Let’s be honest: There’s nothing you can buy for Mom this Mother’s Day that she’ll treasure more than the ceramic cast of your handprint that you made for her in kindergarten. Except a yacht. She’d probably like a yacht. Barring the purchase of a multi-million dollar luxury watercraft, however, we suggest you treat her to a priceless gift that won’t cost you a cent this Mother’s Day.
1. Call Her
Don’t text her. Don’t email her. Call her. We know, we know; the thought of picking up a telephone and actually speaking into it is borderline horrifying, but trust us, the only present Mom wants this year is to hear the sweet sound of your voice. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but, to a mom, an emoji is worth squat.
2. Clean Her House
Mom spent a lot of time cleaning up after you. About 18 years, to be exact. This Mother’s Day, pull on some rubber gloves, grab a mop, channel your merriest inner maid, and return the favor. Sure, you could hire a cleaning service to do the job (and, admittedly, they’d do it better), but the pleasure Mom gets from this gift is knowing you think she’s worth the extra elbow grease. Plus, she’ll get a little secret satisfaction out of watching you scrub the kitchen floor while she kicks back with a mimosa.
3. Binge That Show She Likes Together
Yes, we’re suggesting you Netflix and Chill with your mother. If there’s one thing Mom loves more than The Great British Bake Off, it’s having a companion with which to debate the merits of Susan’s scones versus Rhonda’s rugelach. Plus, you know what? That show is actually really good.
4. Wear That Sweater She Gave You
You know the one. The one with the little pompoms and all the floral embellishments that she gave you for your birthday three years ago and has since languished in its original box in the back of your closet, behind your winter parka and under the galoshes you bought but don’t wear because it turns out they’re actually a little too yellow. Take that sweater out of exile and wear it proudly to Mother’s Day brunch. Mom will eat it up.
5. Let Her Brag About You
In front of you. Without protesting. Resisting the urge to explain to Janet from Book Club that being a sales manager does not, in fact, mean you’re essentially the CEO’s understudy is going to be tough, but you can do it. Half the reasons moms even have kids is so that one day they can boast about their inflated accomplishments to their friends and to people they meet in the linens department of HomeGoods.
6. Ask Her For Her Advice...And Then Actually Take It
Moms want to feel that, grown up or not, their kids still need them. Spoiler alert: they do! The natural impulse for kids of moms everywhere is to respond to helpful advice with a long, whining “Okayyyyy”—and then immediately discard it. Show Mom some respect this Mother’s Day by asking her for her sage wisdom on a matter you’re grappling with, and then take that advice. You might find that you’re both pleasantly surprised.
7. Explain To Her What a Meme Is For The 17th Time
Or is it the 27th? Never mind—just explain it again and try not to get annoyed. It’s a brave new world out there on the internet, and now that moms have smartphones, they’ve got as much access to it as the rest of us. And moms want to be in the know. Think about how out-of-touch you felt when you heard that kids were eating Tide Pods and pulling condoms out of their noses. (Seriously, though, why are they doing that?) That’s how moms feel when they hear about memes. Help a mother out!
8. Look Through Old Photo Albums With Her
The only thing moms like more than poring over old photos and reminiscing about how cute you were as a baby is poring over even older photos and reminiscing about what great legs they had in the summer of ‘72. Moms all lived exciting, colorful lives long before you came along, and it makes them feel young to share them with you. Look at the pictures.
9. Let Her Teach You Something New
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can teach an old child new life skills. And trust us, life skills are something we could all use a lot more of. This Mother’s Day, spend an afternoon letting your mother teach you how to properly poach an egg. Or balance a checkbook. Or iron a shirt without getting water all over the place. You know what? This might take longer than an afternoon.
10. Put Your Phone Down
All the way down. All any parent wants is more face time with their child. (Not to be confused with FaceTime.) So put your phone on DND and get your nose out of your screen. You’ll be surprised to find that Instagram somehow survived without you, your potential Tinder matches are still hopefully waiting for you to swipe right, and that your mom is actually pretty cool to spend a day with.
Moms! We’ve all got ’em. (It’s kind of a biological prerequisite.) So treat your momma right, you hear?