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4 Things Adult Children Should Know About Giving A Mother's Day Present

05/02/2013 08:15 am ET | Updated Jul 02, 2013
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At 28 I've long outgrown the days of giving my mom construction paper cards and popsicle stick picture frames for Mother's Day. (Or Bath and Body Works lotion sets for that matter.) It's not just because I am -- for all intents and purposes -- a grown-up with more than a weekly allowance at my disposable; it's because I finally see my mom as a friend.

After more than 10 years of wondering "Why doesn't she get me?", I finally get her. And a woman needs more than the typical gifts all moms smile through every Mother's Day. So fellow adult kids, here are four things to keep in mind when buying your mom her Mother's Day gift this year:

1. Don't get her a gift that assumes she lives for cooking and cleaning.

This is a lesson I learned from Huff/Post50's senior writer Ann Brenoff last year. "No cute aprons -- no matter how cute," she wrote in her list of out-of-touch Mother's Day gifts. "No new vacuums, unless they come with someone to push them. And no new toasters, even if they toast Hello Kitty's image on my bread."

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Some moms may want nothing more than a new vacuum cleaner or a set of pots and pans on Mother's Day. But if your mom is a domestic goddess, step your gifting game up and go in on a big ticket purchase for her: I'm talking Dyson, Le Creuset or that 5-quart KitchenAid standing mixer no baker's kitchen should be without.

2. Be sensitive to gifts that could be read as comments on her shortcomings.

Sometimes a gift is just a gift. And sometimes it can open up a big ol' can of worms. Know your mom is trying to lose weight? Those gym shoes or membership, while thoughtful, could hit a sore spot; same with the cooking lessons if a regular family joke is that she can't even boil water.

3. Be wary of giving her a gift you would bring to your office's Secret Santa event.

That aforementioned Bath and Body Works lotion set? Bath salts and pumice stones? We can put a little more thought into a present for the woman who brought us into the world, can't we? Instead of buying your mom beauty products, treat her to a day of pampering at a spa -- way more thoughtful than a gift basket she'll never have time to open, much less use.

4. Don't assume your mom has the same taste as you do or wants her taste to be converted.

Sending your mom an email about a band you think she'd enjoy is one thing. Getting her a CD of that same band she's never heard of for Mother's Day is quite another. While you may find that you and your mother have more things in common now than when you were younger, it's not wise to assume she's looking to you to be her culture guide.

One of my friends put it well: "We may share the Stones, but my mom did NOT like Joy Division. Sorry, Mom."

Instead help her do a deep dive into something you already know she loves. Complete box sets of favorite television shows, the newest book on a topic that fascinates her, a retrospective of her favorite band? Now you're heading in the right direction.

So what do you think, moms? Did I get it right? What do you want your children to know about Mother's Day gift buying?

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

What This Boomer Doesn't Want For Mother's Day