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Giving less-than-stellar advice to their children may cost moms $173


All three of my children have lived up to their Apgar* scores (a perfect 10 all around!), however, when it comes to spending their hard-earned cash on their mom for Mother’s Day, I’m sad to say they’re all below average.

According to the website Fundivo, the average spend per person on Mother’s Day gifts is $173. I realize there are professional athletes out there buying their moms houses, so either that skews the number or my children have a couple of other mothers they’re not telling me about. Or maybe because women traditionally buy the gifts for everyone in the family, my $173 is being split between me and my daughters’ mothers-in-law. My son, however, doesn’t have that excuse, unless, of course, he’s spending $170 on his wife and $3 on my card (add postage and he’s actually spending more than the average. He always was a mama’s boy—notice how I was careful not to call him a nancy’s boy).

It’s not that I’m greedy or that my job doesn’t pay me enough to buy my own presents, it’s just that I like the thought of my kids sacrificing for me. I lost my girlish figure giving birth to them—would it kill them to buck up and eat a high-calorie meal with me once a year? They’ve got the rest of the year to diet.

Plus, I never realized that grade schools were spending so much on supplies for those handprint casts on paper plates or popsicle-stick jewelry boxes mothers are prone to get. Maybe the idea was that the kids’ father was supposed to put a $173.76 (minus the cost of supplies) piece of jewelry in the handmade box to get the average spend up.

I know, I know. Mother’s Day was so last month. My indignation dissipated when I learned the average spend on Father’s Day is $116. (That’s the problem with researching one holiday in May and one in June.)

The reason I was fixated on a month-old holiday is that in the May issue we asked three CEOs to tell us the best advice their mothers gave them on business or life. Because I don’t want to be accused of slighting dear ol’ dad—like the rest of the world—I repeated the best advice feature in this issue. I asked three franchise executives: “What was the best advice your mother gave your father?”

No, just kidding. I asked three new candidates what advice their fathers gave them when they were growing up. I identified the most with Mary Kennedy Thompson, the COO for the Dwyer Group, because like hers, my father was career military.

When I was in college, my father would send me letters advising me not to “get behind the power curve.” To a college student that meant nothing because I was not flying a B-52, nor was I bombing the enemy, although in fairness to my dad I was bombing a few tests.

My mother’s advice ran closer to Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind—and I still employ Scarlett’s sentiment at every meal: “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” My mom never formally uttered this, but since we always went shopping when I was depressed as a kid, I pictured this line from Scarlett’s mouth to  my mom’s ear: “I can’t think about that right now...I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Which translated into: “Come, Nancy, there are sales that need our  attention today.” And she was right. It’s amazing how a purse at 50-percent off postpones your problems for at least a day, and let’s not even begin to talk about the medicinal properties of a cute pair of shoes—even at full price.

Fortunately neither parent adopted Scarlett’s husband’s Rhett’s rhetoric: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

I’m not criticizing my parents, although the fact that I can’t come up with pithy and inspiring advice from my parents is probably the reason I’m never asked by Time magazine or The New Yorker to share my inspirational stories in their Father’s and Mother’s days round-up. Most likely my parents did give me good advice and I was daydreaming at the time, or behind the power curve.

My children will tell you I’m not setting the world on fire in the Mom Olympics of memorable advice either.

After hearing our Yoga Live instructor tell us several times  that sticking  out our booty when we did certain poses protected our backs, I emailed it as a reminder to my daughters as sound advice to life. “I now have an answer if someone asks me if my mom has ever given me great advice,” Becca wrote back. To which Sarah responded, “Haven’t you heard her ‘always buy jackets with lining’ advice?”

Nancy Weingartner

Nancy Weingartner
Reach Nancy at 612-767-3207 or nancyw@franchisetimes.com. Follow her on Twitter
at http://twitter.com/nanweingartner

Yes, that’s right, if I die tomorrow that will be the sum total of what I have taught my daughters. Buy jackets with linings because they keep their shape. Even I don’t follow that advice anymore. I didn’t even bother to text Zack for moral support because he has a penchant for sports jerseys which have no need for a lining.

And that, Dear Readers, is the reason my children don’t each pony up $173 dollars on a Mother’s Day gift for me. I just hope their father has given them advice that’s half as good as mine over the years so he’ll at least qualify for $58 worth of  tangible goods this Father’s Day.

And remember all you dads out there, it’s not too late to start giving memorable advice to enrich your child’s life. Just don’t forget to include me on the email so I can forward it to my children.


*An Apgar score is a measurement of the physical condition of a newborn infant. A 10 represents the best possible condition.

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