Something to Make Mum Smile
A smile is such a simple and uplifting thing. It’s all I really want from my kids for birthdays, Christmas or Mother’s Day. Well, that and some flowers and chocolates. But I’ve noticed the routine presentation of chocolate and bubble bath brings a little less of a smile to my face with each passing year. So I set the kids a challenge – to find a different way to make me smile on special occasions. To find me gifts to make me smile. But judging by the list they made I don’t think they quite got my drift. But maybe their ideas would work for you?
Something for her
When it comes to those special days I’ve been stuck in a flowers, chocolates and bubble bath loop for a few years now and figure it’s time to shake things up. So I give the kids instructions to do something different to make me smile when my birthday, Christmas or Mother’s Day comes around. I thought maybe they might plan a big day out, redecorate the living room, cook up a special meal or maybe just tidy their bedrooms. But, no. They got together and made a list of things they thought would make me smile. And left it lying around for me to find. And I have to say, it did make me smile. All except the mop slippers. Let’s hope they don’t turn up.
12 Gifts to Make Her Smile
1 The Ladybird Book for Mums
I have to come clean here and admit I have already bought this one for myself. The Ladybird Book of Mum is part of the utterly brilliant new Ladybird parody series of books designed to enable grown ups to cope with their world. The period pictures tap into our nostalgia about these books while the text gives them a funny modern spin. How It Works: The Mum begins with a universal truth. “A mum has two very important jobs to do. One is to look after the children. The other is to do everything else as well.” And it progresses to cover just about all of our inadequacies. At under four quid it is cheaper than a glass of wine, and lasts about as long as it takes to drink it, even if you are a guzzler. And if you are a guzzler you’ll be pleased to know there’s a Ladybird book celebrating the hangover. Anyway it’s perfect for reading in the loo, if your toddler allows you to go.
2 A Robot Vacuum Cleaner
I think this one could help me keep things clean. The Mocoro Mini Robot Vacuum Cleaner might not be Asimo, the world’s most advanced humanoid. And yes it looks like a pom pom on a bobble hat. But there is one big advantage to this ball of brightly coloured fluff. You can send it in to your teenager’s room to hoover the floor and YOU DO NOT have to follow it. That’s pretty priceless in my opinion but in real life it costs just around £35. It will need a couple of batteries and if it doesn’t work you can always sew it on your hat or give it to a toddler to chase around the room. (I do find the mere mention of teen room infiltration gets the washing basket emptied at least.) Of course if you really wanted to make me smile then you could go large on a full size Robotic Vacuum Cleaner. That really would make my day.
3 An Animal Onesie
Embarrassing as it is to admit, I have to confess that I love cosplay onesies. I have a rabbit onesie, a wolf onesie and panda pyjamas. But in my defence I only wear the panda PJ’s. And only when Stuart’s away. My daughter has appropriated the rest to go with the unicorn onesie she wears in all weathers. If you like animals, or indeed onesies, then a cosplay animal onesie will keep it fresh in the bedroom (miaw!) and there are plenty of characters to choose from. You can always reuse it at a cosplay or comic convention. And if you want to be featured in the Daily Mail then wear it on a school run. There’s nothing the tabloids love more than a Mum doing stuff in her pyjamas. Fr frequently travelling Mums invest in a travelling onesie for the plane. And then make her wear it!
4 My Book Club Only Reads Wine Labels Bag
This one made me laugh out loud. Because it is so true. In my book club we spend approximately as much time reading the label on the bottle as we do discussing the book. Except when it’s chick lit. And then we could talk about it all night. If you are more of a serious book clubber than I am, you can always use this fine white cotton bag to carry home your hefty volumes of Hilary Mantel. Me? I’d use it to transport the vino. Although with it being white cotton we might have to steer clear of the red on a book club night in.
