Mother’s Day is my favorite holiday of the whole year. Of course if you know me, you’d think my favorite holiday is Christmas because I start playing Christmas music in late October, but truly, I love Mother’s Day.
Bill and the kids usually spoil me for the day, and what mom doesn’t need that at least one day a year, right? I love the handmade gifts from the kids, and I love how they pitch in to help make me breakfast in bed, and a nice dinner. I also love the sappy cards they give me, and the kisses and hugs.
Now that Easter is over, and Mother’s Day is on May 10 this year, the advertisements for Mother’s Day have begun. JCPenney, Kohl’s and Macy’s all have circulars this week featuring gift ideas for Mom such as perfume, clothing, purses, and jewelry. These are the standard gift ideas, and they are good ones. However, there was one particular ad that caught my eye, and it made me laugh. KitchenAid has a 4-page fold out circular that says, “Celebrate Mother’s Day with Special Offers From KitchenAid.”
The mom pictured in the ad is smiling, but I’m sure she's thinking, “A mixer? Really? After dropping all those hints about jewelry, I get metal. But instead of it being a precious metal, it’s a big hunkin’ metal mixer.”
Let me just say that I have a KitchenAid mixer and I love it. KitchenAid makes the mother (pun intended) of all mixers. It makes baking a pure joy. However, a mixer does not a Mother’s Day gift make.
Maybe this is just my opinion, but appliances are a big no-no for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or any other day designed to make a woman feel truly special and treasured.
Clearly, men are behind this advertisement, and I don’t begrudge the KitchenAid company for trying to capitalize on this holiday’s moneymaking potential. Everybody needs to make a buck, especially during this recession.
But men need to know that there are only two times when it is appropriate to give a woman an appliance for a gift:
1.) If it is her wedding and she has registered for appliances.
2.) If she has explicitly asked for a specific appliance. By explicitly asking, I mean she must say something to the effect of, “Honey, I would like you to get me a toaster for (insert holiday or special occasion here). If she says, “Geez, I’m so bummed our toaster is broken, I’ll have to get a new one soon,” then do NOT buy her one as a gift. She is just telling you that the toaster is broken and she will buy one soon. This rule does not apply to diamonds or jewelry. If she says, “Wow, look at Jenny’s new diamond tennis bracelet from Bob. I love it,” then this is her passive aggressive way of asking you to buy her a tennis bracelet.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are a slew of Moms out there that are just dying to get a new mixer, or toaster or coffeemaker for Mother’s Day, and I am sorry if I have offended you. I am not one of them.
I do not expect Bill and the kids to spend a lot of money on me for Mother’s Day, and store-bought gifts are great. But I would like a gift that does NOT require work on my part, at least for a day. Work, as in, “Hey mom, we bought you this great mixer, now get to work making that chocolate chip banana bread we love so much!”
Bill learned this lesson the hard way. One year I had casually mentioned that I might want to get a toaster oven. However, I was not asking him to buy me one. My wonderful husband is attentive though, and on Mother’s Day 2002 he bought me a large, gleaming, stainless steel toaster oven. This thing cost over $100, and he was so proud of himself. Of course I said, “Oooohh…how nice! Just what I wanted!” and all the other things you say when someone buys you a gift, whether or not you like it.
But as the old saying goes “you can put lipstick on a pig, and it’s still a pig,” I just thought to myself, “I don’t care if this toaster oven is the fanciest one on the market, and it can toast a bagel perfectly, or even fold laundry for me, it’s still a toaster oven!” But I said nothing to Bill. It’s the thought that counts, right? He was proud of himself, thinking he got me something that I asked for (I did not) and that I would love. I was determined not to be a spoiled brat, and just suck it up and use the darn toaster oven, even though it was the size of a small microwave, and took up way too much precious counter space.
Sidenote: On this particular Mother’s Day in 2002, I was 6 weeks postpartum with Henry, my second child. I was hormonal, tired, leaking breast milk, I was feeling fat, and to top it all off, Henry was projectile vomiting constantly and losing weight. (We soon found out later he had an allergy to the dairy in my breast milk and regular formula.)
Over the next few days the notion of the toaster oven got stuck in my head. In my hormonal haze, I was getting annoyed that I just carried and delivered our second child (I was on bedrest with Henry from 29 weeks on) and I couldn’t believe that all I got was a stinkin’ toaster oven. A stinkin’ toaster oven.
I decided that I had to speak up and tell Bill the truth, and I asked him if he would mind if I returned the toaster oven. He was genuinely shocked, and couldn’t believe I didn’t like it. That was when I laid down the “no appliance rule” (electronics like iPods and the like are okay and are not considered appliances) in our marriage. Now when I ooh and ahh over a Dyson vacuum or a brand-new Rowenta iron, he knows better.
Bill said he appreciated the gift guidance. Honesty is a good thing for a marriage, isn’t it? Everyone was happy. I blamed my hormones at the time, but I’m glad I said something.
In all seriousness, I do know that it is really the thought that counts, and I’m just as happy with a clay pinch-pot vase handmade by one of my kids as I am with a new purse. If it weren’t for Bill and the kids, I wouldn’t be a mother. It is because of them that I am able to have this awesome job, and this life experience.
But I am only human. Sometimes a little bling is a nice thought too, isn’t it?