It’s not about the gifts… but isn’t it?

So it’s been a week since Mother’s day has come and gone… and I’m finally getting around to expressing my thoughts on the shit-show that befell me this year. And I dedicate this post to my husband, Newman, the most hopeless gift-picker-outter on the planet Earth. And to my beautiful son, Zachary,who knows when to be on his most terrible-twosome behavior. Here’s how it began….

7:14 AM- Hubby did the courteous thing and got up with Zac so I could sleep a little longer, but classic two-year-old behavior was in full swing. Like some sort of full moon + teething + growth spurt madness. Though none of those causes were about, so it was just random lunacy?  So seeing as I could hear Newman struggling to maintain sanity and dignity, I figured I may as well get up and be crazy too. I hear crazy loves company–plus, I am not one to watch or listen to someone have a hard time and just sit/lie there and do nothing to help. That’s just hard for me to do. The same cannot be said for all members of my household… but I digress.

So I walked hazily to the kitchen for a cup of coffee… the last <almost> cup in the pot. Scorched. Gross. Drank half of it anyway. Poured the other half over the pile of dirty dishes in the sink.

Next came “Oh honey, we have a present for you…”  Now, mind you, the aforementioned description of my husband. I had a feeling this was going to be dicey. But I was not prepared for the level of lame that my husband apparently felt challenged to deliver. Anyone who says “It’s not about the gifts”… is a big fat liar-face. Sure, it’s about the gifts. That’s why there are  special calendar holidays set aside to give them to people– notable example, “MOTHER’S DAY.” Fathers get their day in June. Jesus in December. Lovers in February. Kids get every other friggin day of the year. [fact] Now it is absolutely true that it is absolutely not about the amount of money spent on the gift… but it most certainly IS about some time and thought put into finding something special, just for the recipient of honor. Especially if said recipient made a whole human. That’s just science. So, last Sunday was my turn. And I was jilted.

You see, my husband likes to go for the “hodge-podge” gift. This is a bag of miscellaneous goodies/sundries that the recipient likes or uses regularly, and the giver assembles said items in a gift bag or basket of choice. Where this is appropriate for my stocking at Christmas time, it is a thoughtless replacement for actual sentiment on Mother’s Day. A hodge-podge bag is what you do when you don’t know what to do, or when you can’t find something appropriate in a reasonable price-range. This tactic should only be used once a year, at the most, and is best executed with a theme. (ie- coffee related items, beach related items, bookish related items etc.) Something related to a hobby or interest of that person! Here’s what my (re-used) bag contained on this epic Mother’s Day 2012:

Pack one of these in my lunch every day for a month and I might forgive this lame-ass gift bag.

1 Nutella To-Go pack Zac and I shared this immediately. It was cute. And I do love Nutella. So far so good. It goes downhill from here.

A bottle of Morning Fresh scent germ-X™ Really? This says to me– “Happy Mother’s Day! You’re icky!” or “Cheers! It’s allergy season!” Speaking of allergies…

2 boxes of Benedryl™ tabs Nothing says “you’re special” like antihistamine from the 88-cent bin at Wal-Mart?!

Reeses™ Cups HIS favorite Candy. Look, and there’s 2 in the pack! How thoughtful.

A king sized Kit-Kat Uh, random! I haven’t bought one of these at any time in my adult memory. They’re not horrible, just not my choice. Anyone who has ever taken me to the movies knows my favorite is Whoppers and sour gummies. Duh.

Had this been Phineas & Ferb, my disdain might have been slightly less….

A tiny Disney™ princess flashlight What the hell? PSSST- I’m nearly 30. And hardly a princess. And I have a free flashlight App on my phone. Idiot.

A Burt’s bees chapstick.Of which I already have 2. Backup?

A framed picture of Zac Almost a sweet idea, except the frame said World’s Best Mom and contained a blurry picture of Zachary from when he was about 8 months old. FAIL.

A honeysuckle scented jar candle. Not bad. If we are going for impersonal office Pollyanna gifts.

