I attempted to nip out to the shops this afternoon; except there was no nipping to be done. I queued at a blocked roundabout for around 10 minutes, and then queued for another 10 minutes trying to get into the Sainsbury’s car park, and then treated myself to a little more queuing at the till. It was absolutely bloody crazy, much more so than the usual Saturday afternoon madness. Why? Mother’s Day, obviously. I have never seen so many people with flowers in my life. This far eclipsed the scale of hurried men with cards and chocolates I’d noticed on a similar shopping trip on Valentine’s day. The world and his wife were out today to make sure mum feels special tomorrow.
I think there’s a certain reverence about Mother’s Day. Everyone seems to mark it and respect it in some way. Even as a really little kid, I can remember having this vague notion that Mother’s Day was special and important, and I had to be really lovely to my mum all day, even though in my little mind mum was essentially my slave with no feelings, or interests, or life of her own. I remember going to the shop and buying tat with my pocket-money for her, and put extra effort into the card I had for her. I don’t remember feeling the same way about celebrating other holidays (Christmas and birthday hysteria aside, naturally). Everyone makes a fuss about their mums on Mother’s Day, even if you’re one of the Hallmark hating cynics.
Now I’m a mum myself, I totally get it. When I had my daughter 3 years ago, I remember feeling as though I’d joined some secret club, and I looked at my own mum in a very different way. At the time, having just expelled an actual human being from my nether regions and feeling as though I’d come straight from the trenches, I wasn’t too sure I wanted to be in this stupid club after all. I felt I had done my bit just through childbirth, and deserved a special day of my own just for going through that horror. I certainly didn’t appreciate that my efforts would be rewarded with months of practically hallucinating from lack of sleep, being shat on/pissed on/puked on hourly, weeing when I so much as giggled, the loss of two arms to myself, bursting into tears for no real reason, being unable to leave the house without a boot full of crap and military precision planning, going days without a shower and being driven half mental by endless screaming. And then there’s the guilt about absolutely every moment and everything. Because you’re supposed to love all this stuff, right? Everyone tells you its hard, but there’s no way to really understand just how difficult it can be until you are actually the one running on zero hours and knee-deep in excrement at 3:00 AM.
But mums do it, and mums get on with it. Before too long you settle in to a routine, and accept the cataclysmic change to your life. Or even if you don’t accept it, you get on with it anyways. In the early days you totally forget who you are and throw everything you have into doing the absolute bloody best mummying you can possibly muster, because you love that little person more than life itself. I think in the process you find out what you are really made of. My daughter certainly made me hard as nails in that regard.
I’ve only enjoyed a few Mother’s Day’s as a parent myself, but I imagine that my own mum appreciated it all the more when I made a bit of an effort in my rabid teenage years, seeing as I essentially made her life a living hell back then.
So, on your first Mother’s Day, when you’ve been living this insane lifestyle for a while now, and Daddy writes something heartfelt about how appreciated you are on a cute little card, it really does mean a lot. Because sometimes you feel as though this is your lot in life, you are invisible, and people don’t realise what a hard slog it can be, despite the obvious rewards and the fact that you really wouldn’t change anything if you could (except probably the incontinence and sleep stuff….). To have a day where the message is “thank you, I appreciate you, we love you” goes a really long way into helping you realise how worthwhile it all is. Even if you might wee a little.
So, Happy Mother’s Day to my mum, to me, and to everyone else and their mum too. It’s an insane job, but someone’s got to do it. I’ll take a little bit of Mother’s Day love over Valentine’s Day every time.