Raising Richmond: What I really want for Mother’s Day

While flowers and candy are certainly welcomed offerings on the figurative altar of my Maternal Greatness, I’ve got some other ideas for Mother’s Day gifts as well.

I’m not a particularly picky person when it comes to gifts. I mean, I like gifts as much as the next person, but I’m not one to hand over a detailed list before Christmas1 or turn up my nose at presents some might consider to be of the cliched variety.2 It’s the thought that counts; never look a gift horse in the mouth; a bird in the hand something, something, something.

All that said, don’t think I haven’t spent considerable time over the last few weeks turning ideas over in my head about what I’d like for Mother’s Day3 this year…what I’d really like. In an effort to help those of you still scrambling to find the best way to show Mom some love come Sunday, I thought I’d share some of them here.

Before we get to it, allow me to reiterate a point that Susan Howson shared this time last year: every mother is, of course, different. Don’t assume that Mother’s Day requires pink flowers and a fancy-schmancy brunch–unless of course the mother in your life is into that sort of thing. Treat Mother’s Day like any gift-giving occasion; you just need to give Mom something you think will make her happy (or that she’s specifically requested). And while the mothers in your life might not go for the gift ideas I’m sharing here, perhaps the rationale behind them will inspire you a bit.

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A night in a hotel room…by myself

I love my husband and my son so much it’s stupid, but they both talk a lot. And they both like to touch me a lot. Sometimes they even talk to me while touching me.4 Although I appreciate being the most popular person in the house, the introvert in me sometimes wants to shout, “HANDS OFF. BACK UP. NO TALKING.” Time alone is essential in maintaining my sanity, and I can only imagine how refreshed I’d feel coming off a night spent just sitting by myself, being quiet, away from any people or places for whom I feel responsible. That’s the kind of recharging I’ll be able to look back on when I really need to dig deep to make it through the day.

One-time, all-out cleaning and/or lawn service

I’m pretty good at–and don’t even really mind–the day-to-day maintenance of our house. A little bit of vacuuming here or mowing there? No problem. But the big jobs?5 They make me want to…well…


A horrible, teeth-gnashy death in which my soul is removed from my body with a scythe.

Cleaning window blinds, pulling weeds, wiping down baseboards, pruning branches–augh, I find it all to be so terrible. And with the current balance6 of our household chores being what it is, these tasks typically fall to me. Any effort to lighten that load would be greeted with happy tears and a giant kiss on the mouth.

Classes at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond

The thought of actually walking into the Visual Arts Center and taking painting or printmaking class kinda makes me want to vomit–but that’s the whole point. It’s something I’d love to try but it is so very not my typical jam; I tend to limit my creativity to putting words together for this column or sketching ninjas when called upon by my son. But if someone else signed me up, forking over actual dollars to get me registered, I’d be all over it–and I’m sure I’d love it. Nothing like fear of wasting someone else’s money to get me out of my comfort zone.7

$20 in my son’s pocket

A couple years ago my husband took our son to West End Antiques Mall and told him to pick out whatever present he thought I’d like. They came home with a set of pink nesting dolls and an olive green piggy bank–because of course. I still have no idea why my son picked those out for me, but I can tell you with complete honesty that those dolls and that pig are some of my most prized possessions. He was so proud of his choices, so serious about them, the sweetness of it all nearly reduced me to a puddle on the floor.

Now that our son is four, It’s probably safe to say that the novelty will wear off of this gift-purchasing technique in the near future; I imagine my husband will have to remind the kid that I, in fact, do not need nor want any Hot Wheels. But I wouldn’t mind if they gave it another go this year, just to see what the little guy comes up with.

The opportunity to hold a baby chimpanzee

Look, I’m a firm believer in the notion that you must make your wants and needs known. I’m just putting this one out there in the off chance that someone8 can make it happen.

(If the baby chimp is out, I’d settle for bottle-feeding a baby giraffe instead. I’m flexible, is what I’m saying.)

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  1. Unless you ask me for one. In that case, I will make it excruciatingly specific because I don’t want to waste your time in any way whatsoever. Because then you’d get mad at me, and who wants a gift’s ju-ju tainted by hostility? 
  2. I was going to give examples, but then I thought that someone’s feelings could get hurt. My fear of messing with ju-jus carries over to comments on the Internets as well. 
  3. FYI, it’s Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 12th. You’ve got five days to get it together. 
  4. You’d think they could just hang all over each other and chitter-chatter away, but no. 
  5. For example, this horrible notion of “spring cleaning.” That needs to stop being a thing. Or at least a thing I’m expected to do. 
  6. I’m not suggesting here that my husband doesn’t do his fair share. It’s just at this point in our life, he works approximately 76,000 hours a week. I can only expect him to be but so helpful with this kind of stuff when he’s busy defying the laws of time while also running this website
  7. Proof of the effectiveness of this method: after hearing me talk about wanting a tattoo for years, my sister and her then-husband finally presented me with a gift certificate for a tattoo place here in town. I now have a tattoo. See what good manners will getcha? 
  8. Metro Richmond Zoo, I’m looking at you. 

Photo by: Tambako the Jaguar

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