And, um, yeah. That’s it.

So I pulled out each item, thanked my husband politely and gracefully, and acted excited with Zachary over the $4 Hallmark card he scribbled in. (Ahem–most Moms prefer homemade cards, on this holiday in particular.) And then I cleared the sink’o’dishes and made everyone breakfast. (Raise your hand if you see what else is wrong with this picture.) Yeah I know; I said the same thing in my head.

Zac’s tantrums continued intermittently through lunchtime. My back was aching from carrying him back and forth to the Time-Out seat. My shins ached from being kicked on the way there. I finally wised up and changed him out of his sneakers and back into slippers. Bear in mind, Zachary rarely behaves this way. He is an even-tempered little guy, typically happy, a little toddler-ish in his “MINEisms,” but usually pretty easy-going. I didn’t know who this evil monster was, but I didn’t like him. And that was making me feel terribly guilty.  My head was hurting and tears were beginning to form, but I was trying to be a big girl. Nap time finally brought some relief, but I was filled with anxiety about how cranky he would wake up, and more guilt because I know how lucky I am that he is healthy enough to be so cantankerous. Would our after afternoon plans be spoiled as badly as my morning was? Would this day just end already?

I would have treasured this for 100 years or more…
(photo cred:

So anyway, I’m mad. Maybe selfishly so, but I don’t care. Newman could have taken HALF the money he spent on that bag of random crap and bought me a plant and had Zac fingerpaint the pot. Clever, simple, thoughtful. And super cheap! <Hmmm… messy, handprinty Pinterest-worthy craft idea forming.> Or he could have bought be a pedicure and a frap and left me alone for an hour. Let me also say that I have SIX SISTERS. Yes, I said SIX. And two girlfriends that live on our street! So it wouldn’t have been difficult for my husband to sleuth out what I might like for Mother’s Day.  I have 14 boards on Pinterest that are dedicated to shit I like. I’m kind of an open book.  But not one item in that stupid bag said “I love you. You’re a good mom. And I think about you and what makes you tick.” Hell, most of it didn’t even say “We’ve met twice.”

I didn’t want diamonds. (I mean, I’ll take em’! But I don’t require them.) I wanted sentiment and time. But I know he did what a lot of husbands do–he went to Wal-mart on Saturday and gathered up whatever was handy and charged it to my credit card. (What? You mean to tell me I am paying 10.9% interest on Nutella™? Seriously, $%$&  you.)  Perhaps I am being ungrateful, but I truly would rather he just didn’t bother at all. I don’t need anything fancy or expensive, but I need better than Benedryl™.

So husbands, sons, boyfriends, and other shopping defunct members of society– Here’s a simple message. Gifts for your loved ones are thoughtful items that the recipient would not ordinarily buy for themselves. Gifts are related to the recipient’s interests. Gifts can be hand-crafted, ESPECIALLY for Mother’s Day!  Gifts are not ever, ever, ever hand-sanitizer.

I hope I have done other lousy gift recipients of the world a service by making it known to all who read and share this…

That it most certainly IS about the gifts.

PS- For Father’s Day, I’m planning to get Newman a can of Skoal™ and a bag of Doritos.™


Please post in a comment to this post the worst gift you have ever received… I would love to know who can top the bag’o’fun, circa Mother’s Day 2012. Though I’m fairly certain it shall go down in history…


About dramafreemama

I am a wife, homeowner, teacher, sister, pet-owner, and friend...But the most humbling and moving role in my life to date is that of a mother, or better yet, a MOMMY. We live in a rural area of Virginia and we keep it simple. This blog is about juggling life in all these different roles. Please subscribe/follow and ENJOY!
This entry was posted in Crafting, DIY projects, Embarrassing moments, Gifts, Holidays, Marriage, Motherhood, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to It’s not about the gifts… but isn’t it?

  1. amysteindler says:

    You can use MY credit card for the Skoal and the Dorito’s, hon. But I’m worried–did I miss a sister? DeeDee, Julie, Dara, Stephanie, Becky…Either you’re an English teacher for good reason, or my age is catching up with me.

