Mother's Day is approaching, and with it inevitable disappointment. Oh, sure, what's important is time spent with family, and you love them no matter what, but there are two days a year that are just for you: Mother's Day and your birthday. It's not hard not to mess up two days, you guys! But, alas, your loving fam probably will. But you know who will never disappoint you? Wine. Yes, my friends, there are more than a few wine pairings for your Mother's Day gift fails, because you deserve nice things.
In many ways, it makes sense for me to spend Mother's Day with wine. My wines are like my children: I love them dearly, they make my life more fun, and even though I spend way more on them than I ever thought I would, they are worth it. Now I'm not making light of drinking, because another thing wines and children have in common is that they shouldn't be abused. And as I've said to friends, I'm not a woman who drinks because she's a stressed out mom. I'm a woman who has enjoyed wine long before she was ever a stressed out mom, and isn't going to stop now just because she's in danger of being some arguably problematic stereotype.
So what wines can you enjoy the most on Mother's Day? Depends on how badly your family has screwed up...
An Unintentionally Insulting Portrait
"Oh thank you sweetie! I'm so glad you see my as a blob with four straggly hairs and a terrifying mouth full of fangs. And I see you've answered some questions about me. My mom is... 76 years old. And her favorite thing to do is yell? That's... that's very sweet, darling. I love you, too."
Wine Pairing: Honestly, this is kind of an adorable fail, so I recommend a Gewürztraminer; a sweet aromatic white, often with notes of lychee, apricot, grapefruit, and pineapple. It's refreshing, like your child's honest observations, and has enough alcohol to dull just how the sting of those observations.
Coupons That Absolutely Won't Be Honored
Bless their hearts, your kids think that they will happily and willingly perform the task requested upon presentation of these coupons over the course of the next year. "Oh sweetheart, I have a coupon here for one free bathroom cleaning!" Like that's not going to end in a sea of complaints if you try to use it beyond today. Honestly it's not worth the moaning and eye rolling that would ensue. So either use those bad boys on Mother's Day or resign yourself to the fact that you will keep them in your jewelry box as a memento of your child's ambitious generosity and shitty follow-through.
Wine Pairing: Mother's Day IOU's (because that's really what they are) go well with the floral/melon-y flavor of a rosé. It's also basic, but in a cute, endearing way. Like this gift.
The premise of heart-shaped jewelry is best summed up in the following exchange from The Office:
Pam: OK, heart-shaped jewelry is not something that a woman buys for herself. A man definitely bought it for her recently...
Jim: Wait, so are you... you like heart-shaped jewelry, though, right?
Pam: No. Except for the pendant, that you bought me! Which I love!
Wine Pairing: Poor fashion sense pairs well with a Pinot Grigio; its pleasantly acidic and can range from citrus to honey flavored, depending on where the grape was grown and when it was harvested. This range provides a pretty broad spectrum depending how much you dislike heart-shaped jewelry. People who don't mind it may want to go for a sweeter, Alcacean Pinot Grigio. If you're like me and really don't like hearts, go for a dryer variety with hints of lime to match your sour disposition.
Breakfast In Bed
Breakfast in bed is actually a really nice Mother's Day gift, but only if there is an adult present to clean up the kitchen mess. When there's not (or when the supervising adult has left the mess for you to clean up) it's less charming. It's a roller coaster of a gift. It's cute, until you get out of bed to find 900 bowls, 77 pans, and 382 utensils were somehow used to make you eggs and toast.
Wine Pairing: Pop open a nice Sauvignon Blanc to sip as you tidy. The herbaceous undertones mixed with light, fruity notes will make this task more enjoyable.
Brunch At That Place You Hate
Mother's Day Brunch is an institution (if you don't believe me, ask anyone who has ever worked as a server and strap in for a rant) and so you should expect that, at some point in your life as a mother, someone is going to take you to one. It's nice, of course, because who doesn't like a meal out with the family, right? It's a great way to spend your mid-morning/early-afternoon, unless it's at the restaurant you have never liked but everyone else digs and can't ever seem to remember your disdain.
Wine Pairing: Any sparkling white. Champagne, Prosecco, Asti Spumante, whatever they have, drink it. No need to mix with orange juice for a mimosa, because that's where they get you. The orange juice is just going to slow you down and keep you from a nice brunch buzz. (Which is basically the whole point of brunch, right?)
Because what were they thinking. You need to try on your clothes! And they don't know your style! You're particular. A for effort but come on, you guys.
Wine Pairing: There's no better wine to drink as you think of a tactful way to ask if they kept the receipt than a Chardonnay. While it's a vintage that has become the butt of many a "basic mom" joke, I find both the buttery smoothness of an oaked Chardonnay or the light acidity of steel-aged is a great scheming wine.
Flowers You're Allergic To
You can't throw them out because you'd look like a monster, but every time you get a whiff of those pungent things you know you're going to go all watery-eyed and boogery.
Wine Pairing: Your best bet for a gift you're literally allergic to is going to be a Moscato, a wine known for it's overpowering sweetness. Hopefully the sweet fruit flavor and light bubbles will distract you from the blooming headache sitting prettily on your table.
The Gift Your Child Clearly Bought For Themselves
"Oh. It's a Hatchimal. Thank you so much for this novelty toy. It's so very thoughtful of you. Sure, go ahead and show me how to start hatching it."
Wine Pairing: Malbec. The medium bodied, cherry and plum flavors will roll pleasantly on the tongue as your child squeals in delight over "your" new toy.
Nothing says "I love and appreciate who you are as a person" quite like something everyone in the house should be using in some capacity, but only ever seems to fall on you. Repeat after me: cleaning supplies are not a good gift for a woman for any occasion. Neither are cooking supplies, unless she has a passion for cooking or has specifically asked for said supplies.
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir. A good glass of this light bodied, low-tannin red will balance tart cranberry flavors with earthy undertones. It will also pair well with the steak dinner your family now absolutely owes you.
The Gift Your Partner Clearly Bought For Themselves
That mailbox emblazoned with the logo of your partner's favorite sports team? Yeah, that wasn't for you.
Wine Pairing: Petite Sirah. Combining flavors of pepper and dark, rich jam, this is an excellent angry drink to match your spicy rage and sooth you with indulgent sweetness.
Fitness Tracker You Didn't Ask For
Ummm... what exactly are you saying?
Wine Pairing: A Cabernet Sauvignon, rich and heavy with oaky black current flavor, is a revolutionary answer to a fitness device. It says, "The only weight I'm interested in losing is that of the inhibitions that are keeping me from drinking more of this delicious French beverage."
Gift You Got Your Mother That She Obviously Hates
Not all Mother's Day fails are going to fall on your loved ones. Sometimes you will fail. Don't worry: there's a wine for that.
Wine Pairing: I recommend Cabernet Franc. The natural spiciness of this savory red will pair well with the saltiness of your defeated tears.
A Pet You Didn't Ask For
No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. A million nos. Infinity nos.
Wine Pairing: Sip a port, a syrupy sweet wine that will make you feel like less of a monster when you tell your family that the puppy cannot stay here.
Gift You Got Your Mother-In-Law That She Obviously Hates
Wine Pairing: Honestly just find the cheapest, largest bottle you can find and go nuts as you think, "Why is she even here? This is my day."
Wine Pairing: Skip the wine, go straight to gin and disappear in your room with it. Take this time to plot your revenge.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.