Monday, 23 March 2009

Mother's Day?

I've come to the realisation that Mother's Day is the day on which you do what you do every other day, only you begrudge it more.

I got to spend my mother's day visiting my mother in law. I like my mother in law. She deserves a visit on Mother's Day.

However, it does mean that I got to spend 3 hours on Saturday and another 3 on Sunday trying to entertain small boys who were unwillingly strapped into the carseats as we hurtled up and down British motorways. I got to break up fights about whose hands were on the wrong side of the invisible dividing line on the back seat. I got to provide an endless supply of snacks and rummage in my bag for something suitable to catch carsick with (which luckily ended up not being needed but the continual 'I feel sick' whinge from the back seat had me on tenterhooks for most of the journey). I got to play 'eye spy' and 'guess the animal' on repeat cycle. And I got to answer the question 'Are we there yet?' more times than I care to remember.

Once there, things didn't improve. My mum-in-law is of the WW2 generation so the use of central heating is strictly for days when polar bears actually stroll through your garden. At all other times, the wearing of several jumpers (and coats) is the way to stay warm. She lives in a part of the north that could be a poster child for reasons why old mining towns should have been shut down when the mines were. It has no redeeming features. You don't want to venture outside. But sitting inside doesn't provide a myriad of exciting things to do, unless you count telling your children not to juggle granny's china.

Upon arrival, my husband sat in front of the TV and watched two six nations rugby matches back to back, leaving me to entertain the children. Again. By the time bedtime came, I felt thoroughly deserving of some Mother's Day R&R.

Despite getting up twice in the night to deal with crying children, I did actually get a lie in. Till 7.10am. At which point the boys came in and thrust cards at me. This was the highlight on the day. They were sweet and gave me cuddles. And one of the cards included a voucher for a day spa. Hooray!

However, the rest of the morning was spent with me trying to reclaim some time to myself, while being well aware that my husband was sighing a lot. I know how he feels. When it's father's day I'm just as happy with life. Why the hell should he get to sit and be lord of the house while I do everything, again? So he was no doubt feeling the same way. But tough. It was Mother's Day and I'd already forgone doing what I wanted to do, so an hour to read my book alone shouldn't be too much to ask for right? Apparently it was.

We spent another morning passing the time waiting for lunch, which was very kind of my mother in law to lay on given she's a mother too. But I still would have preferred to go to a restaurant, instead of feeling that I had to help with the washing up.

And then we left. Had a repeat journey. Upon arriving home, I got stuck into tidying up the house in preparation for the week ahead. Dinner was a bowl of cereal. And that folks, was it. Woohoo!

Now had that been any other weekend, I would have thought - hard work, but visiting granny is important. But on Mother's Day weekend, as I said at the start, I just begrudged it a bit. I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone in feeling this way. This morning there are no doubt mothers up and down the country wondering what happened to their day off. Don't worry ladies, there's always next year!


On a less selfish note, please spare a thought for all the mothers out there who don't ever get to enjoy a mother's day as they very sadly die in childbirth. The White Ribbon Alliance and Mummo, have launched a Million Mums campaign to raise awareness of maternal mortality and are hoping to get a million mums to donate a pound to this worthwhile cause. Visit the website here and read a fab mag created by Mummo, written by mums for mums. Please spread the word about the Million Mums campaign and pass the magazine link on to whoever you can.


b said...

Once I have received my cards and presents from the kids, my hubby thinks that is it. He has done his part even though I know he had nothing much to do with it. So I still cooked, cleaned and dealt with the kids as if it was a normal day, although I kept adding in on a regular basis well it is mothers day!!! But I did get breakfast in bed from my youngest two kids and it was edible this year so I can not complain and the words written in the cards were very heartfelt and made me proud that these were my kids.

Ali said...

Oh poor y9ou. I refuse to see my mother-in-law on mother's day any more. I try not to do too much but the kids don't really get it. It's not 'til May here, still got that to look forward to,

Wife in Hong Kong said...

Was it Mother's Day? I wonder what my family's excuse was this year.

Coding Mamma (Tasha) said...

Next year, I'm going to write a detailed memo about exactly what I want to happen. I thought I'd been very clear, but apparently not. He got up at 6am, which was great. Instead of immediately bringing me a cup of tea, he waited until 7.30 when he and Rosemary came in to ask 'Do you want to wake up now?' and then went away, leaving Rosemary, to get the cup of tea and a cup of milk for Rosemary. He then asked if she wanted to sit and watch TV in bed with me while I read the paper. Huh? And then... said 'If you weren't lying in bed, I'd come back to bed, because I'm feeling ill.' OKAY. So we got up, he went to bed and we went swimming and for a picnic on our own. Then he was cross with me when we got back (and he was still in bed) for being annoyed with him, because all I had to do was say 'Actually, could you take Rosemary away? I want to read the paper on my own.' Grrr. (So, yes, fairly normal Sunday, but lots of grumpiness added in!)

(Oh yes, and he also asked when Father's Day, so he could look forward to having a lie-in. I hope he was being sarcastic. Because I get up about 3 hours earlier approximately 360 days a year.)

Helen said...

I guess I am lucky! Here in Brazil, mothers are regarded as some kind of saint! I cannot complain of the treatment I get on Mother´s day (also in May as in the USA. I don´t envy having a mother in law, though - I loved mine dearly, but mother's day always ended with me doing the dishes! I sympathize.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should challenge your concept of Mother's Day. We tend to look at Mother's Day as being the day when we get to take a break, a true "me" day. But motherhood, by definition, is not about me. In fact it is generally about everyone but me. Last Mother's Day I asked my husband what he was planning to get me for Mother's Day and his response was, "You're not my Mother". And isn't that what I keep telling him! That challenged me to consider what Mother's Day is really about, and now I look at it as a day to reflect on how very lucky I am to have two such wonderful, albeit sometimes very tiring, children. It is also a time to stop and consider the sacrifices that your own mother made for you. Being a mother is a priviledge. The time that I have with my children is all to brief and one day in the not so very distant future I'll have all the time in the world to sit and read my book, and I know in my heart that I'll wish I had someone jumping on my bed and asking me "what's for breakfast?"

Home Office Mum said...

b - well done your kids on making you breakfast. I look forward to that day

Ali - start training them now!

Wife in HK - it probably wasn't mother's day where you are. The UK seems to have it before everyone else

Tasha - my point exactly. You would ordinarily get up and not begrudge it, but on Mother's Day you do

Anonymous - admirable sentiments. I did post an ealier blog post about whether Mother's Day was about time off or time to maximise your time with your kids and celebrate being a mum. I think it's probably a bit of both. But when you're on call 364 other days a year, it seems reasonable to be allowed one day off. Anyone who never needs a day off from their children is a bordeline saint. I think sometimes you need to have a break to appreciate them more.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, this post is beautifully written. I had a pants Mother's Day too, and next year will know to lower my expectations.

Anonymous, blimey, careful your halo doesn't slip ;) You are far more noble than the rest of us mere mortal mothers, I think, who just want a lie in on ONE day of the year!

Bhargava said...

Get good information on Mothers Day here

Mothers Day

Anonymous said...

A good article on maternal health issues. I am writing on behalf of Women and Children First, who like White Ribbon Alliance also advocate maternal health concerns, seeking to raise awareness and reduce the number of mothers and babies that die in childbirth in the developing world.

There is a web link to the organisation, if you require information.

Women and Children First

Thank you for your support!