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What mom really wants: Well-behaved kids Add to ...

My little boys have started asking me already (with my husband lurking softly in the background): What do you want for Mother's Day, Mama?

Yes, folks, it's all about the flowers and chocolate, spa days and high teas. Get out there and shop in the name of unconditional love.

The average consumer spent about $127 on their mum last year, according to a survey by the U.S. National Retail Federation. Men spent far more than women, averaging $155 compared with $100.

But there is no shortage of money-saving tips and deals for Mother's Day on the Web. Then there's the question posed by one reader on an Internet forum: Is spending $700 for my mom's Mother's Day gift too much? (The forum, incidentally, is run by a swish cookware company. The answers are overwhelmingly in favour of spending the money.)

One blogger adds this helpful tip: "Dads, if you have racked your brain and still come up empty, ask her best friend for ideas. Our best friend is a reliable source to find out what we've had our eye on lately. Also, keep your eyes and ears open for subtle or not-so-subtle hints we might drop."

It has truly become a Hallmark occasion, with the expectation that every mother (or wife) will be the lucky recipient of a gift, large or small. You know, there are those royal wedding earrings on sale, based on Kate Middleton's engagement ring, and they could be your mum's for just $799!

And yet: Has anyone ever asked a mother what she wants?

Actually, yes. The Mother Company polled 250 moms. The most common response (54 per cent): "Well-behaved kids." Meanwhile, 29 per cent said they wanted time for themselves.

Another retailer, DotComGiftShop, surveyed more than 350 mums. The top gift, picked by 58 per cent of respondents, was: a cuddle. It outranked chocolates, flowers, breakfast in bed (the crumbs on the sheets!) and even (take note, Hallmark) a card.

Come, come. Would you really prefer a day without quarrelling kids to the pair of $10 pink underwear recommended by none other than Today's Parent as a gift? Is a tight hug, with a fat little cheek pressed against yours, really better than a $5.99 penlight recommended by financial blogger Nathan Johnson as a gift to carry around in your purse?

I hope my husband is reading this.

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