My Facebook newsfeed is slowly filling with articles, blog posts, and comments in groups about Mother’s Day, which is this Sunday here in New Zealand. Most of them are somewhat critical of the commercialised nature of the day. Many of them are written by mothers who know that a lack of attention paid to the day in their house (either because they are sole parents of young children, or because their partners aren’t the type to bother with this kind of celebration), coupled with the ‘in your face’ nature of others sharing their tales of Mother’s Day bounty, will make them feel miserable and under appreciated, despite their best efforts not to be bothered. Plenty of them acknowledge how difficult this kind of celebration is for the women who would also love to be mothers, but who have been unable to have children. Thankfully, a lot of people also remember the grief of mothers who have lost their children. And there are so many people who can no longer have a relationship with their own mothers, for their own physical and mental health, and being told how they should be celebrating a toxic person in their lives must be incredibly upsetting. Finally, there are people who have lost their mothers, and this day is a sad reminder of that loss.
These perspectives are valid and important, and I totally respect them all. For me, Mother’s Day doesn’t feel like a huge deal, because – very luckily for me – I feel like I’m cherished by my family all year, and don’t need a special day to be reminded of my ‘worth’ as a mother. But I am excited about Mother’s Day this year, because Hattie and Joe are SO excited that they’re counting the sleeps until Sunday, as if they’re anticipating Christmas morning. I know they’ll have made me stuff at kindy, and they can’t wait to give it to me. They’re adorable, and I’ll make sure they know how much I appreciate their enthusiasm. I still look at them every day and marvel at the fact that I’m a mother at all, and also that I didn’t give in to the temptation to leave them on a box on a church doorstep during those challenging early weeks…
I was lucky enough to have a weekend away with four of my best twin mum friends recently, and it was such a treat to spend time with them – university is keeping me very busy, with little time free to catch up. They are kind, patient, funny, thoroughly amazing mothers, like all of my mum friends, and they all deserve to be cosseted on Sunday by their children and partners.
It’s only as I’ve grown older that I’ve properly realised how lucky I am with my own mother, who has been my biggest cheerleader and advocate for more than 42 years. After spending our childhoods at home with us while my father was building a business, she started her law degree at the age of 52, qualified at 57, and is now in her early seventies and still practises full time, dealing with child custody, child protection, and protection order issues – saving the day for a lot of mothers and children who need help. The example she set inspired me to start my degree. Despite being so busy, she’s played an active role in my and my sisters’ lives as mothers. I have friends who’ve lost their own mothers far sooner than they’d anticipated, and I know how fortunate we are to still have our mother in our lives. Here’s a photo of her with the kids and me, and my super glamorous younger sister.
One of my sisters is slowly seeing her children move out and start their adult lives, so her role as a mother is changing. My other sister is less than two weeks away from welcoming her much-anticipated third baby, and will soon balance motherhood of both a newborn and two teenagers, which is a juggling act I can’t even imagine. And I’m still chugging along, trying to help my hilarious little kids to get ready to start school next year, doing my best to being around while also being at uni virtually all of the time, and mostly being so thankful that I’ve got an incredibly supportive legend of a husband, and a great au pair. If I had the time or energy to feel maternal guilt I’d probably beat myself up a bit about how average my performance is compared to Playcentre Mums, or even compared to people who actually do the kindy drop off occasionally, but MEH. Hattie and Joe are superstars. Who’s to say that me being around them more often wouldn’t be actively detrimental, eh? Me not being with them 24/7 might be the very reason why they’re so awesome!
Anyway, if you’re inclined to celebrate Mother’s Day, I hope you have a brilliant weekend, and eat cake. If you don’t get into it, I hope you can dodge the gushing status updates and have a brilliant weekend anyway, and also eat cake.