Say Mother’s Day and what does it conjure up for you – fully booked restaurants, flower prices rocketing and frantically running out of unique and beautiful gift ideas?
Perhaps a day to treat her with zest for some extra attention? Maybe even bring her breakfast in bed and have the house spick and span whilst she is out shopping? Or surprise her with her favourite candlelit dinner? Get that dusty old joke book out and go the extra mile to make her laugh? Suddenly we all seem to jump on the same carousel of wanting to make the day memorable for that one remarkable woman in our life.
But should this treatment be exclusive to a day or should we celebrate our mothers each and every day, cards gifts and flowers aside.
My early memories of my own mother are the ones of being tucked sweetly in bed. Or even her lying in my bed on a freezing winter’s night for ten minutes before bedtime to warm it up for me. Recollections of her feeling my forehead with the back of her cool hand whenever I developed a raging fever and then having my languid hand sandwiched between both her hands, whispering sweetly that ‘all shall be well’.
These tender-hearted acts of nurturing are hard not to remember, and not just on Mother’s Day.
Mothers and Children
Yet, there is so much more to mothers and mothering than meets the eye and so much more that mothers offer to their children than cool hands on burning foreheads. Mothering can be amazing, deeply nurturing and nourishing. Mums appear to have a huge impact on the characters and even how the lives of their children pan out. On the whole, mums appear to be too selfless, and too extreme, often allowing her life to be totally consumed by her children. She can completely lose herself in the role.
Let’s face it – as mothers we don't make it easy for ourselves. Somehow we get to work really hard and in the process we actually become hard. This impacts our children and they most likely find it uncomfortable if mum is not her tender self. We seem to have neglected that in fact every self-loving choice supports our relationship with our children more deeply.
I am told by a few youngsters that when a child comes home from school they’d much rather spend some quality time with their mother and afterwards jointly do the chores, than have mum do it all and then for her to be frustrated, annoyed and snappy.
There are tomes of writings on how to ‘best’ raise children, with concoctions of rights and wrongs, shoulds and should-nots, cultural ideals and beliefs and what-not, yet not much (if anything) available on how mother should best preserve herself – not talking waistline and anti wrinkles here, but how to be a mother and at the same time remain a woman in her own right.
Perhaps we as a society do not really fully comprehend the importance of what mothers bring. Perhaps we need to honour mothers more and offer back our deepest support and respect.
And let us not forget that when we celebrate our mothers, it is also her quality of being that we are honoring, not just all that she does. It is this quality as well as all the amazing acts she executes in a manner that only an octopus with its multiple tentacles could – that is something to be celebrated every single day!
Giving gifts on the chosen Mother’s Day is absolutely fine. Extending our expressions of love with flowers and cards is also fine, as long as these are our genuine expressions of love and not merely assisting various industries in commercialising and capitalising on the day instead of celebrating. For we do not keep memory or gratitude of our mothers alive, whether they are still around or no longer with us, by some outward demonstration on a particular Sunday of a particular month of the year.
This should be a day to paint the town red not a day for profit. A day where we show appreciation for all that mum brings and all that she is.
Although the founder of Mother’s Day, Ana Jarvis might have been in strong disagreement if she were around today, for using plural possessive instead of singular possessive, it is important that we don’t just celebrate our mother on Mother's Day, but mothers collectively.
Given that in general mum is the person we go to when things do not make sense, when it feels like the whole world is crashing down on us, let’s not lose ourselves in beds of roses, aisles of gifts and commercial advertising, but instead let’s express…. how we feel about her, what it is that she brings to us, tell her (and mean it) that she is greater than all her chores, that her love is super grand, and cherish her every day not just on Mother’s Day.
Mothers are like shining stars – just because stars are not visible in the daytime it does not mean they are not there – likewise, mothers mother even in inactivity.