In the grand tradition of Mother’s Day gift giving, presents that show love, appreciation and (at the very least) a general understanding of a mother’s interests are usually a surefire win.
Yet, year after year, partners, husbands, and kids manage to mess up spectacularly.
Moms all over the world have gritted their teeth and smiled upon receiving “are you kidding me” gifts on the day where they’re supposed to feel special.
Our moms know us best—so how come so many Mother’s Day gifts are so tacky, tasteless, clueless, or just plain rude?
Without further ado, here is our round-up of cringe-worthy Mother’s Day gifts:
(Don’t) Say it With a Gift Card
Pam Rosario of Katy, Texas, was eight months pregnant and living on a remote Marine base away from her family and friends when she got her very first—and very worst—Mother’s Day gift.
Her husband gave her a gift card so she could buy a rocking chair and ottoman.
Strike one: the impersonal gift card. Strike two: the gift card was for furniture she already planned to buy for the baby.
Then came strike three.
“I then had to put the damn thing together myself because he had to work that day,” says Rosario.
A blooming failure
You may be thinking, “How could you go wrong with flowers?” You’re going to want to keep reading.
Los Angeles mom Kathleen Laccinole was given flowers from her ex, about a week after he left her for a younger woman, with whom he’d been having an affair.
“All the previous years I was gifted with various appliances with which to cook and clean the house,” Laccinole says.
Here’s a tip. It helps to remember what you got her last year you so you don’t get her the exact same thing again.
“I received the same necklace he had already gotten me and he didn’t remember,” said Connecticut mom Karen Nadeau.
The gift? A three-diamond drop necklace that is supposed to represent her past, present and future. Which shows that the past can literally repeat itself.
Breakfast in bed … at 7:30 a.m.
Once again, it’s a nice idea—with failed execution.
“For years I would tell my family that all I wanted was to sleep late and have the morning and afternoon to myself for reading and relaxing,” says Seattle mother of two Nicole Neroulias Gupte. “ Instead, they would make me breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and jump all over me.”
“Finally, last year, I got just what I wanted and it was glorious,” she added.
Technically, this wasn’t a gift, but it still ruined the lovely Mother’s Day Danny Williams had planned for his wife, Kim.
Williams booked a beach weekend in Orange Beach, Alabama for the entire family. It seemed to be the perfect weekend until their son Andrew came down with a severe case of strep throat.
“We spent Mother’s Day morning finding an urgent care that was open, waiting for little Andrew to be seen, then waiting for hours at a drugstore for the prescription to be filled,” Danny Williams said. “Not exactly how I’d planned the weekend to go for her, a joyous reminder of the harsh reality of motherhood!”
That’s right—zip, nada nil. Not even a card. You will notice, however, that most of these thoughtless non-gift givers are now ex-husbands.
“My ex would never get a gift for me [because] I wasn’t his mother,” said Louisiana mother Janet VandeVoorde. “He’s an ex for many reasons.”
Fellow Louisiana mother of two Valerie Borden came up similarly empty-handed, and not just on Mother’s Day.
“Everything was, ‘It’s just another regular day,’” she recalled her ex telling her. “Birthdays, same thing.”
La’Ketra Luckett went a few years without getting a Mother’s Day gift before her (still current) husband wised up.
“I got nothing for my first official Mother’s Day,” she said. “I didn’t get anything the Mother’s Day before that, while pregnant..”
Luckett, who is now pregnant with the couple’s second child, said her husband has made up for it in the four years since. “No room for error,” she joked.
My own mother, Susan Netter, chimed in with worst Mother’s Day gift she ever got. It took her all of 5 seconds to remind me of Mother’s Day 1995.
“The worst one was when I had a broken leg and my Mother’s Day gift from you and your dad was flowers, and I had to go on crutches to the flower place to pick out my own flowers,” she said. “And then I had to plant them by myself. And you took off to your boyfriend’s house.”
Oops. Sorry Mom! Love you.