All I Got was a Lousy Chocolate Bar.

by Risa Green

 

I’m not usually one to complain about my husband; most of the time, he’s pretty thoughtful, and he does his fair share with the kids, and I know that deep down, all he wants is to make me happy. Which are nice qualities to have in a husband. But somehow, this Mother’s Day, my husband seemed to have misplaced those qualities.

 

Let me just say that I don’t expect a fancy, expensive gift from my husband on Mother’s Day. In the past, I’ve gotten a cute dress (that I promptly exchanged for a cuter one), a silver necklace with my kids’ names on it, a beautiful pedestal mirror for my vanity…things like that. Usually, I drop hints starting a few weeks before; an “ooh, look at that mirror” as we stroll by a shop window, a page ripped out of a catalogue and conspicuously left on the kitchen counter, a subtle hint about how I really need some new things for summer. Usually, he gets the hint, and whatever it was that I mentioned ends up in pretty wrapping paper on Mother’s Day morning, and I pretend to be amazed at how good he is at picking out just the thing that I wanted (except for the dress, which was not at all what I wanted, and hence the exchange). This year was no different. I told my daughter about a shirt I liked in a store window; I casually mentioned a few times how much I really need a zoom lens for my camera; I pulled a picture of a table-top fire pit out of the Frontgate catalogue and left it on his nightstand. Nothing fancy. Nothing super-expensive. It’s not like I asked for diamonds or anything.

 

The night before Mother’s Day we went out with some friends and got home late – almost midnight, in fact. As I was brushing my teeth, my husband reminded me that it was going to be Mother’s Day in just a few minutes, and asked if I wanted my present now. I told him sure. And I’ll be honest, I was kind of excited, because if he couldn’t even wait to give it to me until the morning, then I figured that it must have been a pretty good present. Maybe, I thought, he’d gotten me the ring I’d fallen in love with at the fundraising boutique for my daughter’s school. Or, maybe he’d gotten me the purse that I’ve been drooling over for two months but that I knew was too expensive for me to justify buying for myself.

 

cyn
06.03.10

Risa, I would have felt the same way as you if that were my husband, YOU DESERVE a better gift than a chocolate bar. What was he thinking? lol. sorry. So what if you're not HIS mother you are the MOTHER OF HIS children for crying out loud.

I'm all about "it's the thought that counts" but
I'm with YOU on this one.

lengeft1
05.13.10

Also, the email I received for this story from Mommy Tracked talked about all of the "sacrifices" we have made, and all of the "sleep lost" in the name of being Mothers. I'd do it all over again, and this time, I'd try to do it better. I'm not perfect, a saint, or a martyr...but I loved my kids when the test showed positive, and I love them now, and I've never considered any of the life-changes I've made because I had them to be sacrifices.
I grew up with a mother who was never satisfied with anything anyone did. I know she never really wanted children, because she told me, quite seriously, as an adult, that she didn't. Nothing my father could do (now, he was far from perfect as well) could please her. The final, custom designed, hideously extravagant diamond ring he purchased for her (she has three) was shown to me, by him, the day before their anniversary. He was grinning like a nut, tickled to death he'd gotten her something that he thought she'd really like and admire, something very unique and stunning. He asked me to wrap it as elaborately as possible. My mother denounced the "store-bought wrap job", and announced to the world that he only got it for her to impress his job associates (whom she rarely encounters). I've always wished that she had seen that goofy, school-boy's-first-crush grin.
I don't send my mom MD presents anymore, as she either complains about them (not to conceal her pleasure, these are real complaints), or doesn't use them (even gift cards to her favorite bookstores remain in her wallet, untouched, sometimes for years). I call her. Sometimes we have a pleasant chat, and sometimes, well...not so.
My husband and our son surprised me with a gigantic, bean-bag like squashy chair in florescent pink this year. Delightful. My older son, who lives with his dad, who can be very difficult, but who was raised largely by my husband and I, brought me very wilted flowers, and two horror movies from the $3.99 bargain bin at the grocery store (he is 18, but, he has issues). I love him for this, I love my husband for instilling a sense of caring in him that is still there, despite all of his problems, I love my "little guy" for being honest enough to give me that hopeful look, but not actually ask, because he wanted to see his movie on opening weekend.
Motherhood's reward is that first thrill of life, and the knowledge that you are responsible for a brand-new human being. It is not Push-presents (loathsome, the man is supposed to give you diamonds because you helped decide to conceive...and biologically, females carry, labor, and deliver? What crap), or fancy gifts, or days of leisure. And I have been a more than full time working mother, too, and still did not have these material expectations. I have my children...until I don't. Hopefully, they will never completely cut that invisible bond of love.

