May 4 2008
by Dory Devlin
You know if she knows you’re feeling the pinch this year with rising gas prices, job uncertainty, and all-around-everything-is-so-expensive anxiety, Mom is not going to want you to spend a ton on her this Mother’s Day.
The market analysts who watch just how much we spend on what predict fewer dollars will be spent on Mom this May, though not in a big way. The National Retail Federation says, on average, we’ll each spend $138.63 on presents for mom, down from $139.14 last year, which still adds up to $15.8 billion. Tons of dough, which most moms would rather you not spend.
With that in mind, I thought my obligatory Mother’s Day post on Work+Money would focus on what working moms could use for Mother’s Day. If you ask any working mom, top of her list would be time. More time to get everything done that needs to be done. Time to just stop and be with our families.
Since my blogging roots are in tech, I always think of tech-related ideas first because tech is supposed to help us be more productive at work so we have more time for the other parts of our lives. So here a few tech ideas, and more importantly, ideas to give mom some time apart from all of her demands, and some other great ideas from the women of Shine.
Smartphone for a smart mom: Okay, if your mom is looking to make the leap from basic flip phone to a smartphone that will allow her to text and email with a full QWERTY keyboard, check email easily while on the road, the iPhone is all the rage and is very cool, but RIM’s BlackBerry Curve will do everything she needs. If you go the BlackBerry/iPhone route, take a tip from my chat with Lisa Belkin on her Life’s Work XM radio show the other day: Tell her to turn off the beeps and sounds that let you know when every single email has arrived so it doesn’t make her less productive and stressed. (Lisa does.) If you’ve got an older mom who is having trouble seeing the tiny, tiny print on her mobile phone, I recommend the Jitterbug phone, which is so intuitive to use, has large type on the screen, and can always reach a live operator by pressing zero. After the initial $147 purchase price, you can tailor monthly plans to how you use the phone, for as low as $10 a month.
A photo gift you haven’t already given: Consider Photofiddle’s unique ways of turning a favorite photo in to a framed canvas oil painting or pop-art poster.
Camera: It’s a bit of a gimmick, but with a camera like the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T70, a mom can honestly tell the kids the camera won’t take a picture until everyone smiles. The Smile Shutter feature highlights faces then waits to detect a smile before allowing the shutter to do its thing. I like it for the 3-inch LCD touchscreen, its compact size, and the crisp photos it takes.
Time apart, oh, and some help: You’re never too young or too old to help with tough chores or odd jobs that will give your mom a break or just make her smile. When my husband was growing up, his mom would ask for a day of gardening/weeding with no arguing for Mother’s Day. She got lots of weeds pulled, but I’m not sure she ever got the no-arguing vow fulfilled.
But there are lots of things you can do. Sure, you can make breakfast, lunch, and even dinner, if you’re still young enough to live at home, that is. Do a job that just needs doing around the house. Get out for a long walk with your mom, and then just let her relax and enjoy the day. Don’t let her check her work email, or log onto the computer to get some work done. This is not the day for that.
If you’re able to do all of that and are still looking for some unique gift ideas, Check out Valerie Rains’ 5 thoughtful Mother’s Day gifts under $40. Cookie Magazine has a gift guide here. And don’t forget, Charlene is calling for posts on stories you want to share about your moms or the women who have filled those nurturing mom roles in our lives when we needed it most.