It was Mothering Sunday in the UK yesterday and up and down the country kitchens rang out with peals of raucus laughter and squeals of excitement.
It was the children of course, not the mothers. No, the Mums had escaped the kitchen for a (brief) day, and were lying in bed, their peace only disturbed occasionally by cries of –
‘You dropped eggshell in the batter, you dickhead.’
‘Well at least I know how to cook.’
..and delightful manly grumbles- ‘does anyone know where the scissors and sellotape is?’ and the reply ‘In the dog’s bed’.
I lay in bed trying to approximate the position of a reclining Cleopatra – in her middle youth – awaiting her minions and their bountiful offerings of blueberry pancakes. I almost had it down-pat but for the concern that played on my face behind the Hollywood smile.
I have been offered cold rubber coloured milky yellow, just like scrambled egg, before. And there was that time when I was delivered cold hard toast by a cheeky grinning Dark Princess. I needed my dentures in to chew through that lot. I know that Mother’s Day breakfast in bed can be a little hit and miss.
Not only the food, but the stress caused by three kids operating in unfamiliar territory in an unfamiliar time of the day, I know from experience can cause short fuses to snap, crackle and pop. And often by the time breakfast is over I have two out of three kids in custody for their own safekeeping inside their bedrooms.
Of course it’s even harder when there’s no husband to help organise the troops. In fact, if I’m honest Mother’s Day when you’re single or without the man of the household’s help, is a little bit crap. Nothing says – ‘you’re a horrible person and don’t deserve anything nice’, quite like feeling that everyone else is being celebrated on Mother’s Day, and you’re not even being fêted with cold toast.
I’ve been there a few times, and it was grim. In fact on one of my worst days ever I was even sent a text message from the father of my children that told me to ‘Have a f-ing awful mother’s day because you deserve it’. Of course I haven’t spoken about this very much, so when my Englishman innocently mentioned that his plans for Sunday included a day out mountain bike riding with his friends rather than rallying the troops and presiding over coffee, cold toast and a wee gift or two, I took it on the chin.
Like a bullet.
Let’s just say that my Englishman was not even popular enough to sleep in the dog house. Infuriatingly I couldn’t really explain my anger. But the words – ‘well we won’t celebrate Father’s Day then, and ‘I hope you know how to cook fish fingers for the rest of your life’ did feature in my ravings.
You see, all joking aside, I think Mother’s Day does matter. I know everyone in my generation has a degree in cynicism earnt from the school of hard knocks, and dismisses Mother’s Day as yet another Hallmark day, but I don’t think that really does it justice.
Yeah, I know that it’s awfully commercial, and some of the pink sickly ‘you’re the best Mummy wummy in the world’ cards are enough to make you want to eat your babies on cold Mother’s Day toast, but… in a world where the family unit is under attack, from a variety of things – but noticeably time and financial resources (not by non-traditional family structures, contraception or gay marriage as some conservative politicians would have us believe) I don’t think it can hurt to really, genuinely say ‘thank you’ to the woman who plays the role of family superglue.
It isn’t a mushy sentiment at all. It isn’t about selling Hallmark cards or bunches of carnations. It’s not about a meal cooked by someone else (but see, someone else CAN work the stove), it’s about honouring the time, effort, attention and sacrifice that most women put into their roles as Mum. I don’t think it’s enough for the kids to do it and then forget it. I think the husbands, partners, ex-husbands, ex-partners should do it too.
Don’t you think the world would just be a little nicer if we all thought about our Mums and thanked her for her role in our life just a little more?
I know that not all Mums are worthy of respect, some are diabolical. In fact any Mum who dresses her toddler in prostitute heels and a t-shirt that claims ‘Future Porn Star’ should be excluded from the general praise-giving. And all those nasty, mean, murderous Mothers by quirk of nature not nuture, shouldn’t be included. But many, many Mums – whilst maybe not Earth mothers, do deserve a smidge of recognition for all they do.
Don’t you think?
And as for the blokes… yeah I haven’t forgot about you… your time will come. In September sometime I think.There’s no doubt you play your role and good fathers should be recognised – even if they were rubbish husbands or fathers – because our society does need them, those good men from Mars.
Is Mother’s Day a Hallmark hell, best forgotten? Or do you agree that Mums should be thanked at least on Mother’s Day, if not on other days as well?
PS/Of course my Englishman saw sense and joined us on a family outing along the Newbury canal and a delightfully English family roast dinner at the pub. He realises that I needed a little recognition for all I do. And he quite likes his balls I think.
PPS. The pancakes were delicious Miss Fliss. The day might have started out a little blue, but thanks to you, your siblings and my Englishman, it ended up being lovely.
Image: Flickr CC