Just a reminder: Mother's Day is next Sunday, so there's still time to get that parcel to mum if you are living away from home! For the rest of us, wrapping "something thoughtful" would be nice.
When I was about 14, our family was getting ready to move house.
Mum was talking about gardens, so I bought her a spade.
It was a lesson - maybe on that special day, mothers expect something a little more personal!
I finished my university degree with one year's worth of Sociology.
All just common sense stuff, I thought at the time, maybe codified into formal statements.
One of the big things was family and its importance in advertising.
We studied how the word "family" was used in packaging, family size instead of large.
Family fun was a good description for something everyone should attend.
We studied the importance of the family unit to a stable society, and of course, the key to family was mother.
At that time, not all mothers worked full time.
We studied how a mother working changed the roles within the family, but always with mother at the apex.
And I have to admit as a father, that my school-teaching experience taught me that when a crisis hit, injury, or upset about a friend, for example, it was always mum that the child wanted.
As a teacher I observed many mothers. Rarely did I see a mother who didn't care, didn't love her children dearly.
Would Sociology studies emphasise motherhood today?
One of my nieces teaches in a fairly exclusive school where they have boarders as young as Kindergarten children.
She is a very compassionate person, and, on occasions, has volunteered to take a child into her own family during school holidays, when the mother's career has prevented the child going home, even during the holidays.
Will that child grow into a compassionate adult, not having felt daily warmth and love from its own mother?
As a teacher, I observed many mothers.
Rarely did I see a mother who didn't care, didn't love her children dearly.
That made the hurt even greater when the eldest child reached that 12-13-14 period where there can be inconsiderate behaviour.
Very early in my career as a school principal, I remember a mum and dad coming for an interview about their "dreadful" 14-year-old daughter.
Tantrum behaviour at home led to the "I hate you" moment. It was too much for this caring mum. I only had young children at home, so I hadn't seen this type of teenage behaviour.
I hesitated before answering, making some excuse to leave the room momentarily to confirm that the parents in my office were indeed the parents of the girl that I thought they were talking about!
The child I knew was a model student, a potential school leader, loved by everyone who taught her.
I was able to convince mum and dad that they had an ideal daughter.
That type of mother-daughter experience was one that I would see often during my time as a school principal.
Mothers preparing their daughters for adult life know that they are facing a very different world to the one my Sociology classes painted.
This is no longer a safe world.
Today's teenagers face alcohol, drugs, the ever present threat of drink spiking, and sexual assault.
Talking to children about safe drinking is harder if mother has allowed liquor to become part of her life, maybe even taken over her life.
While we have tried, through education about consent rules and safe sex, to make the world a better place for girls growing up, it is still a mother's primary role to teach morals (perhaps a very old-fashioned topic these days?) and sensible behaviour that limits risk-taking.
It is mother who bears the pain of a child gone wrong.
It is a mother who offers a safe space and unconditional love when mistakes are made.
Visiting our newest grandson in Canberra, watching videos of another grandson excelling at softball in Sydney, I can vouch for the joy mothers feel as they watch the family grow, and succeed.
As a father, I hope that I was always there in those moments too, but I acknowledge the very special place that mothers have in family life.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.