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No Excuses, Guys: 5 Mother's Day Gift Ideas for the Cheap & Lazy

It’s ain’t rocket science, man. When Mother’s Day rolls around, no matter how phony you think the whole enterprise might be with all the cards and flowers, or what your relationship is like with your own nagging ma’, or how busy you are at work, or just, you know, how hard it is to remember all these dang dates, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Anniversaries, Birthdays — you’ve got to do something special for that mom or those moms in your life.

Now before you start hemming and hawing, simmer down. I’m not saying you’ve got to go all out! Maybe she likes jewelry, or fancy dinners at fine restaurants, or expensive clothes, or long massages. You could go that route, sure. But I say put the wallet away and don’t worry about making things all complicated — all it takes is a little time and thought to show her how much you care.

Take it from me. My wife is so picky, I can’t buy her clothes, she likes to try everything on first. She doesn’t wear jewelry. Or appreciate flowers, aside from the ones we grow in the garden. And she thinks long massages are overrated. She’s pretty cool and down-to-earth, and also one of the hardest people to shop for that I know! So I hereby present to you five simple ideas that even a hard-to-please woman like my wife will appreciate, and which require little money, and not much work either.

Go on and set the bar low — sometimes less is more.

  • Click on to find out how to do Mother’s Day cheap, easy, and right! 1 of 6
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  • Take the Kids Out So She Can Sleep In 2 of 6
    2_wakeup

    This one's a no brainer. Get your tired butt out of bed with the kids, and using all means necessary, keep them quiet downstairs. Pop on a DVD or stream their favorite show. Toss them the iPad. Give them dry cereal to munch. Top their sippy cups off with milk. And then sit down with them so they don't get antsy.

    Better yet? The night before — that's right, this involves a bit of planning — have the kids pick out an outfit and stash the clothes downstairs. When they've snacked and woken up, and when you've downed a mug of coffee or three, get the rugrats out of the house. I'm able to sleep through a fire alarm, but my wife's ears are so attuned to our son's whines and cries that she's not always able to sleep if he's downstairs making a ruckus.

    So pack 'em up and move 'em out, letting Mommy sleep.

    Bonus points: Brew coffee before you go, so it's waiting for her when she awakes.

  • Make Her Breakfast 3 of 6
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    I'm not talking about muffins and scones and fresh baked bread, though if that's your thing, by all means go for it. No, even the most un-savvy chef can make a passable breakfast, it's practically idiot proof. Crack a couple eggs. Toast some bagels. Buy the fancy cream cheese with bits of scallion in it, if she's into that. Fry up some bacon! If keeping the kids busy while you cook this is a problem, either look to the television for babysitting help, or have them shower Mommy with presents while you make magic with the saute pan.

    But wait! Before you run off to get your fry on, don't forget the most important part. YOU MUST DO THE DISHES. And no, that doesn't mean leaving them till later so that she gets all grossed out by the tottering pile of filth in the sink and eventually feels compelled to wash them herself. Clean them right after breakfast.

    Bonus points: Find some flowers for the table. If you don't have any outside, buy them, or just pick them from the side of the road even. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

  • Hang Out the Entire Day 4 of 6
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    Cancel your ballgame. Turn off the tube. Tell your buddy you can't help him move. No, man, you are on call the entire day today. That means you're doing whatever it is that she wants to do. Maybe it's rainy and she decides to watch a flick with the kids, or it's a gorgeous day and a picnic at the park is in order. Or perhaps she's going to meet a friend for afternoon drinks and you're going to stay with the little ones. SHE GETS TO CALL THE SHOTS. You are just along for the ride.

    The only possible exception to this rule is that you need time to call your own mom and thank her for schlepping you around in her uterus for nine months, and changing your stinky diapers, and waking up at all hours to feed your cute little infant pain-in-the-butt self. And possibly you can get time off to take a shower, because BO and bad breath don't make great gifts on Mother's Day, or any day really.

    Aside from those two breaks, you see that woman over there who bore the kids and struggled through labor and is full of love and worries and pride and enthusiasm for her family? You stick to her like Elmer's glue. Got it?

    Bonus points: Take her out on a date the night before, or stay in for some QT and let her pick out a movie to watch. Mother's Day starts at midnight, after all.

    Image via flickr

  • Order In Dinner 5 of 6
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    I know, it's getting a little crazy by four or five o'clock or so, all this together time as a family. Dude, give yourself a break. Pop a bottle of wine, or a beer, or a cocktail — whatever floats your boat — and order take-out. Or go out to dinner even. (Mother's Day dinner is not nearly as packed as Mother's Day breakfast and brunch. Be smart: it's easy making breakfast. Save eating out till dinnertime.)

    I know, I said these were cheap ideas, but you don't have to break the bank. Order pizza from your favorite pizzeria. Grab burgers. Get Italian. Have leftovers even. All I'm saying is, make it easy on yourself and kind of special without having to do a lot of work. Avoid scrubbing pots and pans. Just end up with some plates and dishes you can toss in the dishwasher when you're done. Believe me, you're going to need some energy for what comes next.

    Bonus points: Dessert — duh. I'd go for something chocolate.

  • Be Attentive to Her, um, Romantic Needs 6 of 6
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    The clock's almost run down, but the games not over till you score! Seriously, I don't care how long a day it's been, or if your head is hurting, or your back's sore from barreling across the playground equipment like a stunt man, the time has finally come for you to show her that she's not just a wonderful mom in your eyes, she's still the fantastic woman whom you fell in love with. You know what I'm talking about. Feet shall be rubbed. Her neck, massaged. Compliments whispered in her ear. This is not put on your hot lingerie time, it's more like, you just relax and let me do all the work. Are you reading me here, fellows? Don't make me spell it out for you, because that's just the kind of attitude that'll kill the vibe. If you need inspiration, look at the cover of a romance novel where the big studly guy is gazing with the perfect mixture of adoring love and burning passion at his lady love. Imagine you're him, and go for it.

    Bonus points: Simple. Don't fall asleep watching television, instead cuddle and talk for a bit. Reconnect, eh?

    Still confused? Take a look at my list of gifts no one should ever get on Mother's Day.

    Image via flickr

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