lengeft1
05.13.10

Yowza. My husband was home for Mother's Day. I told him to go see Iron Man II with my twelve year old son, who was dying to see it. They went to the 10:00 am show. I want to see it too, but I'll wait until it's been out a couple of weeks, as I don't care for crowds. The Friday before MD, we went to dinner at my mom-in-law's favorite restaurant, because she's a little picky (not a problem), and going to a nice dinner on Mother's Day is such a hassle. I don't expect my husband to cook dinner, or breakfast on MD. He gets up at 5:00 am five days a week and goes to work, and strives to be home for family dinners, spends 95% of his free time with me and our son, is my lover, my friend, and my confidant, and the best father a child could ask for. I love, respect and trust him, and he does the same for me.
I am well past the stage in which the material matters. His continued presence in my life, the child we share, the love, support and parenting he has given my older son, his step-child, and the joy in my life are what I value most. He has, in the past, given me gifts from the ridiculous (bagpipes that sent my children screaming in terror, and which I never could learn how to play) to the sublime (a one of a kind handcrafted pendant made by a fascinating, brilliant and utterly humble artist). But, most worthy and stunning of all, he has given me his heart. What more could I hope for?

OTGO88
05.12.10

I know we are taught that Mother's Day is supposed to be one thing: a day off for Mom, gifts from the family. However you celebrate though, should be enjoyable to you and without stress. I got cute cards from everyone in the family and a box of chocolate covered cherries. I don't really like chocolate covered cherries, but I said "Thank you" anyways. Later in the day I took the kids out by myself to a local garden center. They have a llama and chicken farm. It was fun to hang out with the kids and look at the animals and just sit on the grass. It was our time and I loved every minute of it.

I know you feel kind of passed over with your chocolate bar gift, Risa, but I'm sure your husband didn't mean to upset you. I've been on the receiving end of that situation. I bought my husband some birthday gifts -- things I thought he would like. Well, turned out, that's not what he "wanted" and he made a big deal out of that. It really hurt my feelings that he wasn't happy with the gifts. I didn't even realize that I had missed previous hints. So, try not to be too hard on your man. Especially if he usually hits the mark. You all will be together for a long time -- and sometimes he will not get the right gift. Anyways, it's interesting for me to hear the other side. I thought it was funny when you said, "it's the thought, but a bad thought, thank you."

Cheers!

mcderas
05.12.10

Somehow, Father's Day is always so much better for Dads (they get to sleep in, have breakfast made, lounge around, good presents). Maybe that's because it's organized by Moms.

IgotUbabe
05.12.10

Take the chocolate, Risa. For Mom's day I received ticks from the dog, and a torn upper lip frenulum (Google it) from my son (his, not mine). DH is out of town for 19 days, and on his way out of town he said "Happy Mother's Day. I didn't get you anything."

I was pretty bummed until my friend told me that some planet is in retrograde. All is supposed to be right with the world tomorrow so my fingers are crossed for you, me and other mom's that the universe jilted on Sunday.

Dani7587
05.12.10

OMG, I am laughing so hard I can't breathe!! All I got for Mother's Day was a lousy card! You can imagine the fight that followed... I believe I mentioned my c-section scar at least 3 times!

Anyway, thanks ever so much for the great laugh. I read your post to my husband. He seems appropriately chagrined. Here's to better Mother's Days in the future!

workingmomofthree
05.12.10

workingmomofthree
I was so bummed on Mother's Day I cried! My son's school moved to Parent's Day - so the lovely handmade gift from my child wasn't there, I made breakfast for everyone, spent most of the day alone b/c my husband was working BUT expected some celebration at the end of the day. nope. Flowers and some cake then was told to order in for dinner? I'm with the theory that it's the thought that counts - I would have LOVED it if my husband and kids made dinner for me and just fussed over me a bit - that's it- but no, no prezzies, no dinner. I was just so bummed about it and my husband didn't get it? Really after 14 years together? Ugh. No Father's Day gift - feeling too salty about the whole darn thing.

glossy
05.11.10

Risa, I think you are kind of missing the point. He listens to you and pays attention, and there was thought behind the chocolate bar. Good intentions. You should maybe think about not being so materialistic. Are those the values you want to pass on to your children? Also...you are not HIS mother. He doesn't have to GET you anything. Personally I love the homemade breakfasts and cards my kids make me - it's from them, and it's from the heart. My husband can spoil me on my birthday or anniversary, or Valentines Days. But Mothers' Day is for the kids to show how much they appreciate you. To expect some kind of largess from your husband because you are being a martyr about motherhood is a little skewed You know that cliche "it's the thought that counts"? -- well it's actually true, dear.

lamboone
05.11.10

I can do you one better. I got a package of Hostess orange cupcakes, handed to me in a plastic grocery bag by one of my 3 daughters several hours after I had gotten up and while I was in the middle of vacuuming the living room. All three girls did make me lovely cards and gifts at school though :)