When I was little I used to squirm with embarrassment when the teacher went round the class asking everyone what they had bought t heir mother for Mother’s Day. My mother had always put a total ban on all Mother’s Day cards and gifts so instead my brothers and I would make our parents breakfast in bed, much to our father’s irritation as crumbs in bed were his absolute worst nightmare. Our mother would always explain to us how Mothering Sunday had come about, how it was originally a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their “mother church” and would often pick flowers along the way to give to their families. She hated the commercialisation of what was traditionally a very simple event in the calendar of the Church.
Her feelings were also clouded by her relationship with her own mother which was always a tricky one. We visited my grandparents on a monthly basis and were expected to follow a pretty similar routine; there was a particular cake that we had to take, various other gifts and we needed to arrive at lunchtime after first buying fish and chips. Woe betide us if we didn’t observe the rules. The weekend of Mother’s Day my mother was expected to take a special gift, chocolates and either a plant or flower arrangement; if these weren’t deemed suitable offerings that visit would be fraught from beginning to end and would probably result in my mother being on the receiving end of critical comments for a couple of months. It is hardly surprising then that she wanted to have nothing to do with Mother’s Day when she became a mother herself. Because of that, I too have banned my children from gifts and cards and instead have told them that as far as I am concerned every day is Mother’s Day. That doesn’t mean that I want to be lavished with gifts on a daily basis (well, it might be nice) but that it is easy to show people that you love them daily. It’s not difficult to say “I love you”, to give someone a hug, to pick up the phone to say ‘hello’, to show consideration in a whole multitude of little ways. It shouldn’t take a special day to remember your mother. People should do it every single day.
Anyone who has lost their mother will know just how hard it is to deal with. Mine died ten years ago but I still miss her every day and know that I will always feel like that. There are still times when one of the boys will do something funny or achieve something exciting and my first instinct is to pick up the phone to tell her. And when things go wrong I still wish I had my ‘mummy’ to give me comfort and support.
So don’t wait until next Mother’s Day to tell your mum how much she means to you. Do it every day. And teach your children to do the same – a hug a day keeps the mummy blues away!