Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mothers Day.

I'll put my cards on the table - I have mixed feelings about Mothers' Day.

It's not just the commercialisation. Of  course I like getting presents - who doesn't? Though I'm not so sure about the rows of cards, the inflated price of flowers, the restaurants offering special puddings. Nor the glittery offerings that children bring home from schools and playgroups (actually, those are rather sweet).

No - what I struggle with is the idea that, just once a year, we can notice how special mothers are.

They are special not just because they cook and clean and bottle-wash, nor because they get up in the night to nurse teething babies, or sit with the recalcitrant teenager struggling with her maths homework. Nor just because many of them work their socks off earning money as well as doing all these motherly things at home.

Do we really need a day to say thank you for all that? The implication being that mothers can be generally ignored, left to get on with being motherly, for the rest of the year. Without a thank you, or an occasional bunch of flowers, or chocolate treat.

We are all special, in our way. Every passing act of generosity needs a thank you - every day. Not just once a year.

And now I'll duck behind the sofa, as I expect a lot of you will disagree with me.


  1. ...while others agree. Is there room for two behind your sofa?

  2. I don't disagree with you at all. My girls usually remember now to get me a card, but if they don't I'm really not bothered. They show me by their words and actions every day that they appreciate me. That'll do for me :-)

  3. Miriam - I'll push the sofa out a bit - then there's plenty of room for all

    And Sarah - you've noticed some of the the joshing that goes on between me and one of my daughters. There's another three of them. They're all wonderful. And, like you - their very wonderfulness is enough.

  4. I have to say I have never celebrated Mothers day before I met your daughter as my mother thought it was commercial exploitative nonsense that she wanted no part of. She, like you, would rather we remember her all year round. But it is important and gradually we are figuring out why it is for us and our daughter. I think it is important to say that Mothers day was originally called Mothering Sunday and from that you can infer it was not a celebration or appreciation of Mothers but of Mothering. That is what we would like this day to be about for our daughter. More than the cards and presents we want it to be about understanding what mothering is all about. Although fathers day is, I believe, a completely modern construct to stop us feeling left out (and ensure there is another marketing opportunity) we would like this also to be about parenthood rather than making us as individuals feel special.
    I am not sure either of us really know how this will be achieved. It will be easy to slip into routine and expected norms of card buying etc. If anybody has any thoughts we would love to hear them.

  5. That's an interesting way of looking at it, Mark. I can see this being a discussion that you two will work on over the years - and it will be wonderful once your little daughter is big enough to join in. I have no idea how you celebrate the idea of mothering - but will enjoy watching you work it out.

  6. I agree, Jo! Mothers do so much for their children on a daily basis -- they deserve more than annual recognition.