This Mother’s Day, give her the gift of your time!

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By Sabrina Almeida

With all the reminder’s about getting your mum an “appropriate” gift on TV and radio, it’s hard to ignore Mother’s Day or tell her that it slipped your mind! The main intention of all the commercials are fairly clear—they intend to guilt you into buying something to show your love and appreciation for mum. Naturally the more you spend, the more love you demonstrate. It also builds up expectations on the mom front. With most mothers exchanging stories and answering questions of what they “received”, some will end up feeling like they weren’t treated well enough. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.
It’s not wrong to honour your mother or have a special day dedicated to her, however the commercialization of Mother’s Day seems to present a specific formula for how to go about it. Expensive flowers, gifts and restaurant meals, etc. Whatever happened to just curling up on the sofa and spending quality time with mom? That’s probably what she really wants. Perhaps you could write her a gift check of time that she could claim at her leisure and over the year, not just one day.
Also, spouses and children shouldn’t have to be pressured into keeping up with all the pricey Mother’s Day traditions. While I would like to be the queen of hearts, and on more days than just one, it’s not a position that my family should have to bestow on me with lavish gifts. Its close proximity to my birthday has my boys scratching their heads extra hard as it is. Also, like most moms I prefer gifts in kind rather than those that have cash value. The little things my kids made me in elementary school are priceless and they didn’t have to spend any money on them. The delight on their faces when they handed it to me after taking great pains to hide it till D-Day is something I will always treasure and much more than any gift they could buy.
Market research shows that Canadians spend more every year. After all you don’t put a price on your love for mom.
In the United States, it is one of the biggest commercial spending days which would explain all the resources invested in the successful marketing of it.
I was curious about the origination of the dedication and decided to delve into its history. To my surprise I found that Anna Jarvis who is credited with organizing the first official Mother’s Day celebrations in the United States in May 1908 was equally disgusted with the commercialization of it after a few years. She devoted the rest of her life to urging people to stop purchasing Mother’s Day flowers, presents and candy and by the end of it had disowned it altogether. Most of her wealth was spent in legal fees for all the lawsuits against groups that used “Mother’s Day”. She even tried to lobby the government to have it removed from the American calendar.
Today Mother’s Day spending is even more out of control. The commercialization has spread its tentacles into countries like India which always respected and revered the mother but didn’t have to buy high-priced symbols of love and appreciation. We almost never heard of “Mother’s Day” in India for the 30-odd years I lived there and mums didn’t feel any less valued because of it.
When Jarvis instituted Mother’s Day to honour her mother who had already passed on and the sacrifices that all women make for their children, it was meant to be a personal celebration where the family spent time together. In today’s world where time is “most valuable” and least given, we seem to do all we can in the fastest and shortest span. Buy her gifts, take her to a meal and get done with it! Truth be told mom would be willing to save us a lot of effort. She doesn’t want all those things. So are you willing to give her what she really wants? Your time!

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