Mothers’ day, or Mothering Sunday to give it the correct name, a day for us to show our Mums how much we appreciate their year-round, interminable hard work, love and dedication. Shops are filled with flowers, chocolates, smelly bathroom gifts and romantic DVDs (because presumably nobody thinks that Mums want anything other than pink, sweet, romantic bubbles – some of us like Sci Fi and computers rather more, but that’s digressing slightly…).
This year, Facebook have seen fit to put a banner across everyone’s page, telling them it’s soon to be Mothers’ Day, imploring us to tell our Mums we love them – because obviously we’ve all forgotten. Alongside Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day, it’s a manufactured day created by people who want us to spend money. There is nothing wrong with showing people you care, embrace the day if you wish, have fun – but does it really have to be just one day a year? Don’t be daft.
But, and here is the key element of this post: what about those people who no longer have their Mums? What about those Mums who no longer have their children?
I am lucky, I still have my Mum, and I am Mummy to a gorgeous little girl. But Mothers’ Day isn’t exactly a rip-roaring riot of attention and fuss in my home. For a start, I am well aware that one of my babies is missing. As you can read here, L was not my first pregnancy. I am a Mummy on Mothers’ Day, yes, and I am forever grateful, I know how lucky I am. But I am a Mummy to one beautiful child, not two. I never got to meet my first child.
In addition, I wake up alone on Mothers’ Day. L will be with her father, as she always is on a Saturday night. Well, I get a lie-in and a fur-baby cuddle from the cat, it’s ok. Still smarts a bit though. Plus there is nobody to make a fuss of me, to say thank you. That I mind less, L shows me she loves me every day – and I’ll take a hand-made card and a sticky kiss over whatever rubbish the shops are selling anyway.
But you read that right, nobody makes a fuss or says thank you to me for the effort I put into being a Mum. L is too young to understand the whole concept yet and her father doesn’t feel it’s ‘appropriate’ to buy me gifts or flowers on any occasions. I may get proved wrong this year, stranger things have happened, but I doubt it. And yes, that does mean that until L is old enough, I go without cards and presents from her on birthdays and Christmas as well. Well, I get Christmas cards, she makes them at nursery. Still, on Mothers’ Day at least I get a lie-in, there are single mothers across the globe who don’t even get that because their children’s fathers aren’t around so they’re on duty as soon as the kids are up.
I kind of don’t mind to a point, it’s just stuff, and I don’t need or want stuff – I’m not materialistic at all and prefer time and thought to stuff. It would be nice to hear a thank you at some point, an appreciation of the pretty awesome job I’m doing of raising this gorgeous and amazing little girl. But it doesn’t have to be one particular day. I’ve heard that sentiment stated previously (from her father, and since he left), so I know it’s there even if it’s not communicated.
But my greater concern over Mothers’ Day, is for those who are unable to tell their Mums they love them, and for those Mums who are unable to have their children tell them they love them. It doesn’t occur to many people to consider this might be the case, it doesn’t occur to many people that their cheery reminders of family members could possibly be met with anything other than smiles and laughter.
I have many friends who no longer have their Mums and who miss them every day, never mind once a year when they’re forced to see all the gaudy trappings of what Mothers’ Day has become.
I have too many friends who no longer have their children with them. I have friends who have lost children/siblings – one situation was incredibly painful to watch, another case incredible painful to hear about. I cannot even comprehend it, I know how it feels that my baby died before I could meet her and I cannot even begin to work out how that would scale up emotionally. It would break me. Celebrations of all occasions are always muted, regardless of the fact that life moves on, as it must; someone is missing.
Mothers’ Day is a minefield for so many, so tread lightly, and be considerate. Not everyone has someone to show them they’re appreciated. Some children no longer have their Mum. Some Mums no longer have their children.
Update: L came home with a handmade card for me, a beaming smile and a sticky kiss. Turns out time sorts a whole bunch of stuff out.