  2. And I thought my mothers day was bad! My near three year old misbehaved all day and my husband was grumpy and rude to us all. The gift wasn’t too bad… He let me pick what sweet treat I wanted from the grocery store! A week later I bought the book I’d been wanting for 16 bucks!

  3. Ginna says:

    Does Newman dip? Either way, the can of Scoal is amusing, but if he does not that makes it about as useful as the Princess flashlight.

  4. Heather says:

    Oh my goodness …you weren’t lying when you told me he was a bad gift giver! I really have no words!

    • He’s notoriously “un-thoughtful.” It’s kind of sad. Because I love to give gifts. I pride myself of choosing perfect gifts! I just don’t think it’s hard if you truly KNOW a person.

  5. Kathy says:

    I think you should buy him the pedicure & frap & then go use them yourself. Tell him his father’s day gift is to spend fatherly time with his boys all by hisself.

    • I like it… Look honey, I bought you a pair of earrings and a purse and a giftcard for a mani-pedi! Now I’m going to keep it while you handle the boys’ dinner alone. Peace.

  6. Oh I forgot! There was also a microwave egg poacher and a sport sipper water bottle in the gift bag… the lameness of these two items speak for themselves and need no further explanation. I can’t believe I forgot them!

  7. sarah says:

    This was too funny, but kind of sad :(! Why do men stink so bad at gifts???? I don’t know if I would have rather got what you did, or what I did, which was nothing. No wait, I did get breakfast. Then a cookout, but that was not his idea or his funds, so…….

  8. Stephanie says:

    Haha! For mother’s day my husband gave me a card that said Happy Mother’s Day scribbled across the front of a piece of construction paper folded in half and You are a good mom. Thanks for all you do. Scribbled on the inside. That’s it. Not even decorated. Then he let me pick the music we listened to in the car. But only for the second half of the ride because the first half he had forgotten that it was mother’s day. Lovely!

  9. amanda says:

    This is freaking hilarious!! Really was lmao while trying not to wake anyone..I must ask …did Newman like his fathers day gift? I’m going to guess you had a change of heart and got him something thoughtful. I’d love to know. And for mother’s day I received a plyboard bookshelf. $29.99 at biglots. Now I can store all of my textbooks. How lovely! I would have rather had the nutella 🙂

  10. Nicole says:

    I know I am a little late on reading this – but I just about wet my pants reading this! You are hysterical! 🙂

  11. One Funny Motha says:

    My hand is raised!!!! Oh.My.God. I was laughing the whole way through this. My favorite, my all-time favorite, was the 2 boxes of Benedryl AND the Disney princess flashlight. Just, WHAT?

    And I will see you your “It’s Not About the Gifts” and raise you some “Husband Shaming:”

  12. pathtopregnancy says:


  13. Victoria says:

    I’m sorry your Mother’s Day was so bad. Hopefully, it will go better this year. Thanks for linking up at #ThrowbackThursdayLP.

  14. Oh man! So on time my then boyfriend (now fiance) was out of town on my birthday. He actually left the morning of my birthday, but he left after I left for work. So i came home to this big box. I really thought it was going to be a new computer. It turned out to be a filing cabinet, that came unassembled. I thought it was a gag gift but when i called my boyfriend he was like I got it since you handle all the bills, now you have a way to organize it.

    The next year for my birthday I came home expecting something more exciting and was told there was two bags of doritos on the counter (which granted, I love) because they were on sale (why would you admit that???) and there is an ice cream cake in the freezer,

    My work friends eagerly await updates after christmas and my birthday.

    He is lucky I love him ; )

  15. lol…omgoodess…GermX – nooooooo. I knew this was going to be a funny post when I read: “not prepared for the level of lame that my husband apparently felt challenged to deliver…” And…those Nutella Go-Packs are really tasty! A Disney princess flashlight…too too funny.

  16. satrntgr says:

    Love the plant, that is beautiful!!

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