Moms, of course, are hardly a monolith. They run the gamut from Java developer moms to moms who won't get off of AOL; moms who've conquered their BlackBerrys to moms who can't answer a text; moms who think video games embody the world's ills to moms who spend every free second on World of WarCraft.
To make your last-minute Mom's Day shopping a bit easier, Crave has come up with some original ideas for moms of varying stripes. We kick off with the mom who's inclined toward all things cute.
Does your Mom love cooking? Do you think Hello Kitty is cute enough to eat? You can get the best of both worlds with the Sanrio Hello Kitty Sushi Maker, a kit including a pair of rice compressors, a rice spoon, and a "makisu" roller that can shape sushi rice into the shape of Kitty's face, along with a pretty pink bow and the cat whiskers.
Hello Kitty may not have a mouth, but that doesn't mean you can't put her into yours! The Hello Kitty Sushi Maker is available from Japan's Strapya World for about $18.
Octomom, the busiest mom in the tabloids, would do well with an iPad, eight iPhones, and the Camera-A/Camera-B software packages.
Camera-A and Camera-B are a pair of apps that work together. Camera-B is the app for the iPhone. Install it, and it lets an iPad equipped with Camera-A access the iPhone's camera through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It essentially gives the iPad a rudimentary camera.
It also allows for a video preview of the iPhone's camera on an iPad. That way, one of Octomom's volunteers/indentured servents/suckers/nannies can keep an eye on the octet of rugrats as they get older and inevitably go on to venture around the country solving mysteries and trading places with unsuspecting dates at school dances. (OK, not really; it's limited to the range of both devices' Wi-Fi network or Bluetooth, but you know what we mean.)
And both apps only cost $1. Surely someone can afford that for Octomom. The eight iPhones and iPad, though...well, not our problem.
For the mom who likes to date your college pals...
We're well into the 21st century, and it's high time we accepted and embraced the fact that many mothers now fall into non-traditional lifestyle roles. Enter Cougar Calculator, an iPhone app designed for mature single women whose dating preferences skew toward the young and impressionable.
The app provides a set of sliding gauges to determine just how much of a "cougar" one is based on the difference between her age and the age of her significant other (or hypothetical dating interest), a useful task in an age when women can also be classified as "pumas," "kittens," "cheetahs," or other varieties of feline taxonomy that some deem pejorative and some deem empowering.
But be warned. The app costs 99 cents, which means your mother might disown you not just for being judgmental about her dating preferences, but also for being a cheapskate.
For the proselytizing uber-green mom...
Uber-green moms can put lesser mortals in their place with this handy tote bag that carries a powerful message. Also, less green moms can use it to make fun of uber-green moms--even though by using a reusable bag, they'd of course be following the green group think.
My Reusable Bag Makes Me Better Than You may be a tad preachy, but what SUV-driving, plastic-bag-abusing person doesn't want to stick it to all those do-gooders trying to save our planet from environmental destruction?
The faux-canvas bags measure 16.5 inches tall by 13 inches wide and is available from Entertainment Earth for $9.99.
For the mom who won't let go of AOL...
The shiny new MacBook Pro your mom just bought to replace her 6-year-old behemoth of a Compaq notebook says she's very 2010. But when she checks her e-mail she slides back to 2000.
The voice of "You've got mail!" echoes every time she logs on to AOL. Why, you ask, does she have AOL? Not because you and your whole tech-savvy family haven't tried to lure her away to Gmail, because you have. Repeatedly. But she insists that a decade of bookmarks and AOL favorites built up and saved would be too inconvenient to manually replace.
Which is why you might want to consider this great (and free!) Mother's Day gift: migrating her to a Gmail account and setting up an iGoogle bookmark in Safari for access to a personalized host of Google services she'll like (News, Finance, Picasa).
As a bonus, be sure to let her in on the secret that you're available to chat with her on Gtalk pretty much whenever.
