An absolute truth: washing machine manufacturers are in the business of selling washing machines.
A safe assumption: the majority of laundry loads are still managed by women.
A distinct probability extrapolated from the women I know: on their wishlist of 50 Mother's Day gifts, a mechanism permitting them to do even more laundry would be a whitewash.
Yet, here comes the parade of Mother's Day flyers, like marching bands through city streets, announcing sales on machines which are bigger, faster, more efficient, quieter, cheaper...guaranteed!
If only these qualities could be applied to our children for this 24 hour annual celebration of motherhood, life would be grand.
We are parents of a grade-schooler and a pre-schooler. As any of you who are, or have been, in a similar circumstance knows: this brings with it its own set of challenges. The pace required to manage little children is not always hectic, but it is constant. There is very little breathing room between minutes with children who see every moment as a question needing an answer. Our friends who have older children warn me of the transition from fighting to get the kids into the car, to worrying they haven't brought the car home yet.
For the moment, though, what we do most is chase, chase, chase. Chase for toothbrushing, for getting dressed, chase to the dinner table, to clean up their toys, chase them out of the room for the 5 minutes you're on the phone, and chase them into bed at night.
Twice a year, on your birthday and Mother's or Father's day, a parent is in a position to dictate the pace, even for only a few hours.
So, on behalf of my wife, here are some Mother's Day gift ideas inspired by - but not directly related to - my washing machine:
SPIN: Destabilize mom with pleasant surprises: let her sleep in, stuff a gift certificate in her shoe, leave a note saying "I love you" hanging outside a window, have flowers delivered to the door, prepare her favorite meal, give her a massage, go for a picnic lunch.
SOAK: Fill the tub with warm water, bubbles, and a bath bomb. Surround it with candles, and a flower, and a book. And again: make it a surprise!!
DELICATE: Plan ahead to lighten her load. Strategize so the day is filled with more of what she enjoys and less of what she considers work. It is important to understand her pleasures may not be yours. My wife likes gardening; compost and a wheel barrow get her excited. I prefer movies theatres to poop-in-dirt and a means to haul it across the yard.
PERMANENT PRESS: Get dressed up. Feel like fancy-pants adults again. Upgrade from Domino's and Scores and dine somewhere where patrons speak in hushed tones and the washroom don't have baby change tables.
OFF: Stop. Stop everything. Take a breath. Read a Book. Sit in a quiet room under a blanket. Take a walk and hold hands. Drive up a mountain and look out the windshield. Don't worry, Earth and life will resume their normal cadences again tomorrow.
If you do need a new washer and dryer? Great! Have it delivered 3 weeks from now.