I am a mother
It is the one responsibility I have that on occasion causes me to doubt myself. Mother’s Day being a day that certainly brings this to the forefront. Why? I guess it’s due to the commercialisation of the celebration of mothers and the impact of social media as we scroll through our news feeds wondering if the mum who was gifted tons of pressies, the mum who’s child posted a suitably soppy ode to them, the mum who was treated to breakfast in bed or the mum who was treated to a fabulous restaurant dinner is a better, more highly thought of mum than those who didn’t receive these treats.
I was sad this year as I scrolled. My mind wandered to places that it doesn’t usually and took me a little by surprise. There was no great fanfare in my house, no balloons or trumpets or breakfast or anything. There were also no children. My boys (2 of, aged 20 and 15) had stayed at their dads house Saturday night.
In my analytical mind I started to question how much I’m thought of by my boys, do they know how much I love them, do they know that most of what I do is motivated by making a better life for them, do they care? Wow! Heavy for a Sunday morning especially when the clocks went forward and I’m already really upset I’ve lost an hour.
My heart then started to feel really heavy as I considered other mothers who didn’t have their children with them that morning, or mothers who have lost children, or women who long for children but can’t have any, and children grieving for mothers who are no longer with them and I got a bit mad with Mothers Day. Stupid celebration anyway I decided.
Of course, it isn’t a stupid celebration. It’s history is difficult to interpret as there seems to be 100 (exaggeration alert) different versions of why we celebrate Mothering Sunday, the basis seems that it originated as a Catholic/Christian celebration in Britain in the 1600’s when children who’d been sent away to work came home on the 4th Sunday in Lent to visit their “Mother Church” but it became a bigger deal when American social activist Anna Jarvis lobbied the government for an official day to honour mothers in the United States as a tribute to her own mother. In Britain, Constance Smith, inspired by Anna’s campaign began to push for the day to be officially marked in our own country.
It was a worthwhile exercise for me to investigate the reason behind Mother’s Day, I was mostly heartened by a quote from Anna Jarvis herself – “I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit” she clearly didn’t agree with the commercialisation of the day either. This quote made me smile which was welcome as my frowny, misery guts face was getting on my nerves. I got up, dusted my sadness away and enjoyed a bit of alone time preparing for the remainder of the day.
The rest of Mothering Sunday I made sure was wonderful. My guy and I made a pretty special afternoon tea for my mum and one of my grand mums, my Scarlet Pimpernel boys returned with cuddles, cards and most importantly for me, their wonderful company at the table. I had insisted they make a huge effort to be at this table for their grandmother and great-grandmother. What? Wait a minute. Why had I not insisted they be there for me?
Do we need to demand our children’s attention? Do we need gifts? Do we need to be adored and fussed over by our offspring? Do we need them to shower us with love? Perhaps some think they do need these things.
I am here, writing this today to tell you what you do need. If you are a mother, you need to value yourself as a mother. And that’s that.
None of us get it right all of the time, we make mistakes, we beat ourselves up, we gauge our mothering performance and skills based on others and their opinions, we have got to stop doing this. Immediately.
“Today, and every day, I am celebrating the wonderful beauty of all mothers, including me, we are all awesomely awesome”
Lots of love to one and all