Like many, I think Mother’s Day is a great idea. After all, it celebrates one of the world’s most difficult jobs, also the most poorly paid and possibly the least appreciated, that also happens to be one of the most important. But the consumerism linked to Mother’s Day can bring mixed feelings - after all, a day of celebration that also results in the accumulation of masses of unwanted trinkets and the dumping of tonnes of plastic waste seems counter-productive. And let’s face it - not that much fun for mum.
We’ve come up with a family guide to celebrating Mother’s Day while taking care of Mother Earth, and we think your mum will love you for it. Here are the ground rules:
Choose your candles carefully
So you’ve rejected the toxic paraffin candles (well done, you!) and you’re eyeing up a plant-based candle for mum? It’s worth checking whether the wax is made from GM soy - which would mean pesticides, herbicides and insectageddon, together with questionable ethics. If you buy a plant-based candle, make sure it’s free of palm oil and GM, but better still find an ethical brand that’s certified ethically grown. We believe the safest and most ethical candles are made with unscented certified organic beeswax - they smell pretty wonderful just as they are. Certified organic means the bees are foraging on healthy, poison-free crops - and when bees are protected, so are the other insects.
2. Don’t buy anything with synthetic fragrance
Most candles, perfumes and soaps, as well as air-fresheners and car fragrances are made with synthetic fragrance. These long-lasting and intense aromas are not safe to breathe. For health reasons and for the sake of the environment, buy your mum products that are either free of fragrance, or fragranced with good quality essential oils.
3. Don’t buy an ornament
Chances are, your mum has enough ‘things’ and finding a place to put another one might actually give her a small headache. I know she’s smiling but she’s has to because she’s your mum. Don’t do it.
4. Don’t buy things made of, or packaged in plastic
Call me ungrateful, but when I receive something displayed in a mass of plastic, all I’m looking at is that plastic, worrying about whether it really will be recycled, and will it end up in a whale’s belly? Sticking to things made of wood, glass, metal or natural fabric is automatically way up there on the ‘good taste’ spectrum. But you must also ensure it fulfils point 5 below.
5. If you must buy a ‘thing’, make sure it’s something beautiful, useful or edible
Please be careful here. If the beautiful thing you have chosen is in the ornament category, be mindful that your mum’s idea of beautiful might be different from yours. Most mums are more than happy to receive consumables - beautiful organic food that you’ve purchased knowing it’s something she loves to eat, food you prepared yourself from scratch, something she would love to wear that’s been made from natural fibres by a company with good ethics, a great book or some organic skin care (I know where you can get some).
6. Buy her an experience
The thing mums treasure more than anything else is time they get to spend with their family, preferably when it does not involve shopping, cooking and doing the dishes. Spending time together eating, watching a movie, going to a play, or listening to music and just being together is precious to her.
7. Buy her time to look after herself
Time to look after herself is probably the one thing your mum is most in need of. Hiring a house-cleaner or a baby sitter to give her a few hours of free time would feel miraculous (assuming that as in most households she does the lion’s share of these tasks). She could spend the spare hours kicking up her heels with friends or relaxing in the bath soaking in something gorgeous (e.g. this or this), reading her book and sipping something delicious.
8. Repeat numbers 6 and 7 frequently throughout the year as a sign of your true love and appreciation.
And have a wonderful day!