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16 things moms really want for Mother’s Day. It’s not flowers

There’s nothing I want less for Mother’s Day than the stuff I’m supposed to want (margin of error: 1 massage). I mean, roses? They’re fragrant and all, but guess who’s going to be in charge of changing the water and washing the vase? And yet, according to the National Retail Foundation, spending on Mother’s Day flowers alone this year could hit $1.9 billion. Hate to sound ungrateful, but, especially in lean times, who wants anyone to drop cash on stuff we don’t need or covet? Here’s a list of what moms really want for Mother’s Day (in handy print-and-happen-to-leave-on-the-bureau format!).

  • You know where we keep the Snapea Crisps. Please get them yourself.

  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila, 1 oz. lime juice, 1/2 oz. Cointreau. Dip moistened edge of glass in salt. Pour ingredients over ice. Stir. Serve. Repeat.

  • Balls strung on yarn? We call that jewelry. And please do not forget the timeless, heart-melting classic: the homemade card.

  • Better than flowers: a perennial for the yard, complete with hot gardener, er, husband to plant it.

  • Help mothers who really need more than flowers. Donate a “Mercy Kit” through Mercy Corps and help women worldwide start small businesses, get breastfeeding support, become community leaders, and provide their children with fresh food and clean water.

  • I’m just gonna lie down for a second. OK?

  • “I JUST. WANT IT. NOW!,” said my friend Nancy, a mother of two from Rapid City, SD, when I asked her what was on her Mother’s Day gift list. “Not ten minutes from now, now. Chop! chop! For this day, and moving forward, can we please get rid of the weird temporal lag between the time I say something like ‘Come to the table,’ ‘It’s time to get ready for bed,’ or ‘Help me, the ladder has fallen and I’m dangling by my fingertips from the light fixture!’ and the point where someone finally looks up and mumbles, ‘What?’ This is what I really want.”

  • A federal law requiring one year of paid leave after you have a baby – for both parents. (9 to 5 National Association of Working Women can have my Whitman’s Sampler money, too.)

  • Make and serve me breakfast – anywhere but my bed. (Roomba does not remove blueberry syrup from pillowcases.)

  • On that note, please skip the Mother’s Day brunch. “Every time my husband asks what I’d really like for Mother’s Day, I feel so guilty that what I really want is a day to myself: at a spa or with other women who need time off,” says Kimberly Clayton Blaine, a child and family therapist in Pasadena, CA. “But when I ask for that he says, ‘You don’t want to be with your family?’ Then I feel like a bad mom, so I say, ‘Why don’t we all go to brunch at a family-friendly place?’” But what mom really wants to go to IHOP? So how about quality family-time Saturday, me-time Sunday. Deal?

  • Or better yet: Me-time Saturday night and Sunday – as in, a hotel room. “My own hotel room,” says Paula Balzer, co-founder of AdHocMOM.com, a blog for mothers who work part-time and freelance. “One where everything is white, spare and has lots of hard angles – as kid-unfriendly as possible. I want to sit around in a white robe, order room service, and watch television – the trashier the better – in complete silence. I am to be contacted only in extreme circumstances, and then only by courier or telegraph.” (If a hotel is too expensive, how about taking off with the kids and leaving me in the quiet, quiet house?)

  • A day without poop. Dirty diaper? Your turn.

  • No gift certificates! “I may never get to it – that’s happened before!” says Chicago-based blogger Veronica Arreola. So book the massage or the mani-pedi “and drop me off!”

  • Affordable (subsidized?!) childcare. (Skip the scented candle and give to MomsRising.)

  • A thorough housecleaning by someone who is not me.

  • And then there’s this: “All I ever want for Mother’s Day, really, is for my kids and husband to say thank you and tell me they’re glad I’m the mom. I don’t need cards, flowers, gifts, anything. Just acknowledgment and love,” says my friend Laurie, a mother of two in Toronto. “You know how it goes. I mean they’re all full of love for me all the time, but it would be nice to hear ‘You’re a great mom. Thanks.’” Actually, it would be nice to hear on Monday, too.

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