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You Are Overlooking the Best Mother’s Day Gift

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Photo: Ingrid Balabanova (Shutterstock)

I will begin with a caveat. First and foremost: Please, by all means, get whatever the mother in your life has expressly asked for (or hinted at). Whether it be alone time, a massage, concert tickets, or a new bracelet, oblige. Get her something she loves, cherishes, or covets.

However. If she hasn’t specified, or recently had a birthday and was loaded up with some of her favorite things, and now you’re at a loss: Consider giving her the gift of cleaning. Because chances are, she’d like a break.

Now, do husbands also do housework? Yes. But in a house with messy children, overflowing toys, backpacks, sports gear, and 67 sheets of paper in each child’s “take home” folder every day, there’s often more clutter than two people can reasonably handle. (Also, this isn’t about them.)

As reported by Moms.com, “According to the American Time Use Survey, which is conducted by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average working mom spends a little over 21 hours per week doing housework.”

Of course, no one wants to insult mom on her special day, and if she is a woman who takes immense pride in her ability to provide a clean, organized home for her loved ones, this may not be the way to her heart.

However. For everyone else: For those of us who don’t always have immaculate kitchen counters before bed, who can’t keep up with work deadlines, after-school activities, food prep, and eight loads of laundry a week, who do leave dishes in the sink overnight because she only has one hour to herself every day and dammit, she wants to finish Bridgerton. For the one who’s been known to shout a time (or 4,000) “Why am I the only one who picks up shoes in this house?” That woman? She’d love it.

Plus, a clean house never hurt a relationship. As reported by the Huffington Post, in a 2016 survey of newly divorced people, 30% of respondents listed “disagreements about housework” as the top reason for their split (after infidelity and drifting apart).

The mother in your life may not have enough hours in her day to keep everything neat all the time. She simply may not excel at, or care that much about, housekeeping. Or, she may prioritize work, family logistics, dinner prep, homework help, and self-care above a spotless home.

So this Mother’s Day, in addition to brunch, serving her a charcuterie board in bed, or letting her abscond to a hotel for one gloriously silent evening, perform the ultimate act of service and clean for her. Either spend the day scrubbing the house from top to bottom as a gesture of thankfulness for her daily work, organize those overstuffed cabinets and shelves that instigate much under-the-breath swearing, pick up every item of clothing off the floor, or complete that mammoth basement or garage clean-out that you’ve been putting off for months.

Or, gift her a cleaning service. Whether it be a one-off, professional deep cleaning of every corner of your home, a bimonthly service, or a weekly housekeeper to tidy up, do the laundry, and change all the sheets, it will bring much more peace to her life than another bracelet ever could.

(Unless she’d rather have the bracelet—in which case, get her the bracelet.)