There’s no way you can rely on your children to reward you properly for the hell you’ve gone through on their behalf. So why not book your own treat, asks Emma Bartley

Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

I typically send my mum a card on Mother’s Day; perhaps, if I’ve been organised, a small gift such as earrings, beauty products or a bunch of flowers. But this year I myself am a mother, so naturally I’ve dramatically reappraised the scale of gift that I think is appropriate.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that I’m grasping and tightfisted – I am, terribly, but that’s not the point. The point is that this is the day when every tiny act of love, every contraction, every nappy change, every middle-of-the-night feed, will be recognised by my husband and daughter and I will feel, “Yes, I am appreciated”. Except, she’s nine months old and he can’t even get it together to phone his own mum on Mother’s Day, so I’m thinking I’ll be lucky to get a card, let alone the weekend in New York I so richly deserve.

What to do? One option is to sit here festering for the rest of my life, accepting the occasional bunch of petrol-station-forecourt flowers and thinking of My Great Sacrifice. Some women I know have made a career out of that, but it isn’t for me and it shouldn’t be for you either.

Mothers, choose your own gift this year. Choose a spa day. Choose a make-up makeover. Choose facials, nail treatments, overpriced products that you don’t need but by God, the packaging looked appealing and when you’ve been through what we’ve been through, that’s reason enough. Choose life.

One simple idea is simply to take a look at the Get the Gloss Little Book of Experts and book yourself in for a much-needed manicure, facial or similar. Alternatively, here are my top five ideas based on my pathetic new life. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

A Charlotte Tilbury movie star make-up makeover

At the moment I wear make-up about one day in three, if I’m meeting someone and am organised enough to locate my year-old mascara. The other day, I caught sight of my reflection in the window (I’m not stupid enough to keep mirrors around any more) and briefly mistook myself for a wildebeest. If you’re in a similar boat, Charlotte Tilbury’s filmstar makeovers at Selfridges in London could help to remind you that you are a woman and, in Scarlett Johansson's make-up, not a bad-looking one either. The one-hour consultation with one of Charlotte’s Lead Make-up Artists (who travel the world with her as she does the faces of real-life movie stars like Penelope Cruz) cost £55, which is redeemable against Charlotte Tilbury products.

Shellac anything

Nail polish is a bad idea when you’ve got small children. As soon as you’ve applied it, chances are you’ll be forced to choose between saving your child’s life and saving your manicure. It’s a tough one, but most people will choose the child. Then there’s the chipping, and finding the time to take it off when it’s chipped because Lord knows you don’t want little Hildegaard breathing in acetone fumes. Basically, motherhood = shit nails. Beat the system this Mother’s Day by leaving the kids with daddy/granny/a passing tramp for an hour and going to a salon to get a Shellac manicure, which is capable of surviving nuclear war. You can even buy products to do it yourself at home, if your hands aren’t shaking as badly as mine.

L’Art du Soin infused facial water, by Diptyque

I’ve tried this and it’s heavenly. Obviously nobody needs a £35 rose and nasturtium-infused spray for their faces, but it really is a nice thing to have around on a day when taking the time to rub in your actual moisturiser seems like a tremendous act of selfishness. Supposedly it also does something to do with radiance, energising, vitamins, yada yada, whatever – the box is nice.

A Champneys spa evening/day/weekend

A spa day at one of Champneys’ four peaceful resorts is wonderfully restorative and won’t break the bank. You can even book in just for the evening, arriving at 5pm, having a healthy dinner, using all the facilities and even doing an exercise class should the mood take you – all for £35. But if it’s been a particularly tough year then the two-night laughter, health and happiness break at Forest Mere this July might be just the ticket. Hosted by yoga and meditation teacher Julie Whitehead it costs £349 and includes group sessions of laughter yoga, meditation and visualisation techniques as well as two days away from your children.

Dangerous nail files, The Conran Shop

Even if you don’t get time to do your nails any more, having these cleaver, chainsaw and pistol-shaped emery boards, £19.95 for three, at least enables you to drift off into the occasional fantasy about exacting your revenge on the world.