Dear Father Hood: it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday and I’ve not organised anything. Help!
Don’t worry about it. I’m sure your husband will get over the whole forgotten Mother’s Day debacle eventually (although maybe make sure he’s able to watch all the televised sport he wants in the meantime). Whoa, whoa, whoa. Before all you lovely ladies turn an even darker shade of purple, I should inform you that I am only joking. I know this plea comes from a stereotypically disorganised man in a stereotypically seasonal pickle. I also know how to fix his problem. Mate, just get yourself on Amazon, sign up to the free trial of Prime and order the latest Geordie Shore boxset. Women love that show’s potent mix and incomprehensible accents, impressive abs and insatiable sexual appetites.
Again, I am only joking. Men, even if you’re running around at the last minute, the word you need to remember when sorting all things Mother’s Day is thought. If your baby’s mummy believes you’ve put a lot of thought into planning the day, then she’ll be delighted with a herbal tea bag in a novelty mug. And if she thinks you’ve simply thrown cash at a gift after some guy in the office reminded you’d get your balls chopped off if you woke up empty-handed on Sunday morning, then the thing she’s been harping on about for ages will be forever tainted by your heartlessness.
So, how do you ensure that you deliver delight when you have less than 48 hours to make things happen? The answer is by putting a four-stage plan in place. Part one sees you fill a tasteful card with tear-jerking words about how great a mummy she is. Section two sees you source a present that makes her feel loved and appreciated. Segment three sees you sign up to nappy duty for the full 24 hours. And part four sees you organise a memorable activity that she can photograph and boast about on social media.
I imagine a lot of you are currently staring at your screen and going: “An activity – what the hell’s he going on about?!” I’m going on about something like…
…A day out without the kid or kids
Is your wife having one of those weeks where she has had it up to her top forehead frown with your house-destroying, instruction-ignoring, poop throwing, constantly crying kid or kids? She is? In that case it’s your duty to make Mother’s Day all about her. And how do you do this? You do this by booking a babysitter or the grandparents and planning an adventure* that makes her smile and reminds her that she’s an extremely special human being who is anything but ‘just a mummy’.
*Could be anything from a boozy pub lunch to an impromptu road trip to the beach via a life drawing class or trip to the theatre.
…A day out with the kid or kids
On the other side of the coin, work commitments mean my wife is not currently getting to spend much time with our son. This means she wants to see as much of him as she can at the weekends, and this means it’s my fatherly duty to plan a treat that works for both of them.
Last year, this was easy because everything worked for our kid as he was two months old and couldn’t move (thus I simply booked us into a restaurant my wife had wanted to go to for ages). This year, he’s almost 14 months old and moves a lot, so restaurants are out and interactive experiences are in. I’ve plumped for a baby rave because it’s different, it looks awesome and my wife and baby love to dance, but other good last minute options would be the zoo or the science museum. Not soft play? No, not soft play. It’s fun, but it doesn’t exactly give off that special occasion vibe.
…A day out with the in-laws
Obviously, you should only go down this route if your wife is currently getting on with her parents and you think that she’d like to have another couple of potential child soothers on site. If both of these answers are affirmative, then getting the in-laws involved could be a winner as it’ll both lighten your partner’s parenting load and give her the chance to celebrate her mummy. Two birds with one stone and all that, you sensitive, thoughtful Dad of the Year candidate.
…A day in the house
I know this sounds boring. But I also know that restaurants, baby raves and babysitters can be tough to book at the last minute, especially when it’s Mother’s Day. Subsequently, you may find yourself in a corner with your options dwindling and the clock ticking. If this happens, you can have a little sleep and hope it all goes away, or you can unleash your inner nursery manager and come up with a series of special Mother’s Day activities. Like? I don’t know. Off the top of my head, you could…
- Fill some plastic bottles with lentils, pasta and a bunch of other stuff and get baby and mummy to dance about shaking them
- Set up a ‘paint a picture of mummy’ zone
- Make a Mother’s Day card together
- Glue some sparkly stuff to your thumbs, clothes and various bits of paper
- Hide pictures of mummy around the house that baby has got to find
On the downside, these activities could ruin your house and take ages to clean up. On the upside, they are easy to organise, they will spark some brilliant family time and they won’t cost an arm or a leg (you should be able to get all the stuff from Poundland or Hobbycraft).
So there you have it. This is my smash glass emergency, snatch victory from the jaws of defeat Mother’s Day guide. If you like one of the options I’ve come up with, give it a try and let me know how it goes. If you don’t, start a blog and come up with some suggestions of your own.