No doubt by now you have either watched a Mother’s Day ad on TV, seen shelves lined with gift ideas or even been asked what you would like on Sunday.
The commercialisation of events such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and Christmas comes as no surprise as companies fight for your valuable retail dollar.
Last year, Australians spent $754 million on Mother’s Day, according to the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan, with 90 per cent spending the same or more than they did in 2021.
While mums deserve a day of being showered with gifts, experts warn us not to lose sight of the real reason we celebrate events like Mother’s Day.
“The true meaning can be lost if they prize gift-giving over the meaning of the event,” says Elisabeth Shaw, CEO of Relationships Australia NSW.
“(Mother’s Day) is a day to stop, acknowledge and appreciate, in a simple, loving and caring way. All of us can feel the warmth and validation of others simply saying ‘thanks’ and ‘I notice all that you do, even if I don’t always say so’. These gestures can be forgotten, taken for granted or rendered invisible in the day to day management of busy households.
Breakfast in bed is an easy way to show mum you care.
“What parents can find emotionally exhausting is feeling as if their day-to-day effort isn’t noticed, or doesn’t count. Open, verbal appreciation makes everyone stop and take notice.”
The origins of Mother’s Day are often credited to American woman Anna Reeves Jarvis, who planned a day to honour mothers in the wake of her own mother’s death in 1905.
But the idea of a Mother’s Peace Day had been spoken about since the end of the American Civil War as a way to spread unity around the world.
Shaw says some cost-free ways of celebrating Mother’s Day include:
• Encourage children to make a card or give the parent a treat, such as breakfast in bed, flowers from the garden or extra cuddles. It’s even nicer if the sentiment comes from the child without the carer or co-parent stepping in to do the work themselves.
• Children can recount stories about the parent or carer in recognition of the effort they make or memories they hold dear.
• Bring the family together over a happy meal where mum has not had to shop, cook or clean for it.
Steph De Sousa, a former MasterChef contestant, and her son, Noah.
Best things in life are free
Steph De Sousa is getting ready to celebrate her 28th Mother’s Day, but her favourite memories are the most simple – breakfast, presents and cuddles in bed.
Although the former MasterChef contestant and ALDI advocate won’t spend Mother’s Day with all her four children as some have moved interstate, she still keeps this tradition alive via Facetime.
“Any celebration that centres around someone you care about is always worth the money you spend,” De Sousa says. “But for me it’s always the thought that means the most, over any price tag.”
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De Sousa’s own mum lives interstate but she and her sisters always chip in for a special gift.
“There is always a magazine subscription – the gift that keeps on giving – a box of chocolate and a bunch of flowers,” she says. “For us, it’s about buying mum something she wouldn’t buy for herself but we know she will enjoy. My mum isn’t very good at spoiling herself.”
Originally published as Relationship experts say you can show you care this Mother’s Day without spending a fortune