by |April 5, 2011



The greatest of all days on the calendar is fast
approaching Mother’s Day.

I don’t say Mother’s Day is the greatest day of the year just because I am frightened of my mother. I am, but that’s not why I say it. (And by saying that Mother’s Day is the greatest day of the year I mean no disrespect to the world’s religions, or the diggers, or the nation.)

I believe Mother’s Day is the greatest day of the year for the simple fact that without mothers you wouldn’t be reading my gift guide. (You thought I was going to get sentimental, didn’t you?)

Visit Toni Whitmont’s Mother’s Day catalogue with hundreds of great gift  ideas


All mums are multi-taskers but only the Multi-Tasker Mum wants you to know it. She’s a conspicuous over-achiever. With child on hip, iPhone in hand, she’ll make you a cappuccino on her new machine whilst explaining that she must fly, for she has a meeting with a someone interested in investing in her latest start up – Mindless Mums, a childminding service.


There is something altogether spooky about Sweetness and Light Mum. Her home is always spotless, the aroma of baking cookies adorns in the air, and she seems permanently prepared for unexpected guests. Sweetness and Light Mum has a kind word for everyone, will discreetly clean away any mess you’ve made and has nothing to tell the police about her husband’s recent disappearance.


At heart, 4WD Mum is the most caring of beings. She bought the 4WD to protect those most important to her – her kids. It’s just that every time she climbs up into her rig a change comes over her. She becomes one with her machine – she is powerful, strong and large, able to crush Mini Coopers beneath her wheels, drive over round-a-bouts and through shopfronts for the occasional ram-raid. In short, no one is safe.


No one suffers more from being so often romanticised than the New Mum. The image of a glowing, ever patient, softly spoken woman brimming over with love for the sleeping babe in her arms belies the truth. What of the stinking, sodden mess defying the efforts of nappies and wraps, seeping unmercifully down mother’s front and into her waiting lap? What of the head splitting squeal which wakes her in the maddening hour before dawn? Tread lightly on her first Mother’s Day.


We all want something beautiful in our life. Green Thumb Mum, having decided that her progeny is unlikely to provide her with any, turns to her garden for her fill of beauty. Gardens have other benefits, too. They don’t answer back, they are always home before twelve, and they are of a pleasant disposition. Sure, they require care and attention, and sure, they leave their unwanted clothes on the ground and sure, they grow weed… but none of this matters much to Green Thumb Mum, because they do all of these things in absolute silence.


A mother by sheer fact alone, Hip Mum deviates not one degree from the course she set as a teen. Barely stopping to give birth, she continues to live her irregular hours, dragging baby, then toddler, then child from party to opening, from bar to festival. Hip Mum’s age only becomes apparent in her mid-fifties, when at one of her children’s weddings, she throws her back out while snogging the caterer in the cloakroom and leaves the wedding on a stretcher.


You may not have met Corporate Mum but her children have – she schedules in a 15-minute video-conference with them for the first of every month. She’s proud of the fact she can play hardball with the big boys while still finding time to be there for her kids. Just last week, whilst in China, she received a distress call from her eldest daughter and she made sure her PA got to it right away. What was the cause of her daughter’s distress? It wasn’t in the memo.


The best and the worst of mums. The Committee Mum rules the roost at school which means the tuck shop door is always open, the lead role in the school musical is a given and the school bully asks you to punch him. It’s only later when you’re nudged awake by the Member for Barton while snoozing on the backbench in Federal Parliament that you discover the unforeseen downside of calling Committee Mum, mum. The Member for Barton apologises but says, pointing to the public gallery, ‘your mum made me do it.’


At best, Average Mum is an approximation. At worst, she is a stereotype. There shouldn’t be any Average Mums but in fact there are more Average Mums out there than all the other kinds combined. Why? Because Average Mum is created in the mind of Average Dad. When buying gifts for his kids to give to their mother on Mother’s Day, he uses the full power of his imagination, pictures his wife and comes up with – frying pan, ironing board, tea cosy, dressing gown or facial hair removal cream. Average Mum is born.

NB: Publishers can (and do) change covers without warning & titles are available only while publisher’s stocks last

If you share the Booktopia Book Guru, John Purcell’s sense of humour you may like to subscribe to the Booktopia Blog where he will keep you up to date with all the latest book news and follow him on Twitter where you can chat with him about books, writing and silly stuff, live. Oh, and don’t forget to ‘like’ Booktopia’s Facebook page.

Do you know any of these mums? Do you think I have the right book selection for each mum? Who’s missing? You can leave your comments below…
(No mums were harmed in the making of this blog post)

(Visit the guide on the Booktopia website – click here)

And yes, I was too frightened to include Blogging Mum or Tweeting Mum.

If your mum isn’t fussed about when she gets her present you could pre-order a copy of…

When My Husband Does the Dishes… by Kerri Sackville which will be available 2nd May 2011

As recently reviewed here by  Kylie Ladd

When My Husband Does the Dishes . . . provoked much discussion in my household. Not regarding its contents, which I’ll get to, but instead over the title.

“When my husband does the dishes… what?” asked my eleven year old son when he first saw (or rather heard) me reading it. Knowing full well that the original title had actually been When My Husband Does The Dishes He Wants Sex I quickly and seamlessly steered the discussion in a different direction.

“Uh, um, nothing!” I stuttered. “It’s just ‘When my husband does the dishes’. Full stop! End of story!” READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

Follow John: Twitter Website


  • Kara-lee Dewhirst

    April 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    MY mum but she is hard to sum up and Id reckon she would be a whole bunch of those combined! Great job not only informative but you had me giggling.. really? whos mum was snogging the caterer! *dashes off to stop mum snogging the pool boy next*

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