A good friend of mine recently had a beautiful baby. That’s not me being biased. I’ve seen ugly babies. Her’s isn’t one of them. Anyway, I went to meet said little bundle of joy and introduce myself. All was perfectly fine until I tried to hold her. I would have looked more comfortable holding a bag of active grenades being doubled-bounced by someone with a particularyly high BMI. Eventually, my friend came to mine, and the babies rescue and took her out of my incapable hands. Probably for the best. I couldn’t even keep my Tamagotchi alive.
Being a Mum is the most important and difficult job there is and quite is often taken for granted.
For the sheer amount they do for us, they get one day a year in acknowledgement. Mother’s Day. And for the most part, I don’t even know when that is. Trying to remember the date of Mother’s Day is like trying to remember the name of a work colleague that knows my name, but I can’t remember theirs even after asking three times. I have to resign myself to the fact that I’ll never know it and hope that each time they approach someone will give me a subtle hint as to what it is. Luckily, I have all the help I need from every shop in town and the internet to simultaneously remind me when Mother’s Day is and make me feel guilty about forgetting it, with signs like:
‘Have you forgotten Mother’s Day Rhian? Again? How could you? Your Mother brought you into this world, she literally gave you LIFE. How could forget this one and only day of the year dedicated to her? It’s okay, you can make it up to her by buying this one of kind, pre-made card and we’ll forget that you ever forgot.’
Okay, perhaps the signs aren’t quite that word for word. And I don’t want to seem ungrateful, I appreciate Moonpig badgering me to remind me that ‘Mother’s Day is coming up soon and you have yet to buy her a hilarious card that portrays Mum as a raging alcoholic after what I’ve put her through’ but, in my defence, the actual founder of Mother’s Day actively disagreed with the commercialisation of Mother’s Day.
Anna Jarvis invented Mother’s Day back in 1908. Her wish was to set aside a day to honour all mothers because she believed they were ‘the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.’ I’m including in this Dads who play the role of Mother too or Grandparents, or friends, or even an inanimate object if it works for you- I once read about a chap who belived his Mum to be a wardrobe with a picture of Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia stuck to it. It’s a day for anyone that has taken on that motherly role in your life. Then Hallmark came along and, like a school kid copying another kid’s homework, took the idea and used it for personal profit by selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea behind the day and made it about money rather than sentiment. She argued that people should honour mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards.
I personally think any present or card is a lovely gesture so long as it shows thoughtfulness. But I see where Jarvis is coming from. The Moonpig cards I sent to my Mum and Nan this year required minimal effort on my behalf and, considering they have both put up with 30 years’ worth of my shit (literally in younger years), they definitely deserve more than minimal effort. So Mum, if you’re reading this (which you should be because I’m your first born child and you have to read everything I write even if it’s rubbish, which most of it is, but you have to tell me it’s excellent because you’re my Mum) tear up that Moonpig card and consider this my ‘hand’ written letter of love and gratitude.
Mum, where to begin
At the beginning I guess
Is a sure-fire win
Thanks for breaking your body
To have me when I was brand new
‘It must have killed’ I said
You said, ‘That’s just what Mother’s do.’
For not getting angry
When I broke your best China dish
After explicit instructions
‘Do not break this.’
For listening to me play the
Cello Continuously off key
Months of the Jurassic Park theme out of tune
And you didn’t murder me
For not going to sleep
Until I get in from a night out
And not judging me for devouring
Everything in the house
For not killing me
When I crashed the car
Let’s not dwell on this one
It’s the worst by far
For all the money
Can’t stress this enough
Can I borrow some more?
For waking up to talk to me
On the other side of the world when I felt alone
Your voice is home
Thanks for supporting me
No matter what I do
I really would be
Lost without you
To my potential future children. Bypass my Mother’s Day cards, please. They stack up over the years and I’ll get to a point where I’ll be like ‘when can I throw this away without looking like a horrible parent?’ Spend that £3.99 on something better. That I can eat. A Boots Meal Deal will suffice. That way I won’t have to feel guilty about throwing your card away. Mums already feel guilty enough most of the time over something or other. Having guests over and not having hoovered every single inch of the house, including the ceiling, for being thirty seconds late picking you up, for the weather being bad when you have friends round, the list is endless. You giving her a card that she’ll eventually throw away and feel bad about is just selfish. Have you not had enough from her already?! So yeah, future children of mine, do Jarvis and I a favour and forget the card.
In all seriousness, we all know one day isn’t enough. We should appreciate our Mothers every single day of the year. Ideally with ridiculously grand and lavish gifts for the amount they have done for us. And yet, a simple goodnight message one night a week would be enough for them. Which is excellent for my bank account and is the horse that Jarvis has been flogging since the 20th Century. The understated feel of Mother’s Day embodies the nature of a mother. Quietly there for you whilst asking for nothing in return. Because she is the hero we deserve but don’t need right now. A silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight. Wait… I’m thinking of Batman. Still, it’s applicable.
Happy Mother’s Day.