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MacBean's avatar

What would you do for your mother in this situation?

Asked by MacBean (19524points) May 2nd, 2010

Let’s say, just for sh!ts and giggles, you’re a 26-year-old agoraphobic, currently living at home with your parents while you recover from brain surgery and work on overcoming your anxiety so you can hold down a job.

Let’s also say that it’s your mother’s birthday. It’s a big one, too. Let’s say 60. You don’t particularly like your mother, but she’s doing her damnedest to support you right now, and you definitely appreciate this and do not take it for granted. Therefore, you’d like to do something nice for her today.

The trouble is, you have no source of income, so you can’t buy her anything. You can’t even ask your dad if you can borrow some money because he nearly lost three fingers to a snow blower in January and has been out of work every since, so the whole family is getting worryingly short on cash.

You have some creative skills, so you could probably make something for her. The trouble here is that, as mentioned, while you appreciate her, you don’t really like her. Anything you create would probably end up being forced and insincere, and you really hate that. It’s starting to look like this is the only choice, though.

Can anybody think of any other options?

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14 Answers

shrubbery's avatar

You could wait on her hand and foot all day. Not so much that it tires you out too much because you’re having a hard time but enough little things to show that you do appreciate her. Breakfast in bed? Make the sandwiches for lunch? Cook dinner? Fold her laundry? Be a little house elf (by choice of course) :P

rooeytoo's avatar

Do a painting or something creative for yourself because it brings you joy and peace to create. Then give it to your mom after the fact. Shouldn’t be forced or insincere that way but would achieve the desired result.

gemiwing's avatar

I would make her something and make it with the thought of appreciating her supporting you- not something because you like her. Make the appreciation of her help the subject and not the forced ‘what a great person you are’ b.s. mantra.

I like @rooeytoo ‘s idea as well. Make it for you and then give it to her. Or make her something she can use like a purse or afghan.

I would stay away from anything with words, as in my experience, they tend to be confused/backfire when dealing with people who use words as weapons. Make her some bath salts, draw a pretty card that says happy birthday and call it a day.

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tinyfaery's avatar

Just a small token and some heartfelt words should do it. Remember, you’ll probably be taking care of her someday. That’s the best way to show your appreciation.

cornbird's avatar

You can take her to a fun place like the movies or to the beach. @ucme thats disgusting..

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Invite some of her friends over for lunch as a small surprise party. I did this for my mother-in-law; I had “tea” for her and three of her friends. Made a cake, made fancy little sandwiches, made tea. Used the good china, put flowers on the table. She was surprised, and her friends thought it was a wonderful idea.

Organize a birthday card shower for her. Contact everyone she knows by phone or e-mail, and ask them to send her a birthday card.

One year, my daughter gave me 2,000 family photos scanned to disks so I could have them to use and look at. It was great. Organize something that needs organizing.

Supacase's avatar

Make her a nice dinner and birthday cake. It doesn’t have to be elaborate and you can use what is already in the kitchen. Or ask her what she wants for dinner so you will know the ingredients will be on hand. The cake can be the surprise.

How about painting a terracotta flower pot and planting some flowers? Or, if she likes to cook, two or three smaller pots planted with herbs. (They have small pre-potted terracotta pots that you could paint for $1 at Target right now – both flowers and herbs.) Paint a little plate to put them on so they look like a set. $5 gift at most and maybe a friend could pick up the few things from Target.

There are plenty of other creative things that would not necessarily seem insincere. I don’t know what your talents are, so it is hard to make specific suggestions. I do think that anything you do above and beyond what you normally do for her birthday will be considered extra special to her.

laureth's avatar

Yeah, I was going to say “cook something,” too. Cupcakes are pretty easy and who can resist them? besides, she never has to put them on the mantel to show off for years to come. Are these the sort of people that have common ingredients like flour, eggs, sugar, and milk pretty much always around?

MacBean's avatar

Lots of great ideas, guys! Keep ‘em coming, because Mother’s Day is coming up, and I’ll end up at the edge of panic all over again, I’m sure. I have such a terrible time figuring out what to get/do for her for holidays. The beginning of May is always so stressful for me. Blech.

For today, since it’s such extreme short notice, I took the cooking idea and made breakfast. French toast (her absolute favorite food for any meal), hash, eggs, and bacon. It was a hit!

laureth's avatar

That’s an awesome idea! I’m glad it went over well. Must be a relief.

MacBean's avatar

@laureth: Definitely. Now all I have to do is avoid pissing her off for the rest of the day and it’ll be golden. XD

partyparty's avatar

What about cooking her a meal you know she really likes. Make the table look pretty, sit her down an serve the meal to her.

Jeruba's avatar

@gemiwing‘s advice to avoid words is a good idea. For this reason it may also be best to stay away from commercially made cards that tend to hyperbole and excess of gushing sentiment. (I have faced this problem quite a few times in strained relationships over the years.) You want to say “I hope your occasion is a happy one” without having to add “because you’re the world’s greatest mom.”

One Mother’s Day, here is what I asked my family for. I said (as always) “No presents—a card would be nice.” (I am a steadfast holdout against forces that try to turn every event of the year into a commercial bonanza. Hallowe’en trees! Valentine gifts! Begone!) But instead of going out to a restaurant or preparing a fancy dinner at home, I asked each of them to spend a half hour with me, just a private, uninterrupted half hour of undivided attention. And when the turn of each one came, I asked one question: “Please talk to me about something that is really important to you.” And then I sat and listened. It was great.

Any possibilities there—in either direction?

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