Things I Really Like

Top Five Worst Mother’s Day Gifts EVER!!

May 7, 2014


Mother’s Day is just around the corner so I thought it would helpful to all you people with moms if I gave a quick rundown of what not to get her for that day in honor of her. I’m not talking about macaroni necklaces or hand made cards, those are cherished gifts which moms always love. If you are giving her those things you aren’t old enough to be reading this post. This primer is for the new dad who is clueless about what to give his wife during those years when the children don’t have jobs of their own so they can splurge on their mother.


After extensive research (okay, I asked everyone on Facebook and Twitter) I compiled a list of the top five worst ever gifts that women have received for Mother’s Day. If you have already purchased one of these gifts you have time to take it back and get something she might really like. Who am I kidding? I’ve been to Walgreens on Mother’s Day morning. You can’t walk through the card aisle because of all the men searching hopelessly for cards.

The Top Five Mother’s Day Gifts (Don’t get these)

1. The You’re-Not-My-Mom non gift.

Men who make the mistake of giving this gift usually only give it once. They are so scarred from the after effects of giving this gift that it never happens again. If you have managed to receive this gift and remained married, most gifts following this one are pretty good. Guys, you are right, she isn’t your mother. She is just the woman who gave birth to your child. Cut the apron strings and get with the program.

2. Anything Automotive

Women don’t want new wiper blades and they certainly don’t want a pair of fuzzy dice, even if you found them in pink. Same goes for a new set of tires or an oil change. You should be doing these things for her anyway. The only acceptable automotive gift for a woman on Mother’s Day is a Mercedes CL65 AMG. If this is in your price range, by all means, go automotive.

3. Household Appliances

This seems to be the most popular gift and yet it is so wrong. Guys, I know you are trying to help her by getting something, anything, that might lessen her workload. It is a nice gesture but it says to the woman that you think she could do a better job cleaning if she just had the right tools. And maybe she could. If your house is filled with dust bunnies and you can’t find the dog then get her a  male servant named Sven. There is one exception, besides Sven, to the no household appliances rule. A Dyson. Women would sell their first born for one of these. You can’t go wrong with a Dyson.

4. Cook Books/Diet Books

Because nothing says “I love you” like How to Lose 30 lbs in 30 Days or Go Make Me a Sandwich.  Listen, books are great, and if you can give her an hour of peace so she can actually read the book I say go for it. Better yet, get a gift certificate to a local online bookstore so she can order what she wants. In fact get her a Kindle or an iPad so she can easily download the books she wants when she wants them. Just don’t imply that she needs to lose some baby fat or her cooking skills need a little work. You can do that some other day.

5. The Homemade Gift Certificate/Coupon Book

These are very popular gifts for Mother’s Day. However, they scream that you forgot all about Mother’s Day and threw something together at the last minute. The intent is great, you will do the dishes each night for a month, back rubs on demand, taking the kids to the park for an hour each week. We’ve all received these at one time or another. The problem is there is no follow through. There has never been any evidence in recorded history of a woman being able to successfully redeem these coupons. Skip this one unless you can gift wrap Sven. Better yet, get her a real gift certificate from a luxe spatique.

Guys, you still have time to make this the best Mother’s Day ever. I’ve given you plenty of perfectly acceptable gift ideas that won’t get you time in the doghouse. And remember, Father’s Day follows Mother’s Day for a reason.

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  • JD at I Do Things

    Dang, I want a Sven.

    My husband got me an electric can opener for my birthday one year. And it was broken. Another year he wrapped up some floppy disks onto which someone had copied the latest version of Microsoft Word. I get better presents now, but still, nothing like a gift-wrapped Sven.

    • babs (beetle)

      A can opener? Ha ha! I've heard it all now.

      • JD at I Do Things

        And he really thought he was doing something nice for me. He presented it by showing me the can of chili he wished me to prepare for him for supper, and said, “But now, you can open this can so much more easily!” Fail.

        • babs (beetle)

          I know I keep saying this but… Poor Dave ha ha ha!

