How do I spoil my mama?

I mailed a thing, and she’ll get to talk to her grandbabies tomorrow, but I still want to do more for that lady.

Surprise a clairvoyant by simply having a different future.

05-11-20-14-<3 / 13

Hello Diner. Happy Mother’s Day to you and the mothers in your life. We Fortune Cookies have ovens and cookie sheets as our mother, and therefore they want no special treatment apart from a deep cleaning. The fact that you want to do something above and beyond for your mother today means that you naturally make her feel loved and appreciated.

Human psychology makes doing something special for anyone tricky because of hedonic adaptation, like we mentioned in this Fortune. That means for those who already treat their mothers well, she naturally sets that treatment as her baseline. If you have this kind of relationship with your mother, and you noticed that your mom did not acknowledge it, hedonic adaptation is the reason. Making her feel special beyond how you normally treat her would mean putting more effort on top what you are already doing–more on this later. The flip side of this effect is that for those of you with an estranged relationship with your mother, any attention or gesture would make your mother feel special. This Fortune would be less useful for you. You may recognize these two relationships from the parable of the Prodigal Son. The story may be a metaphor for redemption, but it really is hedonic adaptation at work.

So what do you give an already pampered mom? Here are some suggestions:

Do something different. If you have a tradition of doing something every year, simply stray from tradition. You don’t have to give or spend more, just do something new.

Turn to nostalgia. Your mother may feel she has made sacrifices during her maternal career. Treat her to something that reminds her of her her youth.

Add an extra day. The second Sunday in May is for all mothers. Give her a mother’s day that is all her own–that is not her birthday.

Show up her friends. Everybody–including mothers–naturally compare themselves to their social circle. If you want to make your mother feel special, do something that her friends see and be envious of.[1] Nicely, of course.

The way to make your mother feel special is variety, Diner. It doesn’t have to be more or bigger, just unique–like your mom.




[1] Beach, Steven R. H.; Tesser, Abraham; Fincham, Frank D.; Jones, Deborah J.; Johnson, Debra; Whitaker, Daniel J. (1998). Pleasure and pain in doing well, together: An investigation of performance-related affect in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 74(4), 923-938. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.74.4.923