Mother’s Day presents a bit of a conundrum for your average working gamer. On the one hand, it’s on a Sunday – one of the few days every week that is likely to be free from work and social commitments, and therefore a day that should be devoted to long stretches of gaming, surrounded by Baja Blast and prepackaged snacks (the “Gamer’s Mass”, if you will).
On the other hand, ignoring Mother’s Day is a one-way ticket to Guilt Island via the Nagging Express, which boards at Eyeroll Station with stops at Silent Treatment Town and “Guess What Sue’s Family Did For Her” City. And it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about honoring your wife, mother, baby mama or some combination of the three. Heck, I’ve known women who will give you the side eye for not remembering they have dog children when Mothers Day rolls around.
Sure, you could insist on following your Sunday ritual and put up with the muttered comments and the knowledge that she just posted about you on whichever complaining-based forum she frequents. Or you could try to point out that the woman in your life isn’t actually your mother, and therefore you don’t owe her anything on Mother’s Day – that’s the job of her children, pets, etc. (Note: this doesn’t work if the woman is really your mother.) Before you do this, decide which fingers you need the least in case she rips one of them off your hand in a rage. Remember that the thumbs and index fingers are critical to proper gamepad manipulation.
Or you can follow my three-point-plan for acing Mother’s Day and still getting in your Sunday gaming time.
Step One: Get the food. Most people take their wives/partners/mothers out to eat on Mother’s Day. And I get the logic. Someone else does the hard work of cooking and cleaning, you can knock out your holiday obligation with more than one person in the span of about an hour … plus the 90 minute wait for a seat. Because every other guy in the tri-state area had exactly the same idea.
So don’t go out to eat. Order something from a restaurant that can be picked up. For the love of God, unless you married/sprang from a unicorn who loves pizza for special holidays, do not order pizza. Get take out from that restaurant she likes. Chances are it has a name like “Zanzibar” or “Tako” or “Mediterranean, but Everything Comes with Hummus.” Bonus points if you’ve complained about eating there before. Remember, this isn’t all about you. It’s about making her feel great so that you can game in peace later.
A lot of people like to do brunch for Mother’s Day, but I personally feel that it leaves a little too much time left in the day. So unless you get her drunk on mimosas or you’ve set up an afternoon “me time” gift, you run the risk of having her decide that the best way to spend the afternoon would be together, looking at expensive things you’re not going to buy, like watercolor paintings of bridges or antique bedpans or something. So go with an early dinner/late lunch holiday meal, unless you’ve pre-planned a time-wasting gift. Which leads me to…
Step Two: It’s gift time. People often complain they have no idea what to get the woman in their life for Mother’s Day. That’s because you probably haven’t been paying attention. Believe me, she’s been dropping hints for weeks. Think back … did she seem to bring up a particular item of clothing/accessory/book/etc. for no real reason? That was a hint. Get that thing. Don’t be clever. Don’t get something like that thing. Don’t get that thing, but even better because you saw a great deal. Just get that thing.
Don’t remember the hint? No worries. You can ask. But you can’t ask directly what she wants for Mother’s Day. You’ll get some kind of, “Oh, I don’t need anything,” response and we all know that’s a trap. What you need to do is ask her for information for a gift that’s just a little bit wrong. As in, “Hey, I saw this fantastic fedora the other day and wanted to get it as a Mother’s Day present, but I wasn’t sure what your hat size is. Do you know?” Panicked that you might actually buy her a fedora, she’ll try to re-guide you with a few suggestions, as in, “Oooh. I don’t know exactly, but that Etsy artist who makes the jewelry I really, really like had some neat things.”
If you really have your ducks in a row, you’ll have planned ahead and gotten her a massage or hair appointment or spa day gift certificate and already scheduled it for Mother’s Day. If you did this, you win the holiday. If she likes shopping, you can achieve something similar with a gift card and a promise that you’ll clean up and take care of everything while she goes on a shopping spree. But if this is a no-go, you still have step three to bring it all home.
Step Three: “Me Time,” by which I mean “You Time.” So you’ve given her the gift, and you weren’t able to make it a gift that immediately sends her to the spa or out with her friends to the theater, etc. No worries. This is where you bring it all home.
First, don’t hide that you want to get in your Sunday gaming session. First, she already knows it, and second, you’re going to take her off guard. Tell her that you know you always disappear into a game on Sundays, and you appreciate that she’s so understanding. Then ask if she’d like to play with you so you can share this with her and show her how it’s a stress-reliever for you.
When she recoils in horror and struggles to turn you down nicely, say that it’s okay. You want to help her get in some “Me Time.” Then tell her you’re going to draw her a bath or give her some time alone with her favorite hobby and let nothing disturb her. As soon as she’s gone, put the dog outside, give any children hanging around whichever electronic device will keep them quiet for a few hours (they can’t rot their brains all in one day), and warm up the console or PC. Because you just bought yourself a few hours to get your Sunday gaming in.
Of course, the best plan of all would be to send her on a weekend away with her friends for Mother’s Day. But there’s always next year.
P.S. If your wife, mother, or partner is already a gamer, then shame on you for needing a guide. Get her a new game and leave her alone.
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