          • JD at I Do Things

            At least I haven't blogged about the can opener incident . . . yet.

    • redheadranting

      I got on of those once, it was broken too. Floppy discs? That's so wrong.

    • aweber

      floppy disks and can openers, love it LOL

  • Anne

    Now I want Sven for Mother's Day. I have gotten sweeping products for Mother's Day, but the worst gift was an exercise video. Nothing says I love you like, “You need to work out.”

    • redheadranting

      That is a bad one. Has he made up for it since then?

  • Lola

    Yeah, I knew something was up when my ex-partner gave me wiper blades for Christmas.

    • redheadranting


  • staciesmadness


  • babs (beetle)

    I can only laugh at this, because I'm not a mother, therefore have never received anything on mothers day. I no longer have my mother, so can't buy her anything. Now I'm all sad :( Mind you, I'm not sad that I haven't received any of these so-called gifts.

    Call me old fashioned but nothing says it better than an expensive perfume, plus a humongous box of chocs and some flowers. And Sven of course!!

    • redheadranting

      Chocolates, flowers and don't forget jewelry (the real stuff, nothing cubic
      zirconiumish) are always good gifts but aren't as good as a Sven or

      • babs (beetle)

        I forgot the diamonds 😉

  • Rachele Bennett

    I'll take a Dyson. Jewelry is good too. Heck I say just take the kids out for the day and leave me home with my kindle (that you just bought me) and come back just in time to make or take me out to dinner. Is that too much to ask?

    On another note…
    I clicked on the “like” button for you FB page and apparently I had already liked you so it subtracted one. I re-clicked and it added it back. I Would hate for your numbers to go down because people really like you and click it every time they're here and don't realize it's subtracting.

    • redheadranting

      That sounds like a perfect day to me. Just take the kids. Luckily for me
      Mother's Day falls on the “other weekend” when the kids are with dad. No
      breakfast in bed to clean up after!

      I don't get the like thing either. Thanks for clicking and then clicking
      again to make sure you really like me. I don't know how to take the clicky
      part off. I think they changed it when they stopped calling it a fan page.

  • comedyplus

    I'd rather just have a card thank you. Good grief.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  • Alison

    Hahahaha. I gave my husband a coupon book once for either his birthday or Father's Day. I will make the worst gifts for father's day list. 😛

    My husband doesn't know what to get me. And my kids really can't do anything themselves yet. So I get $100. Can't go wrong with that. (Though I think since I am a SAHM I should get a year's salary on Mother's Day.)

    • redheadranting

      Yes but I bet when you gave him a coupon book you actually allowed him to
      redeem them. The idea is great I just haven't met a guy who ever did what he
      promised to do. If one of my husbands actually did the dishes for a month
      like they both said they would, I would still be married to one of them now.

      You know, every time I talk about my ex husbands like this it sounds like I
      was married to them at the same time. If you are new here (Alison, I'm not
      talking to you) please know that I was only married to one of them at a
      time. I don't live in UT and I am pretty sure it doesn't work that way

      • Amundsen House of Chaos

        Hey no knocking Utah! J/K I knock it all the time, I'm a transplant and will claim California till I die.

  • dcr

    The thing is that, like store coupons, homemade coupons expire. If mothers have not successfully redeemed them, it is because they have not tried to use them within 72 hours of receipt.

    The 72-hour rule holds even if an expiration date is printed on the coupon, or if the coupon indicates there is no expiration date. That's just a marketing tactic. Homemade coupons & gift certificates are not regulated by the government, so there's little you can do here except to remember the 72-hour validation period. You could try to make a federal case out of it, but I don't know that you want government agents coming into your home every week to ensure your children have honored the written terms of their coupons or gift certificates.

    So, upon receipt of such Mother's Day coupons or gift certificates, bear in mind that you will need to use them within 72 hours or you're out of luck. Sure, it seems unfair but think of them like a bouquet of flowers. After a couple days, some of those are pretty much expired too.

