Flowers, a spa day voucher…a rubber chicken? Rachel Pearce shares her all-time present lowlights.

My husband admits he’s not the best at buying presents. There have been birthday blunders and Christmas catastrophes, but all the worst offences seem to have occurred on Mother’s Day. Here are some of the lowlights:



  1. Aftershave. It can be awfully confusing when you go to buy perfume and feel so overwhelmed that you manage not to buy any of the 3,000 fragrances designed for women and instead purchase a bottle of aftershave. I initially wondered if he’d deliberately bought himself a sneaky present, but he was just as surprised as me when I pointed out the prominent lettering on the front. At least he smelled extra nice that day…
  2. A spa experience. “How could this possibly be a bad gift?” I hear you cry. And it’s a valid question. I couldn’t believe my luck, and I must say I enjoyed a lovely facial… the first three minutes of it, at least. At that point my phone rang and I was summoned home by a frantic father. It turned out the spa experience had been a clever ploy to get me out of the house while he and his friends watched the match, only they’d assumed our daughter would sit quietly and watch it with them. Inconveniently for them, she’d pulled a heavy drawer out onto her toes. Spa experiences may be a dream come true for some, but I’ll smell a rat if I ever receive this type of gift again!
  3. A rubber chicken. I kid you not, folks…he bought me this. Turned out to be a dog toy. The children loved it, and I sort of saw the funny side, but I’m pretty sure no mum on the planet has this on her Mother’s Day wish list.
  4. Flowers. I’m very partial to a beautiful bloom. My nose, on the other hand, is not. First I get the itchies, then the sneezies and finally the nosebleedies. I’m sure many mothers – and many in general - would be grateful for such a gift, but any flowers that enter our house are instantly farmed off to someone who can enjoy them without almost bleeding to death.
  5. Crisps. This was the worst of the lot. First of all, he’d felt peckish on the way home and scoffed half of them (“It says it’s a sharing pack, see?”). Second, I received them because he’d completely forgotten about Mother’s Day and had nipped to the nearest petrol station in a frenzy. Having also grabbed the first card he’d spotted, he handed it to me without writing anything on the inside or checking the message on the front. “World’s best grandma” it is, then!

The thing is, I’m not really bothered about gifts, and my husband knows that, but I guess the issue for me is the amount of thought (or lack thereof) that goes into these gifts. After all, doesn’t the Bible tell us to honour our mothers (and, by default, the mothers of our children?). Is it too much to expect a bit of Proverbs 31:28 respect (“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her”)?

I guess it would be nice to occasionally feel spoiled, but he’s already given me the best tiny gifts I ever could have asked for. I’d rather have my children than any bouquet or spa day. Now I just have to wait until they’re enough to do the Mother’s Day shopping for themselves…and hope they don’t follow in their father’s footsteps!