Don't buy into commercialisation this Mother's Day . . .
by: Veronica Sullivan & Danielle Binks
Look around at the advertising for Mother’s day. This celebration honouring mothers has, for some big businesses, become just another money-making scheme: a distortion and commercialization of motherhood.
Some of the advertising is frustratingly clichéd; working on a 1950s assumption that mother’s are content to be given pyjamas, cookbooks and chocolates (all presents that conveniently keep them in the home):
Sometimes the advertising is utterly superficial and empty-hearted, suggesting that a mother’s worth is in the ring on her finger or diamonds in her ears:
And then there’s the down-right sleazy;
Spinifex urges you to avoid the widespread materialistelements of Mother’s Day, and opt for a shared experience with mum, and maybe the rest of the family too.
Here are some sustainable, ethical options which are inexpensive and focus on sharing time together, rather than money. Go out for a meal and a chat together, or try some outdoor activities and excursions.Getting out and about
Go for a bushwalk: There are some stunning bushwalking options located close to the city. Try the George Bass Coast, the Dandenongs or Mt Evelyn.
Compete in the Mother’s Day Classic together: Events are being held in all capital cities and many regional locations across Australia this mother’s day. The event raises money and awareness for Breast Cancer Research. The Melbourne event involves a 4km or 8km walk or run so you can pick and choose according to your ability level.
Or a less strenuous walk: Along Merri Creek, around Port Philip Bay, or the Tan track at the Botanical Gardens. Being together and away from artificial distractions is a calming and rewarding treat for anyone and allows for catch up time.
Or how about a boat trip: A trip along the Yarra gives you a whole new perspective on the city. See it differently and remember it forever.
Visit your local produce market – South Melbourne, Queen Vic, or Prahran: Visit your local market first thing Sunday morning and pick up some fresh fruit. Take it home and juice up a fresh breakfast drink for mum.
Camberwell Market – Camberwell: Visit the Camberwell market from 6am-12pm with your mum. Give her a “voucher” for a suitable amount and tell her she can take her pick from the endless stalls of recycled and preloved clothes, books, arts, ANYTHING.
Rose Street Artists Markets – Fitzroy: A range of lovingly handmade crafts, clothes, jewellery, collectable and vintage items. Open Sat and Sun 11am-5pm, so you can buy a gift beforehand or visit together.
Abbotsford Convent – Abbotsford: Entry to the historic buildings and grounds of the Abbotsford Convent is free. Visit the artist studios, enjoy the gardens and have lunch at one of several cafes within the convent walls. Sunday tours of the convent are available from 2pm. And you can gift 'The Abbotsford Mysteries' as a companion poetry book.
Garden together – Get your hands dirty in your own backyard (weather permitting). May is the month to plant beans, mushrooms, onions, spinach and various herbs.
Japanese Bath House – Collingwood: Single sex communal baths at 41 degrees, followed by shiatsu massage. This traditional onsen is the perfect way to relax together.
Eating and drinking
The Pantry – South Melbourne Commons: Wholesale, locally farmed and grown produce.
Ripe Restaurant – Sassafras: Enjoy the gorgeous drive up to the Dandenong mountains and then an honest, hearty lunch at one of the most underrated restaurants in Melbourne.
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm – Main Ridge, Mornington Peninsula: Unfortunately the self-pick season, always popular with kids, is closed for winter. But SunnyRidge still have a wide variety of homemade strawberry products for sale, including jams, syrups, ice creams and sorbets, and strawberry wines and champagnes.
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Bulleen: Galleries, the kitchen garden, the outdoor sculpture garden and Café Vue (which cooks with fresh produce from the gardens). A classic special occasion destination.
Lentil As Anything – Abbotsford, Footscray, St Kilda: Still the original and best option for vegetarian food, with vegan and gluten free options available. Payment for meals is done by donation, so you decide the price you feel is fair for your meal. Money raised is put straight back into the local community.
– St Kilda: Slightly fancier and pricier vego fare in generous portions, with anextensive wine list.
Ripe Organic Grocer – Albert Park: Organic and wholefoods fresh. Eat them in the café or take home for later. Including juices squeezed fresh while you wait.
Contrary to popular advertising, mothers do not need chocolates, or another flannel pyjama set. Here are some suggestions for special or slightly unusual gifts which think outside the box a little bit:
1000 Pound Bend – CBD: Support local artists at this small exhibition space in the heart of the city, where you can buy an eclectic range of artworks.
Organic coffee: A range of blends, all organic and fair-trade, available to purchase online.
Oxfam Unwrappedoptions: OxFam have a huge range of donation options, which specify where your money is going so you can feel connected to the charity process. Giftsinclude Support and Essential for Midwives in Laos ($35), Pre-Natal Classes for Cambodian Mothers ($55), and Security and Education for South African Children Orphaned by HIV ($97).
The Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping 2012 ($7.00)
Notebook ($9.00) – made locally in Melbourne out of salvaged folders and letterhead
Books are the best presents, but don’t insult your mum’s intelligence with chicklit or a cooking book. Here are some intelligent, literary, questing book suggestions: