Survey Says: Most Moms Want a Meal Out on Mother's Day

The results are in, and our Mother's Day survey shows a lot of moms aren't happy with their gifts — which is often nothing. So take mom out, or at least call.
image image image

The results are in, and you'd better go out: The number one gift Mom really wants this Mother's Day is a meal outside the home, according to our DealNews survey of more than 450 mothers.

Less than one in ten mommas (9%) actually received that gift last Mother's Day, while 6% got a special meal inside. We don't know why the meal in is less desirable, but it does conjure visions of Dad burning the tuna casserole and french fries.

Cards and Flowers Are Cliche, But Better Than Nothing

As for the other popular gifts from last year, here's what the mothers in our survey reported getting:

  • A card (19%)
  • Flowers (14%)
  • Children's crafts such as noodle art, handprints, etc. (8%)
  • Jewelry (6%)

And some kids, betting they're the progeny of the Mom Who Has Everything, chose to give — nothing (8%). Now wherefore such a pitiful lack of action? Laziness? Workaholism? Unresolved issues in therapy?

Maybe it's because "nothing" is the one gift you can't return. About 1 in 10 moms have returned a gift. In fact, our survey reveals that only 62% of moms were fully satisfied with their gift last year. That means 38% of moms were either "somewhat satisfied" or "not satisfied" at all. Think about that: "Somewhat satisfied" is a lot like the kids smiling politely at Ma's meatloaf when a frozen supreme pizza beckons just a few feet away.

SEE ALSO: Historically Great Mother's Day Gifts

Let's clarify these data points so that you don't mess up. The majority of moms in the 38% crowd were 35 to 44 and had elementary school-aged children. And what did they get as presents? Mostly a card or nothing. Not even that infamous paper-plate noodle art will do, even if mom has 20 of these specimens hanging in her walk-in closet.

Call Your Mother

Meanwhile, you could take a crap shoot via smartphone. Moms tell us that there's roughly a 50-50 chance that a phone call will be sufficient. So you'd better rehearse singing, reciting a poem or telling Mom she'll soon be a grandma; these are unscientific but smart ways of increasing the satisfaction quotient.

So what do these mothers really want? Hello, McFly: Again, they say a meal out as their top choice. So does a phone call count? Not really. With elementary school kids, that probably means they're calling on your iPhone from their bedrooms in between games of Temple Run.

So the next time you go to the PTA meeting, look around. Count off the first ten moms you see. Now wrap your pseudo-sentimental, last-minute gift card around this: Four out of ten only pretend to like their Mother's Day gifts, or perhaps won't hide their disdain at all.

And remember: Once Mom is so taken for granted, she has every right to exercise some retribution. Given that dads are in charge of rounding up the gift call in so many households with young kids, it's tempting to pick a fight with him first.

But ladies, please take our suggestion in the event of lame largesse. Don't grab Dad by the scruff of the neck. Instead, adorn it next month with the one hackneyed gift that'll make him grin and bear it: a necktie.

Contributing Writer

Lou Carlozo is a DealNews contributing writer. He covers personal finance for Reuters Wealth. Prior to that he was the Managing Editor of, and a veteran columnist at the Chicago Tribune.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
You might also like
Leave a comment!

or Register