A friend on Facebook boasted today that she had saved not one, but two marriages this week by pointing out that Sunday is Mother’s Day, and “what we like is brunch and jewelry.”
I beg to differ.
First, dining out with small children is not everyone’s idea of a good time, especially not during one of the most crowded brunch timeslots of the year. I would rather have coffee brought to me in bed, and eat pancakes and fruit prepared by my husband in the lazy state of my own house. That way, I’m not obligated to shower and primp on my “day off”.
Second: Wait? Is this a good platform for me to go on my feminist diatribe about the tradition of men buying women jewelry? It is? Okay, then.
Some men are comfortable buying jewelry. I happen to be married to one of them. He gets me. In fact, he knows me better than I know myself in some ways. I’m not a glittery kind of gal, and when, at 26, I worried that the engagement ring he selected was too big for my personality (the height of First World problems, by the way), he suggested that I would grow into it and that jewelry as subtle as my t-shirt and jeans style demanded back then might be too little bling for my 40-year old self. He was right. At 39 and a half years old, I have the self confidence to both proclaim my right to sparkle and to agree that my husband was right.
Other men, however, may find jewelry-buying an uncomfortable duty, one that feels like they are wearing the shoes of that hot guy in the diamond commercial who knows exactly what to do, say, and wear at every moment. If they find gift buying so unpleasant that they procrastinate to the point of failing, well, who is winning at this game?
Women know what they like and what they want. If we want a piece of jewelry or a fancy handbag, why shouldn’t we buy it for ourselves? The alternative seems only a recipe for disappointment: waiting for one’s partner to buy something they don’t even know she wants. It’s not going to happen. You’re not married to that guy in the commercial; you’re married to your husband. Or maybe you’re not married at all. In either case, buy yourself whatever you want. You are responsible for your own happiness, even on Mother’s Day. Look for other ways to seek recognition from your spouse, ones that aren’t so confusing to shop for.
So what gift do I want, having forfeited the opportunity to be bejeweled by the father of my children? I want to lie down in a dark room and have quiet. I want my feet rubbed, my shoulder tension worked out, and my skin nourished with rich ingredients. That’s right: I want a massage.
A scrub, a rub, a facial, any of it will do. That little gift certificate, a slip that says, “Go, leave the house, and feel good,” that is my magic pill. It makes me happy, it always fits, it doesn’t clutter the top of my dresser or obligate me to housework. (Are you reading this, Dad who considered buying his wife a vacuum cleaner she’s obsessed with? Just buy it next month, and please don’t position it as a token of gratitude.)
What do you think is the best Mother’s Day gift or tradition?