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You Don't Need A Gift Simply For Being A Mother

The gift doesn't define the person who receives it any more than it explains the person who bought it.

13/05/2017 6:36 AM AEST | Updated 13/05/2017 6:37 AM AEST
Eva Katalin Kondoros
"I chose to be a mother, I don't need a yearly reward for that. But remember my birthday, I really like gifts on my birthday."

You can tell that Mother's Day is fast approaching by the hundreds of ads and catalogues being thrown at us, and by looking at the signs going up in every shop in a manic bid to market everything they sell as the perfect gift for mum. From dressing gowns to books, kitchen appliances to cosmetics, screwdriver sets to spare tyres! Yes, even Bunnings and Jax Tyres, traditionally the domain of the masculine shopper, are targeting mothers.

While there will be many who rail against the more traditional gifts of pampering products and kitchen ware marketed to mums at this time of year, it's hard not to understand the plight of the retailer who will use any excuse to make a sale. With the looming presence of Amazon Prime in Australia, I don't know a single person in retail who isn't a little edgy.

It's true that Mother's Day gifts are often marketed in soft focus and perpetuate the stereotype of how women with kids are seen by society, but to be fair that's how marketing works. Just like in the weeks before Father's Day we are led to believe that all dads like tinkering in the garage as they run their fingers over the threads of their new tie and drink out of a novelty mug, all the while complaining about not having enough socks.

The truth is that Mother's Day celebrates mothers. It's not the same as Women's Day or your birthday or Christmas. It's not about receiving the most accurate gift, as if somehow the present you receive on Mother's Day defines the sort of mother or person you are. The gift doesn't define the person who receives it any more than it explains the person who bought it.

They absolutely want gifts to celebrate that they are mothers, but they don't want it to denote any traditional maternal activity. In essence it seems to me that they just want a present. They want it be thoughtful and loving and not too practical -- just as long as they get something.

I know plenty of mums who might quite like the idea of a new pair of slippers; Mother's Day and winter are pretty close partners in terms of timing. If you give a woman a pair of slippers at the start of winter it does not mean you believe she never wears glitzy, high-heeled sandals, perhaps it just means you acknowledge slippers are comfortable, warm, and winter is coming and you have used the commercial opportunism of Mother's Day to buy a pair. No one I know has ever received a note with their gift saying you may never wear any other item of footwear as long as you are in possession of these slippers.

But still, the voice of the mother is strong at this time of the year. Blog posts and Facebook updates decry the stereotyping of women. They insist they are people not just mothers and, as such, they don't want aprons, irons or spiralizers for Mother's Day. Nor are they mad keen on macaroni necklaces or pencil holders made from empty toilet rolls during an art activity at school.

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They absolutely want gifts to celebrate that they are mothers, but they don't want it to denote any traditional maternal activity. In essence it seems to me that they just want a present. They want it be thoughtful and loving and not too practical -- just as long as they get something.

And upon opening that special something they want to post it on Facebook and Instagram like an ad to their friends saying "look how much my family love me; this is what I am worth on this day in 2017".

And here's the bit my husband and son will love -- I don't believe a gift on Mother's Day means anything at all other than the fact that you are supporting the retail and consumer industries. Buying me something because the Hallmark gods have decreed it so does not validate me as a mother, nor does it make the job any easier or any less fulfilling.

I chose to be a mother, I don't need a yearly reward for that. But remember my birthday, I really like gifts on my birthday.

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To read more from Lana you can follow her on Facebook here

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