Before I start what I really think, please note that I am very grateful for my little family who love me, and the friends around me who wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. I am NOT anti Mother’s Day. I am not anti celebrating motherhood or giving mums a special day, and this is not written out of bitterness because I didn’t get special gifts or looked after. I did and I truly appreciate the effort my family went to, to make me feel extra loved.
However, I do find Mother’s Day a strange day.
Because Mother’s Day is four weeks before Easter in the UK we spend most of March, with the world of social media, and advertising, telling us to make sure we remember the day, reminding us to buy expensive gifts, treats, cards, flowers etc. It would be hard to miss the fact that there is a day set aside to remind Mum (or the person who is the mum in your life) that you do actually love her and appreciate her.
I don’t have an issue for this. I personally know many, many mums who are amazing, and there is a whole world of mother’s out there, who are doing this unpaid 24/7365 job, and a damn good job they do too and I do think motherhood should be celebrated. However, I find it strange that the for the rest of the year, we seem to ignore mothers and frankly, we seem to fight a tide of having to prove ourselves.
Society holds us to a higher standard. Mother’s are generally the ones held to account for the wrongs and rights of families. We are damned if we do something and damned if we don’t. We are vilified for being working parents, or criticized for staying home with our kids. We are supposed to keep the house spotless and ourselves looking picture perfect, but when we ask for support to be able to “do it all”, we get slammed. We either spend our time sharing unrealistic pictures of our perfect life on social media to prove we have it all under control, or we share the “real” moments which show that life isn’t always Pinterest worthy and we get given a hard time for that.
We are told by experts, the government, other parents and whoever happens to be the voice of the moment how bad a job we are doing, how we should be parenting one way or another, how we should feed our babies, how we should educate them, care for them, clothe them etc, and no matter what there is always an opinion out there that makes us, somehow look like we aren’t doing the job the way we should.
We are judged and held to account, yet we don’t get any on the job training, managerial support, or even much time off, and we aren’t paid for what is frankly the huge task of raising the next generation in a way that means they are healthy, normal and happy members of society…
Daily, we face the highs and lows of motherhood and the life we lead with our families, yet daily we face a world that still doesn’t really think that much of us, until the month before Mother’s Day rolls around. Only this morning I read a Facebook post where someone saw fit to share their opinion on mothers and how they should and shouldn’t be doing things and I bet you at least one newspaper today will have some article that will pile on the guilt or pressure on us, in some way or other, that yesterday was fiercely reminding us to “remember our mums”…
Yes, there should be a day to celebrate Mother’s, but it means nothing when we don’t support them, daily. We don’t stand together, we don’t have their backs. We don’t care at how hard this job we do, is sometimes and that we are expected to keep a million plates spinning in the air, in ways that men do not have to, with very little support or help. We want mothers to be perfect and praiseworthy when it suits us, but the rest of the time we are happy for them to struggle on, and we are happy to remind them of the bars they aren’t reaching…
So, whilst I like Mother’s Day, because who doesn’t like a day where they get a bit of fuss made of them, I think we need to remember that just one day in the year doesn’t really count. The new mum that got flowers yesterday, will still need someone to remind her, in a few weeks when the post partum hormones are fully hitting her, and the sleep deprivation has landed hard, that she is doing a great job and that she is good mum, and that she’s totally entitled to feel tired and tearful but that she still has love and support. The mum of the child with special needs, who got a lie in yesterday and breakfast in bed, but next week, will still be battling to get her child into school without a major meltdown and violent tantrum from the child, will still need a hug and a cup of coffee and a shoulder to cry on when it all seems like it’s too much. The single mum, who does IT ALL, and keeps everything afloat for her family, with no one to turn to, after the kids have gone to bed, who got a card yesterday, but in three weeks time when her kids have gone off on a glamorous holiday with their other parent, that she herself could never afford and she’s alone and needs a bit of company to help her ease the pain of missing her kids, or a night out to give her some much needed down time. The gran who works tirelessly to help her kids and grandchildren, whilst also still working, who got a box of chocolates yesterday, but might need someone to remind her that she is someone very much looked up to and loved for the way she parents and that she is appreciated all the time.
It’s not just about one day, in the year. It should be every day. I am not talking about flowers, Tiffany bling or fuss, but just to be aware of the mothers around us, in whatever role they are playing, daily. Tell them you love them, tell them they are doing a good job, prop them up when they need it, buy them the cup of coffee they look like they could do with, turn off your judgmental voice and try and imagine how tired some of us are, and how challenging the day to day normal of mother hood can be. Every day for us is a mother’s day. We signed up for that, we know that, we love our kids and our families, but when you are in the thick of it, more than one fleeting day in the year, to be reminded that we are valuable and appreciated, even if it’s just a smile in passing, makes all the difference!
The hardest, but most rewarding job in the world, we are allowed to be proud of what we do, not just once a year, but all the time!