A good friend of mine recently had a beautiful baby. That’s not me being biased. I’ve seen ugly babies. Hers 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 fire breathing tarantulas that had managed to torch their way out and were making their way rapidly towards my face. Eventually my friend came to mine, and the baby’s, rescue and took her out of my uncapable hands. Probably for the best. I couldn’t even keep my Tamagotchi alive.
Being a Mum is the most important and difficult job going and is quite often taken for granted.
For the sheer amount they do for us, they get one day of acknowledgement a year. 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 though I’ve asked them three times and asked other people twelve times so now I have to resign myself to the fact that I’ll never know it and hope that each time they approach me, someone will give me a subtle hint as to what it is.
Luckily, I have all the help I need in the form of every shop in town and the internet simultaneously reminding me when Mother’s Day is and making 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 you forget this one and only day a of the year dedicated to her? It’s okay, you can make 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 that Mother’s Day is coming up soon and that I have yet to buy her a hilarious card that portrays my Mother 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 the Dads who play the role of Mother too or Grandparents, or friends, or even a wardrobe with Nicole Kidman’s face stuck on 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 mother’s 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 and has nothing overtly PDA-esque. 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 29 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 it often 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 (I’m sure Jarvis would appreciate moving with the times) of love and gratitude…
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
Three 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 made me feel at home
Thanks for supporting me
No matter what I do
I really would be
Lost without you
I apologise for the complete lack of structure of that poem. And for the soppiness.
Let’s swerve this post sentimental poem awkwardness and move on.
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 dick?’
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. Mum’s already feel guilty enough most of the time over something or other. Having guests over and not having hoovered the ceiling, for not having a back up packet of chocolate hobnobs after you devour the family sized pack that she got you an hour before, for being thirty seconds late picking you up because she was simultaneously saving the day at work/cooking your tea/ walking the dog/probably saving a child from a burning building, 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, 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.