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The Most Brutal Mom Reactions to Your Mother’s Day Gift We’ve All Heard Before

By Katie Hoffman @katienotholmes

Moms are notoriously hard to please, and it's never more impossible to escape their savage momisms than on Mother's Day. On the surface, finding the perfect Mother's Day gift seems deceptively straightforward: a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a peapod necklace with a pea representing each of her children, a brunch date at her favorite restaurant. Simple. For any person who hasn't spawn, any of these gifts would be touching, thoughtful gestures, but moms are different. They don't operate on the same gift-receiving frequency as the rest of us. The question you need to ask when shopping for a mom is not, "What to get for the woman who has everything?" but, "What to get for the woman who doesn't want anything and resents the insinuation that she wants, needs, or likes anything?"

The more certain you are that this is the year you'll surprise your mom with a sweet gift, the more likely it is you're going to disappoint her as much as that time you got a D on a math test in high school. You know, the one she casually mentions from time to time - usually on the heels of some good news - that was so devastating at the time that you've spent the rest of your life trying to become successful enough to erase the shame? Before you get too optimistic about what you have planned for that special Sunday, prepare yourself for the worst with these common - yet still uniquely brutal - mom reactions to your Mother's Day gift.

"You shouldn't spend all your money on me! You need to save. If you keep spending like this, you'll never be able to retire. Can you even afford this?"

You heard whispers of this admonishment in your mind, like holding up a mom conch shell to your ear, but for the life of you, you can't remember what flawed chutes and ladders of decision-making brought you to the Amazon checkout screen with this $100 FitBit in your cart. Seriously, what got into you? It seems immaterial, now, that two months prior you were shopping with your mom and she said, "I'd like to be able to track my steps. Maybe I'll look into one of those BitFits." None of that matters now. Mom is so upset that she's going to get her drill sergeant-turned-financial planner's business card. This feels a lot like that time you got mom a sticky hand from the quarter machine and she discontinued your allowance because your risk appetite was unreasonable.

"Where on earth am I going to put that? You know I don't have a lot of space for that kind of stuff. It's very nice, though."

The offending "that" in question here is a collage frame filled with your most cherished photos of you and your mom through the years. You remember wiping a tear from your eye when you put that last picture in place, one of you and mom at an elementary school play in which you made your acting debut as a potted plant. You thought that perhaps she could make space on the fireplace mantle, maybe move one of the vases with glass beads into storage. Or maybe she should take down one of the five pictures of Mitzie, the Himalayan cat who took your place in her heart when you overflowed the tub providing an aquatic adventure for your rubber ducks at age three. But that's okay. It was presumptuous to give a gift requiring 24" of wall space.

"Oh, I don't need this, sweetie. I would have been happy with a new bottle of laundry detergent! We're running low on Tide, and I don't have a coupon."

On the advice of an article titled, "Make Mom Feel Like a Bigger Queen Than Beyoncé This Mother's Day with These Gift-Giving Tips," this year you got mom "something she doesn't need and probably doesn't want, but will make her feel special and loved according to the universal edicts of how women like to be pampered." You put that little voice in your head on silent and bought her a gift certificate to a fancy spa and a bouquet of peonies instead of the carpet cleaner she's been dropping hints about. "I don't want her to think her entire existence revolves around cleaning! This is a good gift," you encouraged yourself. What on earth were you thinking? Mom has no use for relaxation-you know this. If anything, you should have gift-wrapped an anvil and a gift card for a blacksmithing class, because your mom is only happy with gifts that involve toiling.

"You should really keep this for yourself. I have no use for it."

This is potentially the worst gift reaction, because no gift anyone has bought their mother for Mother's Day is anything they want to keep for themselves, whether it's a sweatshirt with embroidered flowers on it or a monogram address stamp. Now you have to make a decision: do you want to keep this 15-piece kitchen gadget collection, or take it back to the Bed, Bath and Beyond endcap - a siren for disillusioned Mother's Day shoppers growing more and more comfortable with the idea of buying a World's Best Mom visor - from whence it came. In all honesty, you knew when you bought it that you were buying the scented candle equivalent of Mother's Day gifts, but you remember your thought process went something like: "Who doesn't need more slotted spoons???" At least now you know the answer to that question is the same as the comeback to every insult: yo momma.

"Put that away."

You're about to throw down in the restaurant, and your server hasn't even been by to sweep away your syrupy French toast plate. When you made a slow move for your wallet, mom flinched like a deer. She grabbed her purse and repelled inside it like a traveler descending into a mine of folded tissues, pens, loose change, and more pairs of glasses than anyone needs to carry on their person. "Don't you pay for me!" her voice echoes from the depths of her Nine West bag. You hear rustling and the faint chirping of a canary while she looks for cash. You thought - erroneously - that being an adult meant that for special occasions your mom might allow you to pick up the bill, especially for the cheapest meal of the day, in an effort to make a smell dent in the hundreds of thousands of dollars you owe her from by being born. It looks like it might be time to start considering mom bankruptcy.

"This is nice. But do you remember that adorable drawing of me you made in first grade?"

Ever since first grade you've been on a hopeless pursuit to top the drawing you gave mom for Mother's Day that year. That's why exactly three years ago to the day you commissioned a famed glass blower to create a beautiful one-of-a-kind vase for this occasion. You could hardly believe your eyes when you saw the finished product: it was without question the loveliest flower vessel you'd ever laid eyes upon; yet even this was not enough to top the washable marker on construction paper that your mom showcases in the hallway next to your graduation picture. What you've never had the heart to tell her is that the picture was not a portrait of her, but a rendering of a Tyrannosaurus-Rex carrying a purse.

"What a lovely card. This is really beautiful. You always find the best cards."

Kudos, you did something right. It only took throwing a few elbows in the Hallmark Mother's Day section and spending half an hour doing a close reading of each card, line by line. You remember the card you nearly bought. It didn't have as many glittery flowers as the one you chose, and it contained the line, "Mom, we share an unfathomable kinship no other earthly being could understand," which you thought crossed the line from sentimental to straight up sappy. Nevertheless, it's never easy being reminded that somewhere out there there's a card writer who would make a better son or daughter.

If you really want to impress mom, consider accepting her friend request on Facebook so she can actually see those nice things you're posting about her on Mother's Day.

The Most Brutal Mom Reactions to Your Mother’s Day Gift We’ve All Heard Before

Katie Hoffman is a writer living in the suburbs of Chicago. She enjoys leftovers, lunges, and laughs.

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