Clean your room! Brush your teeth! Stop touching yourself! Mothers derive great pleasure from delivering such edicts when their children are required to comply. "Because I said so" is honestly one of the most gratifying things moms can say to their young children. In no other realm of life can one simply dictate the rules. It’s amazing.
But at a certain point, that power is lost. Consider what a mom might wish she could demand of her grown kids: Stop being such a drunk! Quit smoking! Have that god-awful tattoo removed! Yeah, not so much, right?
Well, advertising’s most maternal agency has a solution for that. New York-based Mother developed the Momtract, just in time for Mother’s Day (which is treated as a stat holiday by the agency). Billed as "America’s Premier Legally Binding Gift," The Momtract is an online service that allows wayward progeny to give their mom the one gift they’d truly appreciate for Mother’s Day: power.
With this amusing gesture of love and legality, adult children can surrender one aspect of their life to their life giver, be it a resolution to eat better, acknowledge her existence on a regular basis, get married, or stop telling people about their genital piercing.
"When we started talking about this idea, we were having a laugh about the things our mothers used to tell us," says creative director Daniel Carlsson. "And then when you become a young adult, they want to tell you to do stuff, but it becomes a bit weird because you’re supposed to be able to take care of yourself."
Hatched as a novel creative exercise by Carlsson and writers Richard Langhorne and Simon Philion while at the agency’s local watering hole, the idea grew from regular refrains from their own moms. "Like, Richard’s mom keeps telling him to get his foot looked at!" says Carlsson.
"When you were younger, our moms could enforce those requests—requests that some people might describe as nags," says Langhorne, admitting he really should have his foot looked at. "We’ve all ignored our moms … a lot. So this became a way we could give mom back that power in cold, legal terms."
For those wanting to bless their mothers with the gift of clout this year, the process is simple. Choose an area of your life you’re willing to acquiesce to her will (hereinafter referred to as The Thing Mom Wants), select a jaunty border pattern, sign it, and voilà! You’re legally bound.
"That’s how adults order each other around—with the judicial system. If a third party moderator is necessary for moms to enforce their love, then so be it. Let’s make that possible for people," says Philion.
So, is the Momtract—which Carlsson says was drafted with the help of a lawyer—in fact, legally binding? "Weeeeeeeeell …" they all say in unison, "Not really."
"Our understanding is that if you wanted to, and you could get a lawyer that would represent you, you could make a case for it," says Langhorne. "But we were told that any judge in his right mind would immediately tell you to get out of his court." Instead, we recommend treating your mumsy with love and respect and the risk of her love becoming litigious can be avoided.