Thoughts for Mother’s day from a mum of 3 daughters, one husband and a dog, and yes my plug hole is always blocked!
Being a mum is hard work, we’re not going to pretend it isn’t, whether you are a mum-to-be, an empty-nester or even mum to a fur-baby. The days are long and the pay is non-existent. They say children don’t come with handbooks and that’s because there is no-one brave enough to try and attempt the vast amount of knowledge needed to be a parent. You face daily strange questions and scenarios that you had never anticipated such as being accosted at school gates by “Your child thought getting mine to eat dandelions was a good idea” – perhaps my child was helping yours go plant based, “Your child played hairdresser today and hid the boys fringe in the bin” – I see this as, why was child allowed near scissors and at least she tidied up! Even once I received a note saying “Sorry to hear of the death in the family please let us know if we can help and don’t worry about the spelling test” - Okay her great grandmother had died 2 years previously but it was an ingenious excuse to explain 1/10 on the week's spellings.
And does it get easier? No. You think once you’ve got them to walking, talking and wiping themselves that the problems end there and you can become lifelong best friends – wrong. There are partners to approve of (At least to their faces), dilemma’s on whether chicken should be washed (No it shouldn’t), driving lessons and a barrage of hormones, new worries and new financial needs. I’m by no means saying it is a joyless task raising children but more than occasionally a thankless one, which Mother’s Day hopes to readdress.
I have long thought that birthdays should be about the person who birthed you and Mother’s Day should be a bout the child you mother. It’s them who should be celebrated, I know this means I would have 3 special days and only have to give gifts to my kids once but it’s not about that, promise, it’s about enjoying the time we have mothering those we love, children, step children, foster children, (husbands) and pets regardless of who we are to that person. But as yet this idea has yet to take off.
So when it comes to Mother’s day what do we really want? The correct response is of course for a lovely homemade card and just a small simple gift chosen by your smiling offspring. In reality what we want is thanks, any gesture that shows thoughtfulness and an understanding of the job.
20 years ago when I started having children the last thing I or my fellow cohort of mums wanted was to be naked with our blooming bellies but a growing trend has started to emerge of women wanting to treasure the fleeting moments of the final days with the bump. Maybe we missed out with this one as looking back on the way we change physically to grow a whole new person, which when you think about it is pretty damn awesome , would be a great tribute to us. So partners of mums to be take note this is a gift that will last and get you brownies points.
Flower’s will always be a popular gift for any mum, but these don’t last and beware the family that has a hay fever sufferer as I have found out after a trip to the walk in centre with a particular puffy child. So perhaps painting flowers via expert tuition onto a porcelain keepsake might be more way to go? Or a nice plant, we do love a nice plant, it happens when you give birth, you suddenly see nature as a miracle and start wanting it inside your house.
A nice hot bath with bubbles and candles as Mrs Large always asked just “ Five Minutes Peace” before the gang troop in with well-meaning conversation. This is always a winner and cheap, also good done with a glass of wine or at least the offer of a cup of tea! If you want to go one better and can find a child minder go all out and book a pamper session, but do remember to ensure the ironing has been done upon return or at least that the take away menu is out.
Now my eldest has left the nest, albeit temporarily, returning home from university at the end of terms, so I am not quite at the empty nest stage. In fact often via the wonder of social media I see more of her now than I did when she lived here, but I have friends whose children have moved onto the next stage and become independent, which I guess as a parent is the whole aim we set out with. So when the house goes quiet and there is no waiting for taxi text, the dishes heading down and the laundry pile is simple and smaller then what do we want from a Mother’s day? To feel needed again? To reconnect with them? To find a value in our new lives as parents who don’t need to parent anymore? It’s a tricky idea. I have friends who have gone to rediscover who they are, in tasteful Boudoir Photography sessions, where you really are the star of the show, pampered and glammed up, presented with images where you shine in all your glory. It’s a self confidence boost for you and although I can hear my own insecurities saying Not on your Nelly, it’s a great way to step out of the Mumsy role and back into the I am a woman viewpoint.
You could try a session together crafting your own gin, reminding them of that time when they… as these stories for parents never grow old and are a constant source of amusement. Or perhaps a chocolate making session, after all this ticks most boxes for a mum – chocolate, bonding and a take away sample plus bragging rights with friends that we “made them ourselves”, no shop brought for me!
Now, the term Fur baby, it gives me visions in my head that shouldn’t be written down and makes me shudder with Planet of the Apes style nightmares. But I am a proud dog owner and the fact he runs to greet me with more delight and enthusiasm that all my children combined have ever shown does put him in pride of place in my heart. Whereas, I may need some gin to be persuaded to get my kit off for a photography shoot I would volunteer my little ginger woofer to be pictured all day long.
Which brings me neatly to a conclusion; As your child/pet grows you take so many photos, and mostly now they are stored online, the Family Album a thing of the past. A mum is usually the one taking the pictures, we forward plan for a time when we will want to look back, but I look at my own mum now and realise I have so few pictures of us together and that memories of us doing things together, that don’t include Sunday lunch, stop at a certain age. So my advice is take the photo- use a timer and get in on the picture, book the visit, take the course and make the memory because time passes quickly and none of us know how long we have. Show your mum you care and hug your child closely. I don’t remember the final time my mum did my hair, or the final reading of the bedtime book that I never wanted to end but they happened, unmarked and unnoticed. Treasure the small things because one day they may just be the everythings.
Links are provided here for you to casually drop into the lap of whoever may be in charge of your gift buying!
New Born Baby Photo Shoot
Bath time gift box
Spa for couples
Studio Baby Shoot
Gin Tea Towel