Mother’s Day. It has been around for many years – as far back as I can remember. Many people might claim that it has now become far too commercialised and yet another chance for retailers to try and sell us flowers, cards and gifts, that we don’t necessarily need.
My children always do something to mark the occasion. Some of the best gifts I ever received, were home-made cards and poems. For a long time, my daughter used to think that Mothers’ Day went on for a month, and every day, she would make me a beautiful card and write on it that she loved me immensely. I used to love it when she would walk into my bedroom and tell me that the postman had been with a special card for me. I love being a Mum. It isn’t always easy, but it has given me the most incredible rewards. When I read my daughter’s report on Thursday, I cried with happiness that I have done something good, as she is very hard-working and cares about how she impacts on others.
It is also rewarding when people tell me how well-mannered my children are and how they speak so beautifully to others. We can not measure many of the rewards of motherhood. I know that now my children are teenagers, they find me embarrassing and compare me to the mother in the Goldbergs. I always tell my children that no one will be a bigger critic of them than me, but no one will be a greater supporter. I love my children more than anything, and I hate the idea that anyone might upset or harm them but that doesn’t stop me from seeing their faults and making sure that when they go into the World, that they are tolerant, well-mannered and above all else, kind people.
I think much of the way I parent, comes from the example of my Dad. He didn’t always get things right, but he had an inherent kindness and more than anything else, he’d always give you his last fiver if he could. So, for me, Mother’s Day is not about receiving gifts, but it is a lovely day for my children to recognise what I do for them. Whether that is buying them clothes, cooking meals, washing their clothes or enabling them to do things that they want to do.
It should be a happy day for me. I know I have not always got things right in my parenting, but I do try my best. I think it is important to admit to my children that just as they are learning, then so too am I.
Yet for me, Mother’s Day is hard. It’s almost bitter sweet. I don’t have a Mum. She’s very much alive, but I don’t have her in my life or in my children’s lives. It is not necessary to go into the reasons why, and in all truth, the reasons are vastly complicated. I find Mother’s Day difficult. All the cards that mention what a Mum should be and all the grown women who have lost their Mums through death, claiming that they wish they had the chance to have one last chat and cup of tea with their Mum. It only serves to make me realise what I do not have in my life. I am now in my menopause and it is times like that, when you need a Mum to talk to. In my teenage years, my Mother had been exceptionally good at telling me in detail all the facts of life. She prepared me well for life. I knew everything about periods and sex. I knew how to cook and sew. I knew that as a woman my independence came from having my own career and money. My Mother always considered herself a feminist. She taught me about feminism and yet she also taught me that just because I was a feminist, then it did not exclude me from being feminine. My Mother impacted on my life more than anyone. My love of the arts and culture, reading, music, jewellery, perfume. Most of it came from her.
So tomorrow, when you are thanking your Mum, then do spare a thought for those people who are not able to celebrate this occasion. In addition to thanking your Mum, use it as a day to celebrate motherhood but do not neglect to think of those who cannot do so. Think of the women who have lost children, think of the women who were not able to become mothers, think of those who have lost their mothers and think of those who for whatever reasons, no longer have a mother. I also think that it is an occasion for us to thank those people who have been like a mother to us. The father who had to be a Mum and a Dad. The Auntie or friend who has taken on that maternal role. Instead of a celebration of motherhood, then let it be a celebration of the many roles we play to our family and friends.