Planet Ark News

Clean your room and unpack the dishwasher - how to win at Mothers Day

Date: 07-May-15
Author: Emily Donnelly

Happy Mothers Day! © Emily Donnelly

Happy Mothers Day!

Growing up my siblings and I always tried to spoil our mum with creativity on Mothers Day. When I was seven, I filled a rubber glove with plaster and made her a jewellery stand. Looking back, it was more a creepy white plastered hand but mum loved it - it was definitely the thought that counted! Mum never used it but kept it anyway (I later learned that it was kept for the sole purpose of my 21st birthday -clearly to show off my creativity and excellence in hand sculpture!).

These days, we like to give mum something she actually wants. Something that we know she will actually use. We now know that mum re-gifts the perfume and moisturiser that she's given (hi Mum!). We know that she never finds time to use spa vouchers and that she doesn't like receiving new pajamas. "It's a waste," she says. "All I want is for you to clean your room and unpack the dishwasher more."  

After a few failed Mothers Day presents it all started to make sense. Mum's an accidental greenie. She hates waste, likes things to be reused or repaired as much as possible and doesn't like doing or receiving anything that might have a negative impact on the planet.

So, if you love and cherish a mum like mine, then look no further than these simple gift ideas that she will actually use that are better for the environment:

  • A trip to Bunnings: Does your Mum love a bit of DIY? Does she love watching The Block? If she's into upcycling, recycling or has a hobby that takes her out into the backyard, organise a trip to the hardware store! I tried this last year and helped mum build a mirror made from an old doorframe. Ta-da!
  • Plants, Flowers and Veggies: On that same trip to the hardware store, why not sneak away and look for a few new plants and flowers that your Mum can plant and add to her garden? Offer to do this with her and make an afternoon of it with some cucumber sandwiches, mini quiches and iced tea.
  • A Voucher Booklet of Household Chores: Your mum might enjoy ordering you around! You can customise these according to her favourite requests, but it's even better if you choose chores that extend beyond the usual room tidying or vacuuming. We made vouchers valid for 12 months, but I encourage you to get creative about the type of chores that need to be done such as guttering (Mum! Get down from there!), mowing the lawn or cleaning out the attic or garage.
  • Vertical Garden/ Wall Planter: Vertical gardens look unreal and bring the outdoors in. They create a harmonious and relaxing atmosphere, which is effective against those moments of stress that occur so frequently over heated discussions at the dinner table. These take a bit more investment, so you might need some input from dad or your siblings to make this happen.

These ideas have been really well-received by my mum. Since everyone in my family started opting for creativity and the environment in our gift choices, mum has enjoyed her special day even more. It's easy to be overwhelmed with TV advertisements, but it's good to stop and think before spending money on new items that won't get used.

For more ideas on how you and your family can live a low carbon lifestyle, visit

  • Recycling Week
  • Business Recycling
  • recycling Near You
  • Make It Wood
  • Tree Day
  • Cartridges for Planet Ark