While I'm sure Mom will say she's fine with a card and brunch at the local pancake house (that is what moms always say), wouldn't it be nice to truly wow her with something unexpected this year?
Recently, I was chatting on the subject of mothers with entrepreneur Tariq Farid, an expert on gift giving, and founder of Edible Arrangements. He has a lot of good advice to share about the holiday--not only because it is a busy one for his company, but because his own relationship with his mother had a special, profound impact on his entrepreneurial path. She encouraged his business endeavors from his early paper route to opening a flower shop to launching Edible Arrangements. When other experts would scoff at the idea of fruit arrangements and advised him to stick to flowers, Farid's mother would remind him that just because someone has never done it, there is no reason to think it can't be done.
Farid recalls: " 'Honey,' she would say, 'you know your customers better than anyone else. If you believe your idea will work, don't let anyone else get in the way of your dream.'" She also had an influence on the products he would offer. "My mom was always one of my most experienced and trusted business advisors," Farid shares. "Chocolate dipped pineapple hearts were always a favorite of hers, and when she first saw them in the very first arrangement, she said, 'This is going to be big!' Now that's brilliant advice!"
Farid's first location opened in 1999. The company has since grown to more than 1,300 stores worldwide. He credits his mother's influence with his tireless entrepreneurial spirit, which spurred him to continue building new ventures, including Netsolace, Inc., a computer software distributor for the franchise industry; Naranga, which provides a wide range of technology solutions designed to help franchise companies market themselves and manage their operations; the Tariq Farid Foundation, which supports multiple charitable causes; and the Edible Cares Fund, which provides financial assistance to Edible Arrangements store employees in times of extreme need.
Farid and I discussed his advice for making every mother feel truly special and appreciated on Mother's Day (and beyond). Some things are simple and inexpensive. For example, he says you might"Create a video of you and your brothers and sisters talking about everything great your mom has done for you and maybe even catch her on video doing some of those things" or "Make a donation in your mom's name to her favorite charity, like the local animal shelter or volunteer your time in her honor and let her know about it." Others might involve getting multiple relatives to chip in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: "Give your mother a "Mom-cation" for her and her best friend to their favorite getaway. Or if your mom is an immigrant to this country, as mine was, surprise her with a trip back to see her family."
I was so inspired after our conversation that I came up with my own list of ways to amaze your Mom and make her say "Wow"--on Sunday and beyond.
1. Arrive early for Mother's Day brunch/lunch, etc. Get there before anyone else if you can. Tell her you wanted her to open your present first...and actually have something with you for her to open.
2. Sign your Mother's Day card with more than just your name. Ask a friend or significant other if you are "not good with words" and need help crafting a personal message.
3. Stand up straight.
4. Learn to play her favorite game and challenge her to play when you visit. You might let her win, too.
5. Repair, or pay for a repair, on the household problem she complains about most often.
6. Let her control the TV remote and watch what she chooses without complaint.
7. Ask her if she's hungry and offer to make her a sandwich.
8. Read one of the books she has sent you. Call her up and talk to her about it. Lying and saying you liked it is optional.
9. As you are leaving her house, take out the trash.
10. Actually go on a date with one of the "eligible" people from her church that she's been dying for you to meet.
11. Pour the milk or soda into a glass and put the bottle back in the fridge where it goes.
12. Next time you bring friends to the house, have them ask if they can see the family photo album. You can repay these friends with beer later.
13. Bring food with you when you visit, instead of raiding her fridge.
14. At your next professional portrait shoot, have the photographer take one of you in that clothing item she bought. The one she keeps saying "Have you worn it yet?" Buy one copy from the photographer and send it to Mom. You can donate the clothes after.
15. Commit to showing up on time to family gatherings this year, no matter who is attending. Keep your word and do it.
16. Get a haircut.
17. Instead of dropping the kids off at her house, pay for a sitter and invite Mom to join the grownups for dinner out.
18. Tune the car radio in to her favorite station, or download some of her favorite tunes, and have them playing when she gets in your car.
19. Remember to close the door behind you.
20. Take a box of your old stuff with you when you leave her house.
21. Tell her about how you have implemented at least one piece of advice she has given you (whether you asked her for it or not.)
22. Go to the social event she's been asking you to attend. Make an effort to look good so everyone can see how attractive her kid is. Engage with her friends and ask them about themselves so they will think you're charming, too.
23. Do the dishes. Put them where they belong.
24. When she asks how things are going, give more than a one-word answer.
25. Remember that she's not just Mom, and she had a life before you were born. Ask her about it.