    • redheadranting

      This is good to know because most women will save the coupons for when they are most difficult to redeem. I've never noticed the fine print before however.

  • Grand Pooba

    Hahaha! I can't count how many times I gave my mom a homemade coupon book!

  • suzicate

    And remember, Father’s Day follows Mother’s Day for a reason. – What a fabulous warning to all the men! Love it!

    • redheadranting

      In my state the fishing opener always falls on Mother's Day. You'd think women would benefit from this but basically it just means they get shafted and left with the kids alone for the weekend.

  • Janiss

    I'm not a parent, but I can safely say these rules apply to birthdays, anniversaries and any other holidays that involve gifts too. Except I won't even accept a Dyson. This year we discovered we could afford a housekeeping service so I don't need one.

    The first year Brian and I were together (1994), he gave me a luggage cart for Christmas. (I was traveling a lot that year.) We broke up a few weeks later. After we got back together, he never made that mistake again.

    • redheadranting

      So you got a Sven! Yay for you!

      • Janiss

        Actually I think they're called Linda and Carmen. Maybe I should check and see if they have any Svens.

        • redheadranting

          If they do you have to try him out and then tell all of us how he was. I bet he is great at windows.

  • lisleman

    kindles Ipads (which really has the feminine name problem) are gadgets and I thought women dislike gadgets. Have times changed? Maybe I'm wrong but I thought most people go out to eat for Mom. Doesn't that count?

    • redheadranting

      Going out to eat is pretty standard fare Mother's Day stuff. It's not bad,
      probably expected. But if you want to rock her world an iPad, Kindle,
      Mercedes or Sven will make it a day to remember.

      You are right, women don't usually like gadgets but that's only because the
      gadgets are usually small appliances used for cleaning or cooking, who wants
      those? No one. The Kindle and iPad are different because they are really
      cool and can't really be used to cook or clean.

  • themother

    There's one other exception to #3:

    • redheadranting

      That is pretty nice and I really hope you get one. I have no counters pace
      and a basement full of things that say they do all those things but I
      couldn't figure out how. I still want an iPad or a Mercedes.

  • Joe Cap

    I am glad we have you to help us with these exotic life situations. I was going to get my bride a new set of socket wrenches so I would have no excuse to put of doing household maintenance, and now you have set me straight!

    • redheadranting

      I'm glad I set you straight Joe because even though your intentions are good
      we both know the household maintenance is not moving forward because you
      lack a set of awesome socket wrenches.

  • Linda

    Like Babs, I'm not a mom, and my mom has passed, so Mother's Day is just another day. But, I do like presents, and I'm not fussy. Jewelry, flowers, and dinner are nice, and I do need a car…

    • redheadranting

      Isn't that a badass Mercedes?

  • joannmannix

    My kids are always making the coupons. Do I ever get a washed dish or a pedicure? Not a fat chance!

    Last year I went to the jewelry store, picked out a necklace, told them to hold it, sent my husband in there. And wouldn't you know it? I got the perfect Mother's Day Gift.

    It makes me happy every time I wear it. I'm not sure what I”m going to pick out for myself this year.

    • redheadranting

      That is indeed the perfect gift! You are one smart woman!

  • Daisy's "mom"

    Since I have no kids, every year I ask my husband what the cats are going to get me for Mother's Day. Every year, it's the same thing: nothing!

    I try to get my mother something a little luxurious like a gift from Sephora, a just-released book, or a special treat. This year, I ordered some huge chocolate-covered strawberries to be delivered. I wish my mom lived nearby so we could go out for brunch together or something.

    • redheadranting

      Finding something interesting and unique for my mother has become challenging since she moved into the nursing home. She doesn't read anymore and doesn't do much but lay in bed. I get her mylar balloons because she says she loves them but I feel like I should do more.

  • Pricilla

    I will probably get a butt in the well, butt from Abby and that will be it. Although my Sarah is coming home and maybe she will be nicer to me.

    I will give the publicist a nice head butt 'cause I love her.