For the mom who still sweats to Jane Fonda tapes...
First, a warning: Giving Wii Fit to some moms might be perceived as the equivalent of giving a card that reads, "Happy Mother's Day! After brunch it's time to go on a diet." That's not going to go over too well.
However, for the mom who might not be so sensitive and who may not have done home-based exercise since the Jane Fonda video days, Wii Fit is the perfect way to bring her to up to date (and hopefully down in weight).
It's also a great one for hip new moms contending with the dreaded baby weight issue. (Click here for "Wii Mommies" attesting to their weight loss.) And Wii Fit can be fun (and healthy) for the whole family, too.
Wii Fit Plus, which runs about $17, is an upgrade to the 2008 Wii Fit game that brought the fitness video game genre into the mainstream. Improvements over the first game include the ability to create your own tailored workouts and the introduction of plenty of fun new balance games.
Of course, it also requires the purchase of the Wii gaming console in households absent the popular device. And it needs a Wii balance board, which you can get with a Wii Fit Plus bundle for about $109.
For the mom who thinks video games are worthless...
Video games have no redeeming benefits. That's a belief held by many moms the world over, and one that's been in the public consciousness almost as long as video games have been around.
Sure, Mom limits your time with games and then goes and watches a 12-hour marathon of "America's Next Top Model." Hmmm, which do you think rots your brain faster, Tyra Banks or Master Chief?
Thanks to a study conducted in the Netherlands, we believe it's Tyra. The study suggests that "shoot-to-kill video games improve quick thinking and make players more able to cope with the demands of modern life."
Also, anyone who thinks video games don't stimulate your brain in beneficial ways that passive entertainment can't has never played played Portal, or Braid, or Professor Latham's Diabolical Box, or Tetris (or any of its millions of clones), or any fighting game ever made, or...do we really need to go on?
Moms, it's time to stop with the antiquated thinking and (finally) step into the new millennium. My suggestion? Try Sally's Spa. Not only did it teach us how to better manage our time, but also showed us that we can give a virtual manicure in two seconds simply by swiping our finger across their hands. Useless indeed!
For the vertically challenged mom...
You think it's hard getting out of bed in the morning? Try doing it when your grandkids start screaming over the PlayStation at 5 a.m.
This Bed Ladder gives Mom a hand up on those days when she's a little short on get up and go, as well as those nights when she's thrown her back out from all those grandchild piggyback rides and getting into bed is an agonizing transition from vertical to horizontal. Best of all, you won't need to invest in an expensive nurse robot.
Bed Ladder loops around bed posts or bed legs: Simply grasp the wooden handles and pull. It's 118 inches long and 10 inches wide and available from Taylor Gifts for $14.98.
It's also handy as a fire-escape ladder if Mom lives up to 3 feet off the ground.
Swedish Medical Center
For the snap-happy geek mom...
For camera-happy new moms, at least those in the Seattle area, Swedish Medical Center has teamed with Microsoft and Nordstrom to launch a photo contest centered around the hospital's "I'm a Swedish Baby" campaign.
Microsoft has installed Surface multitouch devices in three local Nordstroms on which the public can read about the hospital's 100-year history and view photos and stories of babies born there. The babies are then judged in a range of categories by certified Cute-Baby People and the submitters get cash prizes.
We think this is a great way for geeky moms to celebrate their new bundles of joy with awesome and innovative future tech. As for not-so-new moms, unfortunately the Surface won't display Polaroids from the '80s, no matter how cute your rascal was.
For moms-to-be sick of strangers touching their bellies...
Lullabelly, a prenatal music belt with a built-in speaker, plays tunes to baby in the womb, which supposedly makes the little bun smarter. But here's what we think would be really smart: if the company added an alarm that sounds when well-meaning strangers get a little too close to the wearer's belly. And maybe a quick Taser for those touchy-feely types who ignore the warning? Boundaries, people, boundaries!