To me this is one of the most unnatural and ridiculous questions we all feel obliged to think about. Sure, some chocolates or biscuits would be nice. I’m not really a flower girl so a potted plant could find a space in our home, but in all honesty I would be just as happy with a pair of practical socks or a power tool. I’m not going to turn down a little bit of spoiling, but I really would rather no-one buys me anything pink. I mean, what is it about the word ‘mum’ that automatically triggers all shops to adorn the shelves with the same old pink crap. Yes I’m a mother, but I don’t need a flowery mug with ‘mum’ written on it to remind myself of that fact. Nor do I really need a pink apron, or tee shirt with ‘world’s best mum’ scrawled all over it.
Perhaps I could try and be all modern and original, and write about how ‘what I’d really like on ‘Mother’s Day’ is a lie in, or a clean kitchen. Or maybe even to have a shower without little hands trying to bang the door down’. Ah, so you’ve heard it all before, right?
No, there are only a couple of things that I would genuinely like.
First, I would like to feel loved on all the other unmarked days of the year. To me, that doesn’t mean waking up to breakfast in bed served on an ornate tray with a vase of fresh flowers. It means Willow running up to me with arms stretched wide after spending a day apart. Or politely saying ‘Thank you mummy, this dinner was the best dinner ever.’ It’s these little things that truly make one feel appreciated, valued – loved.
More importantly though, I want Willow and I to share such a bond that she grows up feeling like she wants to do these things – that she wants to send me a random little card to say hi, or pop around for dinner. I want her to grow up feeling that she isn’t obliged to buy me something – anything on this manufactured Hallmark day. And I don’t want her to feel guilty when she doesn’t. If we plan to meet up on a certain Sunday in March and her car breaks down or she’s come down with the flu – my only wish is that neither of us feel that pang of guilt – ‘Oh, but it’s ‘Mother’s Day’. You know, life just happens.
As morbid as it is, I want to raise Willow so that when I die, she is strong and independent enough to dismiss all the constant reminders on ‘Mother’s Day’ – the ones that bombard her from all angles with lame ‘ideas’ on how to love. I want her to simply know that when her mother was alive, she loved and was loved. When Willow checks her post, opens her inbox, visits the grocery store or fills the tank up with fuel, in all the days and weeks leading up to ‘Mother’s Day’, I want my daughter to hold her head up high and not feel that society is rubbing her loss in her face – because it is just another day.
Maybe as I get older this ‘special day’ will mean more to me – but I genuinely hope not – because it will mean that I’ve failed in my aim to raise a daughter who asks questions before conforming to the norm.
In the year Willow was born, I was asked ‘Ooh, what did you get for ‘Mother’s day?’ – From my 3-week old baby? Well, sadly her credit card was declined and she forgot the pin number on her bank account. Are you serious? What do you mean what did she get me? – she is 3 weeks old!
I know, I know – what people really wanted to know was ‘is your hubby considerate and caring enough to rush out and buy you a card?’ Thankfully, no. He was too busy scraping projectile newborn poop off the cupboard door – and how grateful I was too. It’s ridiculous to balance the assumed love of our baby onto his already exhausted shoulders. To be quite honest, I’d rather we all concentrated on being strong as a family unit the other 364 days of the year.
Because as it turn’s out – since I had my baby these days are all ‘mother’s day’.