Why it's the mother of all birthdays for my children
PUBLISHED: 12:29 05 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:29 05 March 2013
There's extremely bad news for my children this year: Mother's Day falls on my birthday and I've made it very clear that any kind of 'joint gift' will lead to me downing tools for at least a week.
The terrible top 10 of present ideas
1) Anything remotely associated with the kitchen. Oven gloves which say “World’s Greatest Mum!” are still oven gloves. No one has ever said on their death bed: “I only wish I’d had more Mum-themed kitchen accessories.”
2) One of those huge Toblerone bars with Mother’s Day branding. Have you ever tried to eat one of these monsters without the benefit of a hammer and chisel? It’s like gnawing on a section of the Forth Bridge.
3) Oil of Olay Regenerist cream. Whatever the advertisements say, buying a cream for ageing skin is almost literally laughing in your Mum’s face.
4) Purple Ronnie’s Little Book for a Lovely Mum. All tiny books full of cartoons or saccharine quotations are the work of the Devil. Trees have died to produce this pointless, fiddly, idiotic nonsense. Adding Purple Ronnie – who is as heartwarming and amusing as a case of leprosy – into the mix is simply rubbing salt into the wound.
5) Housework Songs by Various Artists. The very fact that this compilation album was ever made makes me fear for the future of the human race. Anyone who buys their Mother a CD designed to make them get a move on with scrubbing the toilet bowl should feel ashamed of themselves.
6) Flowers which cost less than £10 (unless you are an infant and have the paperwork to prove that you have no savings whatsoever). If you had any idea how much giving birth hurt, you would not be buying your mother pollution-flecked flowers from a garage forecourt.
7) A “MUM” sovereign ring. Touching as it is to buy your Mother a present which prepares her for being attacked outside a pub, you might like to think about buying her something a little more subtle. Like a flick knife or a flame thrower.
8) Any gift which bears a large sticker saying “Perfect for Mother’s Day!” (unless it’s diamonds). This rule is especially important in supermarkets, where gifts labelled thus will inevitably involve the presence of Ronan Keating.
9) Pre-paid Weight Watchers’ membership.
10) A DIY Will Kit. It’s not thoughtful, it’s creepy. Particularly when your Mother finds the first line of the “chief beneficiaries” section already helpfully filled in.
Mother’s Day works on the principle that you can treat your dear old Mum like a domestic drudge for 364 days of the year and then wipe the slate clean for the cost of a nauseating card and a bunch of flowers from the garage which have been Mother’s Day-ed up with a sticker that says I Heart Mum.
It’s a bit like your employer spending an entire day being really nice to you – letting you come into work a little bit later, buying you a pot plant for your desk, making you a nice cup of tea and telling you how much they appreciate you – and then not bothering to pay you for the rest of the year. Every year the Brits spend around £100m on Mother’s Day, which coincidentally falls on the same date as Retailers’ Money Spinning Day and Florists’ Mark Up the Price Day. A hundred million pounds is a lot of money. It makes me wonder who got the rest of my share, taking into account the fact that I got a homemade card with a teabag taped to it and an I Love Mum mug from the 99p shop last year. Which of course, if my children are reading, I adored.
The market has even worked out how to squeeze a few quid out of people whose Mothers have had the very bad form to die and offered some suggestions to those of us who rather boringly only have one Mum to buy pointless and expensive rubbish for. According to the frankly terrifying everythingmothersday.com, it isn’t just our own dear old Mater who we should be sending a card to, we should also have forked out for our “stepmothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, godmothers, aunts and even friends who are Mums”.
Fast forward a few years and we’ll be sending cards to every single female we know, including our pets and all those women who are causing a baby shortage in Britain because they selfishly want careers and white sofas without Wagon Wheels welded to the arms (“Happy Respecting Your Right Not to be Mothers’ Day!).
The answer to all this rampant consumerism is, of course, for us all to rise up as one and declare that we will shun future Mother’s Days and simply be nice to our Mums all year round without prompting from Hallmark or Interflora.
But back in the real world, where people genuinely do appear to need reminding that the maid in the kitchen actually gave birth to them, it seems unlikely that we can do away with Mother’s Day entirely. For a start, being nice all year might cost considerably more than a fiver and secondly if Mother’s Day was outlawed, the retailers would only come up with something even more all-encompassing, which would involve us buying cards and presents for everyone we know, regardless of whether we like them or not. Oh hang on, they already did: Christmas.
But anyway. Mother’s Day is here to stay and with this thought in mind, damage limitation is the only option. So see the panel for a list of the presents you shouldn’t buy your Mum on Mother’s Day or indeed, ever.