Mother's Day for your missus is a whole different ball game to Mother's Day for your own mum. Don't drop the ball.
Gentlemen. It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, and if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance it’s your family’s first with a new baby (or you’ve got one on the way, which still counts).
Unfortunately, because babies have no money and can’t walk to the shops, it’s your job to cover for the selfish little ingrates.
Some women love the whole Mother’s Day experience, while others are quietly indifferent to the whole thing – either way, you’re on the hook to make sure she feels special and loved, because that’s what the day is all about.
The following is a last minute — holy crap I completely forgot (because, admittedly, we also completely forgot) — guide to Mother’s Day for first time dads.
We’ll keep it brief because, well, tick tock…
1. Liar, liar pants on fire!
Many of you will be reading this, completely relaxed, having already been given direct instructions from your missus not to get her anything:
“I don’t need anything for Mother’s Day” she said. “We have enough expenses with the baby and everything. Seriously, don’t waste the money.”
To which the simple male brain responds “Righto then! No need to go shopping!”
However, this is quite obviously a trap.
The key word here is “need” – because, sure – she may not “need” a small token of your affection to make her feel special and appreciated for everything she has sacrificed to bring your bundle of mutual joy into the world, but you’d better believe that she would still bloody well like something.
So, now we’re clear on that…
2. What should you get her?
This is always a tough question to answer, as each Mum is as unique and precious as a snowflake. So, rather than suggesting what you should buy, let’s look at what might be best avoided.
It’s long been hypothesised by Top Scientists that Mother’s Day is singularly responsible for propping up the global market for at-home foot spas – so to avoid the cliché, you can cross that one off the list.
Likewise, any sort of random cooking implement, such as a toasted sandwich press, is probably a bad idea. The exception to this rule is of course a Thermomix. All women will love you forever if you buy them a Thermomix. However, unless you are filthy rich, dropping $2k on a fancy pants blender that also heats things is probably not an option.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that she’s unlikely to be thrilled if you buy her the new hammer drill you’ve been wanting for your toolbox – even if you intend to use it to hang all those pictures in the nursery she’s been asking you to hang for months but you’ve been too busy and sleep deprived.
Actually there’s an idea. Why not print and frame a nice picture of her and the baby? Then you can swing by Bunnings on the way home from Big W (where they print photos in sub-15 minutes and also sell frames) and get yourself an early birthday present to hang it with. BOOM!
Lastly, it’s best not to buy her any baby stuff – Mother’s Day is about the mother, and not about being a mother, after all.
If all else fails, this is one of the times when it’s widely considered okay to simply ask her what she would like – bearing in mind you may end up being told “I don’t need a present”, in which case I refer you back to point 1.
3. Wait… it’s Mother’s Day TOMORROW?
If you’re reading this in the wee hours of Sunday morning and you’ve forgotten to get her anything, don’t panic. There’s still a faint glimmer of hope that you might be able to pull something together and not incur a whole day of her being snippy, or worse, “just disappointed” with you.
There’s always the option of sneaking down to your local 24-hour service station, where you will be cheerfully price-gouged for a $15 Mother’s Day card and a tiny box of assorted chocolates for the low, low price of $26.
Flowers are slightly harder to come by in the dead of night. However, they can usually be found in the front yard of your neighbour’s house, provided you have the stealth skills of a ninja, and an excuse ready if you get busted.
Lifeprotip: While there are large bouquets with nobody guarding them at pretty much every cemetery in Australia, it is highly inadvisable that you head there to “borrow” a few. I tried it once (when I was younger and foolisher) and it didn’t end too well – possibly because I forgot to remove the “In Memorium” tag.
4. Breakfast in bed
Another of the Mother’s Day rituals that many guys attempt is the gesture of serving her breakfast in bed – however, it can (and will) go horribly wrong without the right equipment.
There’s a reason human beings generally eat at tables – they are flat, provide a sturdy surface for plates and cups, and they lack your $1200 mattress’ ability to absorb orange juice.
Your missus, however, is a different story.
By all means, get up early and throw a nice brekky together for her – but remember that eating in bed is usually a profoundly bad idea, unless you like the idea of egg yolk and bacon fat smeared on your bed sheets, with a side helping of spilt juice trapped in the mattress and going rancid within days.
5. What she (probably) really wants
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of lavish presents, a lengthy picnic somewhere by the sea or an all-afternoon lunch with your extended family on Mother’s Day.
However, there is something that most mums absolutely crave, Mother’s Day is a fantastic chance for you to provide it, and best of all, it’s absolutely free.
Mum would probably really, really appreciate a break. A proper one. I’m talking a solid five or six hours where she can just have some time to do whatever the hell she wants, free from the baby.
So even if you’ve managed to forget Mother’s Day (don’t worry – it happens to all of us at some stage), or you’ve managed to stuff up the present, this is a fail-safe option to fall back on.
This story first appeared on Direct Advice 4 Dads on Mother’s Day, 2017.