The impending disappointment that is Mother’s Day
Over the past week or so, the posts and discussions in the various Facebook groups I’m in has narrowed down on today. Not in anticipation of macaroni necklaces and candles from the school Mother’s Day stall, either. Not even in a laughing, what-weird-shit-will-my-family-buy kind of way either. There’s been the expected talk about how hard Mother’s Day will be for some mamas; those newly single, perhaps, or those grieving their own mums or even their own children. Those discussions can break your heart, it’s true. And I am one of those mums who spends this day missing my own.
Always be mindful of all the feelings people will be feeling this weekend. As I said in my video, this day is not easy for all. 🌹 I also want to wish a blessed & beaitiful weekend for all the women out there on this #MothersDay pic.twitter.com/VpN3cAT0HP
— Dana Jacoviello (@DanaJacoviello) May 11, 2019
But another, very common thread that I’m seeing? It’s the entirely avoidable yet absolutely predictable expectation that their partners will do nothing at all to acknowledge the mothers of their children.
Yes, yes, it’s a “Hallmark Holiday” blah blah blah
Or whatever other excuse you want to offer up about why you are “not celebrating” this “made up” day. This is all well and good, provided you are in agreement that these days are not a thing in your family. If this is your family, carry on and enjoy your Sunday- this is not directed at you.
If you are not in agreement on this, a word of advice: today is not the day to stubbornly insist on sticking to your guns. Why? Because it means something to your partner. She most likely works her arse off to be a good mum. Will it kill you to put aside your anti-Mother’s Day feels for her sake? To acknowledge how hard she works at being a good parent? We have come a long way, but it’s still women primarily doing the birthing, the primary carer role, the bulk of the household work and more. Much of our labour is invisible; the planning and budgeting, the organisation and the juggling. Mother’s Day might seem like a corporate cash grab or some other cynically-motivated idea to you; to her it might be a chance for a small bit of recognition.
Don’t make her do all the work
Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably familiar with the concept of the mental load by now. If you aren’t, read up. If you’re smugly reading this, knowing today is already planned and sorted, stop for a minute. Who planned it? Did the mum in your family have to give you detailed instruction on what to do? Did she have to tell you what to buy, remind you to give the kids money for the school stall? Or worse, did she just bypass you and do that on her own, because it was easier for her? What about organising the family lunch- who did all that?
I am seeing a lot of mums who can only celebrate today if they literally orchestrate it themselves. Which, can I tell you, suuucks. If this is you, it’s not too late to send her back to bed while you get the pancakes made. Do something off your own back to let her know that you actually appreciate the hell out of her for being a good mum to your kids. And don’t forget to ring your own mum!
“But she’s not my mother!”
If you have ever uttered this phrase in defence of your decision to do sweet fuck all for your partner on Mother’s Day, kindly give yourself a good slapping to hopefully bring you to your senses. By all means, ring your own mum today if you are lucky enough to still have her. Get her a present, too.
But that doesn’t mean the mother that you share a home with is beneath your notice today. We are talking about the person that likely carried and birthed your children. That agonises over making the right parenting choices for them every day. The person that, hopefully like you, does everything for them. The person that, in all likelihood, does the most for them. That mum, the mum of your kids, deserves appreciation and acknowledgement for the enormous amount of love and work she puts in for her family every single day.
When the kids are babies, it is 100% on you
You buy the card and make the breakfast or book the restaurant or whatever fits your budget and lifestyle. You do not have to spend a fortune. In fact, you don’t have to spend a cent. Sleep-ins and naps are free. Doing cutesy little hand-print art is free. Picking flowers from your garden and making her toast in bed is FREE. It doesn’t have to cost you anything to acknowledge your partner today for being the best parent they can be every day. That’s all today really should be about. It doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. And making sure it happens is on you, especially when they’re tiny. Babies can’t shop on their own, toddlers need help in the kitchen and preschoolers shouldn’t be carrying hot coffees.
When they are in daycare or school, guess what, it is still on you!
It’s your job to help teach your child or children to appreciate their mother.
That’s something you have to help instil in them so they don’t become entitled little arsehats who treat their mums like servants. If there is a stall, give them a few dollars. If not, take them to the shops or make something together. Believe me, we will treasure a handmade card or paddle pop stick photo frame. Mother’s Day is one day out of the year. If you can’t spare half an hour with your kid/s in the lead up for a bit of crafting, what does that say about you? If crafting isn’t for you, bake something. Make a meal together. Here’s a whole bunch of recipes suitable for cooking with kids. Get thee to the supermarket!
It’s not too late!
If you haven’t organised anything, go make some sandwiches and hit the park for a picnic. Sit down with the kids to make that card. Pick a flower and make her a coffee. Run her a bath. If you’d rather buy something, jump online and order her a fantastic book (my mate Lisa wrote this one and you can order a copy and tell your lovely wife that you’re not a total shit, her gift will just be a little late!) Take her to the movies, go buy her a McMuffin, give her a long and thorough foot rub.
There are a million small and free or inexpensive ways to say “I appreciate the absolute shit out of you for being a great mum” that you can set into motion right now, on the actual day.
Still on the fence?
Still not convinced? Think about this. Has she ever spoiled you for Father’s Day, even if you “don’t believe in it”? I bet she has tried to mark it in some way, whether it’s helping your kids to pick a little gift or make a card or slinging them a few bucks to buy you pens shaped like golf clubs from the school stall.
She’s telling you she appreciates you and she’s showing your kids that they should too. She’s being a good mum. Get off your butt and do the same for her.
Break it down. Today means something to her. That should be all you need to inform your decision.