    • redheadranting

      Having Sarah home for Mother's day sounds like a wonderful gift. And I am sure the publicist will love the head butt. Give her two.

  • Margaret (nannygoats)

    I'm so anti-gift-for-contrived-holidays, I don't think men should get their wives ANYTHING for Mother's Day. It's Mother's Day, not Wive's Day.

    Or maybe I'm just jealous because I won't get a Dyson for Mother's Day because I'm not a mother.

    • Tracy O'Connor

      Man, quit yer whining and think of all the extra disposable income you have the other 364 days of the year because you don't have kids!

      • Margaret (nannygoats)

        Well, since you put it that way….WOO HOOOOO!!!! Happy Mother's Day everybody!

        • meleahrebeccah


    • redheadranting

      Um…don't you already have TWO Dysons?

      • Margaret (nannygoats)

        *cough* I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.

        • redheadranting
          • junkdrawer

            It's OK, Margaret. People will pick on us Sister of the Dyson. It happens. I brought mine to work today. Not kidding. People oooo'd and ahhhh'd over it. And then I threatened them that if they wanted to touch it, they at least had to use it. One of them did. My office is nice and clean now.

          • redheadranting

   you have show and tell at work?

          • junkdrawer

            No, but it turned into that! Everyone loved it. I brought it in because a coworker wanted to see it in action and doesn't live near me. So guess what? She goes home sick today and never gets to actually use it. Sorry, I don't drag vacuums to the office more than once :(

          • redheadranting

            I can't get over that you brought your vacuum cleaner in to work to show your co-workers. That Dyson must be one hell of a machine, even better than Sven.

          • Margaret (nannygoats)

            See? It's THIS kind of stuff that Dyson should be paying for, but when the products sell themselves, they don' t HAVE to pay you. It's the crap you DON'T believe in or want to buy that they will send you free crap to “review” on your blog. You think Dyson will see this conversation? They should. And if anybody from Dyson is reading this: “I LOVE YOU!!!” Except I don't need any more vacuums right now. Not until I get a third floor, anyway.

          • redheadranting

            If Dyson is reading this I DON'T HAVE ONE YET AND WOULD REALLY LIKE TO
            HAVE ONE OR TWO. I hope they heard me.

          • Margaret (nannygoats)

            Yep, that oughta do it.

  • Sam Liu

    This is so funny! And very true…my dad got my mother an ironing board (yes, an ironing board) for Mother's Day a couple of years back. Needless to say, the recipient was not overjoyed by this, demanding why on Earth her husband had bought her an ironing board for Mother's Day, to which my confounded father replied, “But you said you needed one”….sheer hilarity for me, not the best of situations for my dear old pa.

    Thankfully, I consider myself aware enough to not get possibly damaging gifts for my mum on Mother's Day. But, nevertheless, this list will surely come in useful! 😀

    • redheadranting

      I bet your dad learned a lot about women that year. Poor men, they don't understand women. Half of what we say we don't mean. But watch out if they can't figure that out.

  • lindamedrano

    Any excuse to get gifts is a good idea to me! I love presents! I love cards! I love gettin' stuff! But don't go to the supermarket for my flowers! And don't go giving me something for you that's disguised as something for me! And just in case you wondered, Prada pumps will always be a winner. Gucci bags, too. Oh and diamonds! Diamonds are good! Rubies and emeralds too. Dogs will never be returned or exchanged either!

    • meleahrebeccah

      you had me @ Prada pumps!!

    • redheadranting

      Does Prada make flats? I'm actually afraid to ask you that question. Please don't throw any pumps at me. Precious gems are ALWAYS good. They are classic and always welcome. Guys should know that.

  • Tracie

    I'll be sure to show this to my husband. I don't get anything for Mother's Day, my birthday, Christmas, Groundhog Day, or any other major US holiday.

    • redheadranting

      I don't either but it's nice to dream about it.

  • Melody Elliott Koontz

    I love to get cookbooks and kitchen appliances!! I don't like getting flowers from a grocery store and balloons from a grocery store. Too easy.

