Found: What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

"Mom" bracelet, popular gift from the elementary school Santa Shop

Hold your nose, the fragrance inserts touting “gift with purchase for mom” are tumbling out of every newspaper. Gullible dads and kids are desperately searching for a Mother’s Day gift that will answer our ‘focus-group tested’ secret wish to roll in a wildflower meadow or lead a horse along the coastline, free tote included.

But here’s what Moms really want: Time. Perhaps you can’t manufacture more for us, but you can certainly take less  so that we are free to have a bit of time for ourselves.We’re talking about:

Time to sleep – You know that state of semi-consciousness in which you realize your sheets feel good and you can stay there? We want to sleep until we go through a few REM cycles, where we don’t look at the clock, where we finally get up after we simply can’t lay there another minute. Dad, you get that kind of rest on a family vacation, but since that’s still a “business” trip for us, we’d like a crack at capturing some of those sweet ZZZs.

Time with girlfriends – Do you have any idea how the stars have to align in order for us to carry off a proper night out with our girlfriends? The undertaking is so complex that if you wrote a mathematical formula, you would have at least 80 dependent variables between a group of four women, and most of those variables would be related to children. Dad, resolve to handle everything on our night out, even the kid’s stomach bug that presents itself just as we are headed out the door. Mom, since you’re destined to get the bug anyway at some point in the family cycle, why not take a chance with the restaurant’s featured cocktail?

Time with our Moms – Just like our marriages, our mother/daughter relationships became All About the Kids the moment baby #1 was born. Either we’re telling a great story to Mom, now an adoring grandmother, or we’re too distracted to really talk or spend time together. Make some space for us to catch up with our moms, whether that means leaving you guys at home while we go visit or whether you send us off with our moms for lunch and an afternoon together. Mother’s Day has deeper meaning between us now.

Time to ourselves. We’re not counting time when the bathroom door is shut but you still knock. No, we are talking about unrestricted, uninterrupted time, like curling up with a book long enough to identify a plot. Maybe we could have a warm bath followed by padding around the empty house (in other words, scram) in our favorite robe. The race against time between Mother’s Day Out drop-off and pick-up is only a blink. We want to stroll around Target at our leisure without anyone facing toward us in the buggy.

Finally, time together.We’re much better company when we’ve had a break and feel relaxed and appreciated. Once we’ve had our time, we’re ready to rejoin the family. And when we receive your gift of fragrance, we will be happy to smell like whatever you have chosen.  Just don’t forget to hand over the free tote.