What mom really wants for Mother's Day, and tales of 'getting it right'

Published: Wednesday, May 8 2013 3:45 p.m. MDT

Carly Kerby and her four daughters live in Taylorsville, Utah.

Family photo

SALT LAKE CITY — A Western Union survey says nearly half of us find it hard to shop for Mom on Mother's Day. That's echoed repeatedly, despite an abundance of sources that claim to know just what Mom is really hoping to receive.

There's remarkable variability in the suggestions. Apple says that Mom wants an iPad. Amazon thinks a Kindle is the queen of gifts. Ebates thinks moms want gift cards and spa days, homemade gifts, jewelry, roses, perfume and clothes, in that order. Men who took that survey thought roses were Mom's biggest wish, followed by jewelry.

Moms themselves may tell a slightly different story.

"All I really want for Mother's Day is an uninterrupted nap, which is very hard to come by, and one thing that I normally would not splurge on for myself like fancy chocolates or a really good treat from a bakery," said Carly Kerby, of Taylorsville, Utah, who has girls ages 11 months, 4, 7 and 9. "Oh, and my kids going the whole day without fighting would also be nice."

Cari Andreani of Jacksonville, Fla., would like a day off from her usual tasks. She has kids ages 15, 10 and 8, and works full-time. A little me-time would delight her.

"A day's vacation and I would be like new," said Andreani, who believes spa days or manicures and pedicures are a real treat for a busy mom. "Even an hour massage can rejuvenate a woman."

Ursula Reynolds wants alone time, too, though she wants the family close by. "I would love to go on an extended vacation with my family," said the Norcross, Ga., mom, who has kids ages 11 and 2. "Going out to dinner is fine and gifts are great, but the next day you have clothes to fold and dishes to wash. I would love to go to a resort where I am pampered and my hubby and kids are having a great time. Let the kids run wild and make a mess; I won't have to clean it up. Let the hubby play rounds of golf for hours; it will be OK because I will be in the spa and the kids will have their own activity scheduled for the day."

It seems moms with younger kids may want both a little time off from mothering and pampering, too. Older moms, whose kids have flown the nest, want nothing more than to gather them close again.

The only thing Anne Zane, 93, "really wants from my daughters and me is time," said Kerri Zane, an award-winning TV producer from Long Beach, Calif., and author of "It Takes All 5: A Single Mom's Guide to Finding the REAL One." "For her, nothing is more precious than for the four of us to be together laughing and enjoying the day."

That perfect gift

Kerby and her two brothers on one Mother's Day each gave their mom, Jo Zumbrunnen, two dozen roses, enough to fill her house with aroma and her heart with joy.

Kerby's mom gave her the gift of time and that's something she hopes to pass on. "The dishes and housework can always wait. So choose to spend time with your children and family. The chores will always be there when you get back," she said when asked what she learned from her mom that she values the most.

Lynn Lehmann was a morning radio personality in Salt Lake City before moving to Los Angeles to write and produce for TV. He's also written books, including, most recently, "Naked and Crying." He gave his mom, Eva Berhold, the perfect gift when she was 72; he took her back to her native Hamburg, Germany. It was the first time she'd visited since leaving in 1930.

Her gifts to him were equally impressive, anchored by a lifetime of unconditional love, he said. "She was always so kind."

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