Along with Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthdays and most other days, Mother’s Day can be a confusing time for men.
What do you buy the woman who managed to squeeze out a handful of miniature life forms with little more physical effort than you put into opening the bonnet of your car?
Ideally, you need a gift that shows exactly how you feel about her, namely, “You’re a nag and I might divorce you if one more online order arrives and I don’t care if it was in the sale and that you might leave it back anyway because you can’t get it up past your thighs, but I do actually quite love you and think you’re a great mum.”
Don’t worry confused men of the world, my Mother’s Day gift guide is the answer to your present-buying pickle.
Give her a gift from this bad boy of a list and she’ll be saying those sweet words you’ve always wanted to hear – “Why don’t you grab a beer and take yourself out to the shed for a bit, I’m fine dealing with the sh*t and chaos on my own for a couple of hours,” before you can say “power tool fun.”
1. Get Her A Cleaner
Sorry lads, you might think that your better half’s ultimate fantasy is you covered in molten chocolate with a rose between your teeth (or bum cheeks if you’re especially talented) but she’s hankering for a Dettol-armed, plughole-unblocking cleaner of dreams. There is no greater token of appreciation than the gift of passing on the hosing down of questionable brown sofa stains to someone else.
2. A Child-Free Trip to the Dentist
If you truly want to mark your appreciation, why not book a dental appointment for her and, as an added treat, take the kids to the park for an hour while she’s there. Combining a nice lie-down with a good 20 minutes of child-free time, an outing to the dentist is the ultimate indulgence for busy mums.
3. Put Her Pictures on the Fridge
A mother’s creativity is often overshadowed by the artistic efforts of her darling children. Why not show your appreciation for her skills in the drawing department by putting some of her pictures on the fridge for a change? It’s the perfect gift for showing you recognise your leading lady as an individual outside of her role as a mum.
4. Respect the Nail Drying Window
If your partner has somehow performed a biblical-day miracle and found ten minutes to schlep on some nail polish, give her the gift of a ten-minute window. Until the polish is dry, be the one to lift any children attempting to scale the kitchen worktops, fetch the 231st snack of the day and open the window of the fetid bathroom following any particularly adventurous trips to the bathroom by the little cherubs. The gift of nails that don’t look as though someone has painted them with fence varnish using a wad of kitchen roll is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
5. Tell Her She’s Doing Great
Aside from Tom Hardy rocking up in a Hawaiian shirt clutching a Piña Colada and 2 tickets for an all-inclusive holiday to Bora Bora, the one thing every mum wants is to be told she’s doing OK. Because, you see, being a mother is so very important to us. And, as with anything important, we want to get it right. There are days we don’t feel like we’re getting it right. Days when one of the kids has been nasty to another child, days when homework is a fraught battle of wills, days when the house looks like someone’s detonated a bomb made entirely of crumpled clothes and yoghurt, days when we’re short-tempered, uninspired, exhausted.
We so badly want to get it right that we worry constantly about getting it all wrong.
So, even if you find yourself panic-stricken in the seasonal aisle of Tesco at 11pm on the eve of Mothering Sunday, remember that what she really wants is just to hear that she’s doing good.
This post is for Nuala, kickass fellow mum and dentist, who sent me the loveliest messages this week. Nuala – you are doing SO good.