
Normally I don’t put too much stock in Mother’s Day. As an American, the day set aside to lift my maternal efforts onto the pedestal on which they deserve to be permanently bolted falls at a crucial point in the English football season. (Now you know why the Brit Mums celebrate much earlier). More years than not my special day has ended abruptly at 4 pm when I graciously (not) step down from my pedestal so that my husband can find out which teams will be relegated and which will be movin’ on up. Luckily, I am married to a man who never hesitates to tell me what a good mom I am; a man who mentions on a random Wednesday that the character of our children is down to me, who tells me in the middle of February that he couldn’t do what I do or sometimes at the beginning of November how much he appreciates all I’ve given up to make sure the family is looked after. Writing all that out now makes me wonder if has a copy of “Things to Say to Placate Your Hormonal Wife” hidden away, but the point is, he tells me these things throughout the year, consistently. If I have to referee the children’s light saber duel so that he can find who is going to the top of the league–well, then, it’s just one more thing I can hold over him down the line.
Truth is, breakfast in bed is always good. Massages are super. Cards shiny with glue stick residue and thick with glitter are always a safe bet. Brunch, spa days, manicures, pedicures, jewelery including the birthstones of your progeny, flowers: all good. If you want my advice, stay away from self-help books with titles like You’re a Good Enough Mom. Kitchen appliances should, as a general rule, be avoided as well.
However, it’s true what they say. The best gifts in life are free. This year if my husband or kids ask me what I would like for Mother’s Day, I have compiled a list of things they can give me. Each one is worth it’s weight in gold but costs nothing. Not a single, red cent. Ask and ye shall receive, right?
Lift the seat to pee, you lazy buggers. Little is worse than sitting on a wet toilet seat. Unless it’s falling into the toilet in the darkness of night….
When you’re done, put it down!
Flush the toilet, every time. Yes. Every time.
If I say “Dinner’s ready”, dinner is ready. It’s not mom code for something else. Get your butts to the table.
Turn your socks right side out before you put them in the laundry.
If you say “Mom” and I say “What?” have the decency to say something back. You can always fall back on “You rock!”
Don’t put every item of clothing that has touched your body for ten seconds in the hamper.
Empty the sand out of your shoes before you come into the house.
Open your ears before you open your mouth.
At least make an effort to look before you declare it lost.
Close the fridge, the cabinets, your dresser drawers. Close the toilet seat, the car door and the front door, the back door, and any other random door you come across. And for the love of all that is holy, close the bathroom door if you’ve come in while I am showering.
If you see something on the floor, pick it up. Chances are you are the one that dropped it there to begin with.
Understand that I can’t possibly keep track of every rubber band, bottle cap or rock that you’ve collected on your journey through childhood.
Ditto the above with Lego pieces.
Ask how my day was before you hurl your backpack at my feet.
So you see, the best things really are free. This year, you too can give mom the gifts that keep on giving. Feel free to pass this along to anyone who may be looking for ideas. But if my children or my husband ask, there’s a picnic basket I have my eye on. Pre-packed with a bottle of champagne would be even better.