5 Scratch and Sniff Guide to Wine
At first I scoffed at the idea of learning to be a wine expert from a book. Surely that is much better learned practically, glass in hand. But should you run out of Pinot then you could learn vicariously with this novel scratch and sniff idea. Richard Betts is one of just under two hundred master sommeliers in the world. In this unusual little book, The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert, he helps you use your sense of smell to introduce you to the basic components of wine – fruits, wood and earth. It makes learning fun while asking the fundamentals like what’s a good wine and why should we sniff? And what’s even better is that there isn’t a whiff of snobbery anywhere in the pages. One to add to the book club list I think. And a great way to teach your kids a little bit about wine without ever having to let them near your bottle.
6 Dust Mop Slippers
I’m not even going to say these are cute, in case someone actually buys me them for Mother’s Day. But if you get heated about the subject of a clean kitchen floor then these are for you. And if you get turned on by flooring then you’ll be excited that these Dust Mop Slippers can tackle hardwood, laminate and tiles. They’re also very comfy apparently, although one size fits all. I prefer my slippers to be branded with Ugg but sadly that comes with a much higher price tag. At just over a fiver for the mop variety you can’t really go wrong. You might even start a new fashion at the school gate. And leave nice clean pavements behind you.
7 How To Change a Lightbulb Poster
I think they just got this wrong. I don’t need a How To Change A Light Bulb Poster. I can change a light bulb. Except for those fiddly little halogen lights in the bathroom that fall out into the bath when I’ve finished. And the bulbs screwed in above the bookcase in the living room wall; they are really hard to get to. And the one in the garage in the dark. It’s dark! But it’s a bright and fun gift that does actually take you through the steps if you are halogenically challenged.
8 The Mums’ Book
I do love a little flattery. It gets you everywhere. So how could I resist The Mums’ Book: For The Mum Who’s Best At Everything. It’s just so me. And useful too, full of inter-generational wisdom, practical tips and advice on things like curing the heebie jeebies, throwing an instant tea party and advice on handling those embarrassing ‘Oh Mum’ moments. Like the Ladybird series, this book has a lovely retro feel with it’s olde world pictures. Looking through I wonder if my own Mum might have used it.
9 Miracle Anti-Ageing Soap
I wasn’t sure whether to be insulted by this. I mean we all agree I am getting older but are they saying I need Miracle Anti-Ageing Soap now? Already? I am sure it is well intended though. More for staving off the effects of ageing than treating them. More reassuring is the fact they didn’t think I needed the Fanny Face Soap or the Miracle Beer Belly Reduction Soap And they ruled out the Instant Irish Accent Producing Breath Freshener as a con. My accent must be fine.
10 The Poetry of Parenthood
At last they got me. As the Poet in Motion and a parent too, how could I not be made to smile with a book of poetry about parenthood? I just know Holly McNish’s book Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood will fill with me joy. Expressing myself through prose has been a great way of keeping me sane through the madness of parenthood and I know Holly’s power to not just make me laugh but laugh out loud. This could be one to share. I mean kids should know the pain they put their parents through shouldn’t they?
11 Dear Mum Mug
I think I’d prefer a Dear Mum letter but if they can’t be bothered to write, email, SnapChat or Instagram me one then I suppose I’ll settle for a Dear Mum mug. This is one for anyone who has a sibling. Or was a sibling. Or hopes a sibling or anyone who has a sibling might occasionally put on the kettle on and make you a cup of tea. I do think it may cause fights though. Not over who gets to make me the cup of tea, nor who gets to drink from it but who gets to give it to me. For this Funny Mug speaks volumes of family dynamics. “Thanks for putting up with a spoiled, ungrateful, messy, bratty child” it says promisingly before concluding, “like my sibling.” And just in case you end up wondering who it’s from, it’s signed from “Your Favourite.” You know which one I assume.
If I do end up getting it I think I’ll use it in the bathroom while I’m locked away doing my anti ageing treatment. Or perhaps fill it with wine at breakfast (served just late enough to rechristen it brunch.) It will be a tale to tell at book group anyway, when we’ve finished dissecting War and Peace.
12 A smile is the greatest gift
It’s a silly list of silly things. And it made me smile, which is the real gift. And cost nothing. I hope you get something to make you smile on that special day. And just remember, the best gift of all is your kids.