    • redheadranting

      I agree, they should have to jump through some hoops. What is wrong with
      flowers from a grocery store, I've never heard that before?

  • KristinaP

    Great. I guess I have to start all over. I did every one of these!

    • redheadranting

      It's okay if you do these things. It's just the guys who can't. Complete double standard and unfair. But, life isn't fair.

  • Rebecca

    Gee, you'll have to post a photo of you and Sven when your kids get him…

    • redheadranting

      I wish.

  • Jayne

    The only good gift certificate is one to a day spa for the works.

    • meleahrebeccah


    • redheadranting

      An even better one would be to a week long spa with lots of Svens.

  • buggys

    Maybe you should make a commercial touting this perfect advice and flash it on ESPN all day Saturday! Moms and wives everywhere would be indebted to you!

    • redheadranting

      You can certainly post this helpful link where ever you see fit! Please do,
      that would be awesome.

  • Katherine

    I DREAM of Dyson. I would trade in all my…. ummm…. Well I dream of DYSON!

    • redheadranting

      Me too. But I'd probably trade them in for a lot less.

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  • meleahrebeccah

    I would flip-out with a vengeance if anyone ever gave me a book titled “How to Lose 30 lbs in 30 Days or Go Make Me a Sandwich!” But, I would LOVE to get an iPad or The ever so COVETED Dyson Ball!

    • redheadranting

      I can't decide which I would rather have a Dyson or an iPad. Probably an iPad because I already have a vacuum even if it sucks at sucking.

      • meleahrebeccah

        I think WE should have BOTH.
        But I kind of have my *heart* set on a set of Golf Clubs!

        • redheadranting


          • meleahrebeccah


  • Nicky

    Those are some pretty nasty gifts! If my man gave me a diet book, I'd show him how I could “lose” 160lbs in about 10 minutes!

    • redheadranting

      Something tell me if he gave you a book like that he'd be sproting one of
      those pumps of yours up his ass.

      • Nicky

        I could never do that do the shoes :-)

        • redheadranting

          Good point.

  • JuneZach

    Great tips Jen! I'm now thinking of what to give my Mom this Mother's Day. :)

  • NakedCupcakes

    My dad once got my mom a vacuum cleaner for Christmas.

    She has a lot of diamonds now.

    • redheadranting

      Your father is a smart man, at least after the vacuum cleaner for Christmas debacle. I assume it was not a Dyson.

      • NakedCupcakes

        No. It was well before Dysons. It was a Hoover, I think. Maroon.

        • redheadranting

          There was a time when Hoovers were like Dyson, probably when they replaced
          the dinosaur that one pushed around the house like on the Flintstones.

  • mikewjattoomanymornings

    So now I know what not to get. But let's try to focus on the affirmative, positive things in life. What do I get, assuming I can't afford the Mercedes, the unfortunately named iPad, or a Kindle, which most people now refer to as “the coaster” following the introduction of the full-color, Internet-connectible, movie- and picture-playing portable computer that is the iPad?

    • redheadranting

      Isn't it great? I nice dinner out is always great. Anything that creates more work should be nixed. Like, if you offer to cook an awesome meal for her but then you leave the dishes for her to clean up (since you did the cooking) would be a really bad thing. Sorry I'm not more help. My ex husbands used the “You're not my mom” excuse so the only things I have gotten for mother's day have been made of macaroni.

  • Surfie

    Boy, the possibility of getting a Dyson and a Kindle almost makes me want to rethink never having kids.

    The only exception to the items on this list is if she specifically ASKS FOR one of the items. That's pretty much the only time it's acceptable.

    • redheadranting

      That's right, if she asks for it then it isn't bad to give her a power tool or a set of socket wrenches. But what woman asks for those?

  • IndigoWrath

    Hey Jen! I loved this, a quite superb post! Similar principle exist for Christmas, of course, including the deadly “oh, you don't have to get me anything” trick that is remarkably similar to your first point. I had to visit a pal in hospital on the 26th after one of those. Indigo

    • redheadranting

      Oh my! I bet he never did again.

