For those of you in the US who read this all bemused back in March when it was Mother’s Day in the UK – now it’s your turn. Happy (stateside) Mother’s Day.
Today I don’t feel like a mother deserving of the pinkness, the flowers, and the adulation of Mother’s Day. Today I am a grumpy, short-tempered crone who is overwhelmed and under paid, and ever so slightly bitter about both these things. Today I am not the sweet nurturing mother the cards and the ads would have us aspire to be. I am something more akin to a growling bear with a sore head. I am a mother who needs to be treated carefully, given space, and shown a healthy amount of gratitude and respect. I need TODAY to be Mother’s Day. I’m sure I can’t wait another two days until Sunday to get me some of what I need right now.
Growing up, we didn’t ‘do’ Mother’s Day. Every day, said my mum, should be Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Kid’s Day. She was all about the equality, and appeared happy to shrug off the need for us to shower her with gifts and thanks on a randomly assigned day in March, preferring us to practice being grateful for her, and each other, all year round.
Today, I totally get that.
This morning, my house has been nothing short of a chaotic, badly managed battle ground. Already, I have seen the whole range of human emotion – mine and the kids – sweetness, laughter, love, anger, desperation. They have pushed me and pulled and dragged me around with their needs and their behaviours and their protests. They have taken me to limits I didn’t ever want to get to, and forced me to climb mountains I never wanted to climb. They have challenged, and cajoled, and provoked, and hustled, and were it not for them going to school I’d be pretty close to finished.
Today I feel like a warrior. I am sweaty, and dirty and injured by my offspring. Nonetheless, I am fierce and determined. I have a steely look in my eyes, because I have climbed to the top of the mountain, and fallen all the way down again all before the day has really started. I have wanted to cry tears of frustration. I have tried to be patient. I’ve briefly succeeded, and promptly failed at it again.
None of which is terribly sweet, or pink or flowery. All of which is painfully messy and unashamedly real.
And in her insistence that every day should be Mother’s Day, my mum has given me the deepest sense that mother (or not), good at it (or not), I am worthy and important and loved every day of the year. And that belief makes me able to keep on fighting the good fight, one challenging morning at a time. It makes me keep on striving to be seen, recognised and appreciated by my children, and my husband, even when I am bruised, battered, impatient and undeniably imperfect.
So if you’re not feeling so pink and flowery, and this is one of those days when you’re sitting at the grim and gritty end of motherhood as I am today – then let me remind you what my mum taught me some thirty years ago, and continues to teach me today. You matter. On Mother’s Day and every day. You are deserving of adulation and gratitude all year round. Even when it doesn’t feel like you are. Even when you’re anything but sweet and pink and flowery.
So on this Mother’s Day I will raise, not a glass of pink champagne, but a weary and triumphant fist in solidarity with all my fellow mothers-in-arms. Today, on Mother’s Day and every day. Grim and gritty or pink and flowery (or a murky muddle of the two).
Happy Mothers Day.