Claire and Gloria want to spend a nice Mother's Day outdoors hiking with the kids, but their nonstop bickering and complaining drives Claire to the edge, and she brings Gloria down with her. Meanwhile, Phil and Jay stay home to cook everyone a nice dinner, but things get really awkward when Phil witnesses an unexpected moment of weakness from Jay, and Cameron gets very self-conscious about being seen as the "mother" in the relationship.
Cameron is upset that Mitchell thinks he's the "Mom" of the family, Claire and Gloria take the kids on a disastrous hike, and Phil witnesses Jay tearing up while they prepare Mother's Day dinner.
- It's Mother's Day around the Pritchett clan, and Claire (Julie Bowen) had every intention of keeping (and using) every item the kids made her for Mother's Day, such as the white t-shirt with the painted handprints over the breasts (which they made in kindergarten), the hat with 'Alex's Mommy' on it, and the coffee cup Luke (Nolan Gould) made for her, which she discovered the hard way was actually a pencil holder. Manny (Rico Rodriguez) insisted Jay (Ed O'Neill) give Gloria (Sofía Vergara) his present first and instantly regretted it, since Jay got her a diamond necklace. Manny was feeling very weak about giving her a necklace made of Froot-Loops, even though she adored it and Jay tried to cover by saying his diamond necklace wasn't made of real diamonds. Which made Manny feel even more guilty, because he used generic Froot-Loops. And Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) decided today would be Cameron's (Eric Stonestreet) day. Yes, Cameron was offended by that, but I gotta side with him on that one, even though he's the stay-at-home partner.
CAMERON: You think of me as Lily's mother! I'm your wife! I'm a woman!
Mitchell tried to deny it, but complaining about "the wife" to co-workers or "Mrs. Pritchett" to Claire really didn't help. Cameron tossed him out.
MITCHELL: (to Lily) Scratch the balloons. She's in a "mood". (Lily holding the balloons was SO CUTE!!!!)
But Cam kept it up and Mitchell called him on it, as the big crime he committed was making Cam fluffy pancakes.
CAMERON: We hate when people treat us like women. OK? We don't want to go to your baby shower, we don't have that time of the month, and we don't love the color pink.
MITCHELL: You love pink.
CAMERON: No, pink loves me.
Phil (Ty Burrell) lets us know Claire and Gloria took the kids on a hike, as Claire always tells him to take one when he asks her what she wants for Mother's Day. Jay and he will be at home preparing a huge feast for everybody. And the first thing you should not do with Jay is pretend you're in the middle of . (Nobody should.) But dealing with Phil is easier than dealing with a bunch of kids who don't want to go on a hike and let you know about it. Nor is it tougher than dealing with Cameron meeting all the other couples with their kids and being included in the picture of the moms with their kids. Cameron snarls in the picture, and Gloria and Claire ditch the kids for whining too much and finish the hike on their own.
Jay isn't appreciating Phil's onion goggles or his Julia Child impersonations. Then Phil makes himself even less endearing by finding and reading a little card he found in the recipe book Jay's mother left him. ("The Recipe for the Perfect Mom," by Jay Francis Pritchett, age 9) Phil kept reading the ingredients for the perfect Mom, and Jay got eerily silent.
PHIL: And then I saw it. He was crying.
Phil was upset with himself for shaming the proud lion So he tried hugging the proud lion. Jay was not receptive, as you may have guessed, and still insisted it was the onions.
Claire and Gloria get to a vantage point, and Claire gets very real all of a sudden, contemplating what it might be like to hit one of her kids. Gloria was not happy with where Claire's mind was going and claimed she would never contemplate hitting Manny, no matter how much he may annoy her sometimes. But Claire kept pressing her until Gloria admitted Manny was persnickety. (REALLY?!) And he follows her around too much. And the poetry was awful. And Claire should never have opened up Pandora's box like that. She shouted to the canyon she wanted Manny to be a real boy, go outside, kick a soccer ball, steal something. It felt good to say it...to her. Not to Manny, who followed them on their trip and was not happy, to say the least. Gloria can't apologize, and it turns out her kids won't apologize. Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Alex (Ariel Winter) figured out Claire's little game of taking them somewhere they didn't want to be, just so they'd complain about it, feel guilty and apologize, and give her choice the next time.
Cameron was still ticked about being offered a bouquet of flowers (which he accepted anyway), but Mitchell preached patience, as other parents still didn't know how to delineate Cam and Mitch's relationship. Cam insisted he never wore a dress ("That's a nightshirt!" "It's kind of satiny.") And when a couple of kids asks him if Cam could throw a ball (back to them), he takes offense and throws it farther than Jeff George ever did for the Illini (and was way nicer about it), only to bean an old man on a bicycle 50 yards in the slot. And Cameron's maternal instincts kicked in.
Gloria was in full damage-control mode, trying to apologize to Manny, but he wasn't having it. Claire tried to intervene, telling Manny he needed to grow a bit and take the occasional criticism so he could grow and not be coddled. Manny accepted it...until Gloria blabbed about Claire wanting to hit her kids. And Gloria thinks Manny is the perfect kid who writes beautiful poetry. ("Wow, that's healthy.") And Claire gets no love from her kids, either.
At the house, Mitchell shows Cameron a Mother's Day card, which he promptly rips to shreds...so Mitchell will have to buy Gloria another one. But Mitch doesn't think what Cam does makes him less of a man. Although the scotch he's drinking won't fool anybody, either. Phil lets it slip Jay cried when he saw the poem for his mother, and the family confronted him on it. He was upset, but Manny asked if Jay missed his mom.
JAY: Of course I miss her. She was a great lady, and she left me this fantastic recipe for sauce. One time, I had this Little League coach, and he was laying into me about something. I don't remember, but Mom comes charging out of the stands and goes up to the guy, I mean face-to-face...nose-to-nose, and she says "Nobody...and I mean NOBODY...yells at my little...boy..."
And Jay breaks down crying before he can finish the story. Gloria, Cam, and Phil go to hug him, while Haley, Alex, and Luke apologize to Claire and hug her. Mitchell's good, but thanks for asking, Manny.