Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Every Mom Really Wants

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Every Mom Really Wants

Article excerpt

The countdown is on: only four more days until Mother's Day. Clocks are ticking as last-minute shoppers search for just the right way to honor the beloved maternal figures in their lives.

What to buy? Newspaper ads offer the standard suggestions, ranging from pearls and watches to handbags, lingerie, and perfume. But this year, it is the headlines in several ads, rather than the specific items they're promoting, that often prove most intriguing. They pose the question: What is the best Mother's Day gift?

Not surprisingly, it may be intangible.

Perhaps Macy's has the best idea. Under the heading "What mom wants most," the company pictures employees it calls "Top Moms." Each woman lists an intangible wish along with a specific gift she would like.

One mother wants "Successful daughters and a new summer wardrobe." Another, holding her young son, dreams of "Hugs, kisses, and open-toe sandals." A third sums up her ideal gifts this way: "New refrigerator art and a white skirt."

Another ad in the campaign completes the phrase by suggesting that what mom wants most is "a reason to relax."

Now we're getting down to basics! Never mind new earrings or a straw purse, however beautifully wrapped and beribboned. The real wish list for many mothers comes down to a gift that's hard for someone else to give: free time. They long for time to read a book. Time to take a walk in the sunshine. Time to putter in the garden, free from guilt that they should be doing something less pleasurable. Laundry, maybe.

In a similar vein, a Bloomingdale's headline reads, "What mom really wants...." For many new mothers with jobs, the best gift this Sunday would come not from families or friends, but from their employers, in the form of longer and more secure maternity leave. A new study finds that of 164 countries, only five - among them the United States, Australia, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea - do not offer paid maternity leave. …

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