Mother’s Day begins with a baby. Then for the next five years it consists of a token card or gift with a few forged words that represent someone who can’t yet communicate. Then – if your family is anything like the cynics I grew up with – it is up to the children who can now read and write to create their own Mother’s Day gift. If they don’t deliver the goods, mum gets Jack S*&t!
It’s like a tape player of my dad in my head as I recall his mocking Mother’s Day tone, ‘but she’s not my mother.’ Unfortunately, the artistic gene skipped a few generations in our family and our ‘lucky’ mum was gifted with numerous monstrosities over the years. I am sure she was begging our dad to step in, but being the ‘Where’s Wally?’ man that he was, and always looking for the slightly easier option, we were left to our own creative devices.
However, he had a valid argument. No matter what we did (or didn’t do) on Mother’s Day, those glorious monstrosities that were crafted from the most inner crevices of our heart were cherished by our mum. They represented our personalities, and in some ghastly way, were the best way to show our appreciation on Mother’s Day. Good one dad- we know that’s what you intended.
As a mother myself, I am now being reimbursed for my childhood efforts, and those values have been inflicted upon my own children. Yes, I won’t be expecting a gift voucher or a lavish new thermomix (see recent thermomix post) for my Mother’s Day, but those authentic half-eaten biscuits and re-gifted household items (with an attached card of innocent spelling mistakes) are made with pure love. Just like the generations before us, my husband and I have gradually weaned our eight-year-old daughter into the role of Artistic and Creative Director now that she has acquired competent literacy skills. We even had her write our wedding anniversary cards for each other this year.
So, like my own father, my husband now has an associate (and so do I) to do his dirty work on Mother’s Day.
However, as I sit in the hospital waiting room – three days before the ‘official’ Mother’s Day – waiting to cuddle my weary and sedated four-year-old after having his tonsils removed, I think about what Mother’s Day really is.
The day that my children took their first step was a Mother’s Day. The day they cuddled me and said ‘I love you’ was a Mother’s Day. The day they proudly rode their first bike was a Mother’s Day. The day I nursed them while they were ill was a Mother’s Day. The day we shared stories and laughed for hours together was a Mother’s Day. The day that they conquered their fears was a Mother’s Day. And when I get to embrace my son in my arms after his precious little body wakes from surgery any minute, I will be celebrating yet another Mother’s Day. Those are the ‘real’ Mother’s Days.
So with the commercialised Mother’s Day looming – a day of consumerism and overspending – I ponder its purpose. While presents and bought cards are unnecessarily generous, nothing compares to a warm, genuine hug of appreciation and love from those who are special; something that can be enjoyed every single day of the year. I could ask for nothing better; nothing more. Motherhood (and being blessed with my own amazing mother) is my rare and special gift and Mother’s Day is a lovely reminder of that.
However, I’m the first to admit, if I can wangle a clean house, am gifted with some private toilet time, an uninterrupted breakfast, an audience-free shower, a little less shouting and arguing, and maybe even one of those carefully created monstrosities (such as my own mum’s) that will mask the fingerprints on the fridge for the next 12 months, I will be one grateful mother.
And maybe if the Mother’s Day fairies could throw in some cleaning elves, a chef, magician, masseuse, mind reader, and chauffeur and I’d be out of a job for a day. Although, with the most valued currency in the world – love and hugs – I think I want to hold on to my mothering role indefinitely.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the incredible mums out there today and every other mothering day of the year. While it is important to spend some time with those special to you, don’t forget to do something for yourself also. You deserve it!