  • IndigoWrath

    By the way, WESTERN DIGITAL just e-mailed me to say I should buy my mother a hard drive. Put me on Danger Money, baby.

    • redheadranting

      Don't fall for it!

  • junkdrawer

    A friend of mine got a fire extinguisher for the kitchen. From her husband. They're divorced now.

    • redheadranting

      But it was so practical! My first ex gave me an iron for our first Christmas. I think we were divorced by mother's day.

  • Ane

    LOL @ #3! I prefer the servant named Sven.. 😀

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  • JoyACookin

    Good post; now to get the men to read it. Two worst gifts I received from husband: toaster and his ex’s perfume. Maybe the best gift was the divorce. I thought the electric can opener was pretty bad, but a broken can opener? There’s a photo of that in the dictionary under ‘lame’.

    I’ve always said take the mother of your children out to dinner any night but a holiday because the kitchen is harried, the service is indifferent and they usually have prix fix which is French for ‘Hurry up and eat so we can turn the table, you cheapskate.’ Best bet is to stay in and cook a fabulous meal for just the two of you. Hint: any meal a man cooks is fabulous, if he’s doing it by choice. And he does the dishes. Same night. She can supply the back rub, etc after dessert. Then go out to dinner on Wednesday night. Everybody wins and stays married.

    • redheadranting

      The ex's perfume, that is by far the worst I have ever heard. The divorce
      must have been a wonderful gift you got for yourself.

      Completely agree about going out to eat on a holiday. And any meal a man
      cooks is wonderful, dishes are dessert.

  • Inadvertently Domesticated

    oooh…nice list! i'll forward this to my husband!!! LOL

  • cindyhaskinpopp

    I wanted a wooden storage photo box one year – the kind where you can insert a picture for display in the lid. I told my husband that Target had one but I informed him that I specifically DID NOT WANT that one because I didn't like the style. Guess what I got? The one from Target. He said he knew I didn't like that one and figured I could just return it and buy one that I liked somewhere else.

  • Raj

    Mercedez Benz, ah, That has to be the perfect gift for a mom. I hope I should be able to gift it to my mom in the next few years :)

  • Camryn

    Hey there! Visiting from MBC–the funny moms club. Thanks for joining our group!! :)

    Yes……..My present fell in the “lawn care” department. I got hedge trimmers. They're electric. I'll let you take a moment to ooohhh and Ahhhh.

    Jealous, aren't you?

    Yeah–so is my old weed wacker. 😉

  • spiritual books marriage

    Spectacular introduction for newbies like me! Can’t wait to come back for your next post.

  • MommyLisa

    I would agree with this except I have a dyson and I hate my dyson. 😛

    • redheadranting

      Why do you hate your Dyson? Is it broken? If not you can send it to me.

      • MommyLisa

        Its heavy and its a pain to use on the stairs – and it is smelly after years of use. 

        I ALWAYS hated the heavy part.  My husband wanted the Dyson, not me.

        The Scherbers

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  • Jayne

    I have a dog and a cat.  Neither one of them is worth a damn when it comes to presents — unless you count the occasional hacked-up hairball.

  • cmk

    My father-in-law once bought my m-i-l a knife and cutting board as a gift.  Somehow, she did NOT use the knife to kill him, but he never bought her a ‘practical’ gift again.  (I know this happened because she gave me the cutting board–she had had enough of seeing it in her kitchen after so many years.  ;))

  • little lotta

    This year my husband walked in the door with a card from the furchild and a bouquet of Lillies.  (I think Lillies are for dead mothers, but how would I know).  He bought them because our dog doesn’t have an allowance or a driver’s license and HE sent my husband out to get me something…..or so the story goes.  Hey, I thought it was cute.

  • Katherine Murray

    A Dyson.  STILL my dream gift.  A friend of mine has one… I asked if I could vacuum his house.  He looked guarded… protective, but then he let me have a spin. AND I LOVED IT!