Tag Archives: Mothering Sunday

Celebrate Your Mother. Or Else.



So here we go again.  It’s ‘Mothering Sunday’ this weekend. Is it just me, or does anyone find it all a bit patronising? Whether you’re a daughter or a mother – and especially if you’re both.


I’m a daughter to my lovely Mum, who is cruelly debilitated by Parkinson’s disease. A box of chocolates, some Interflora flowers or a saccharine message in a Hallmark card isn’t going to convey to her how much I love her or how blown away I am by how incredibly brave she is.  Being forced to focus on the task for one day makes me feel inadequate and self-conscious.  It’s like there’s a big finger pointing down at me from the consumer sky.  Celebrate Your Mother.  Or. Else.


My eight-year-old asked me why we needed Mother’s Day anyway.  Good question.  To sell more supermarket chocolates and machine embroidered teddies, I answered.   Then I told her that the Mother’s Day had been invented by the Americans and embraced over here when I was about her age. ‘I thought Mother’s Day has been around since Elizabethan times?’ she said, clearly feeling a bit hood-winked (she harbours a deep distrust of Barbie, McDonalds and Disneyland).  ‘There should be a Daughters Day,’ she said.  ‘Where you get to bunk of school and go roller-skating.’ I assured her that there probably will be a Daughter’s Day by the time she’s my age.  I could do with a Daughter’s Day myself.


Anyway, ‘Mothering Sunday’ has always seemed a little bit of an oxymoron.  On account of the fact that it’s a day when I fully intend to do as little ‘mothering’ as possible. I am hoping that, as in previous years, my absence of mothering will highlight just what a fabulous mother I am the rest of the time.  What I want is get a lie in and a cup of tea brought to me in bed.  And some home-made cards from my girls.  The more rubbish and badly spelt the better.  This is all I want.  And perhaps a big, fat Sunday lunch where I get to eat most of the roast potatoes.  Oh, and for somebody else to remember to wash the school uniforms and hang them up to dry, preferably before Monday morning.


What I don’t want is any of the stuff that my in-box is full of today.  Someone, somewhere has sold my email address to ‘interested parties’ and I’m choc full of Mother’s Day offers. I got one just now luring me into a special mother’s day exfoliation and waxing package.  Getting waxed?  On mother’s day?  Who decided that would be a treat?

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Mother’s Day come-down

I’m suffering from Mother’s Day come-down.  In the old partying days of my youth, Tuesday was always the day you’d feel the effects of a heavy weekend.  It was the day reality returned and glumness with it.
However in these freakishly fit marathon training days of mine, today’s come-down isn’t to do with alcohol.  And it’s not that I’m missing being fed, watered and treated like a princess and banned from clearing up, emptying the dishwasher, or putting the washing on.  The come-down is to do with the realization of what a fairly rubbish mother I am most of the time.

If only it was always like it was on Sunday.  If only every day was a Mothering Sunday.

I awoke to a bunch of home-made tissue and straw flowers, crayoned cards emblazoned with tear-jerkingly gorgeous messages, as well as well as plate full of heart-shaped toast.  I had been planning on my longest marathon training run yet, an 18-miler along the coast, but as the sun shone in through the window bathing three blonde heads in halos of gold, I yawned and took a rain check. I’d run another day, I announced, to cheers of approval.

I decided there and then to give one hundred percent of my attention to my kids.  For the whole day.

It was surprisingly hard.

Quite quickly I realized how often I tell them I’ll read to them, or play with them, then go off and do something else.  How often I check my Blackberry.  How little time I make to kick a ball around, or pull them on their scooters.  How I get into their bedrooms intending to get involved in their latest arty glue-and-paper project and start putting socks away instead.  And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve now thrown my marathon training into their free-time/mummy-time mix.

But on Sunday, as I sat in the sunshine having a fry-up and letting the kids play with my camera, I realized how happy everyone was now that they were getting my full and undivided attention.  And how happy I was too.  I looked at every person running past and thought, ‘but it’s Mother’s Day.  Thank God.  I’m not running.’

Just as an aside here, I have to say, for the record, that there are absolutely no discernible benefits of training to run a marathon.  If you were thinking of doing it, don’t.

OK, so I don’t get so out of breath in the last-minute pre-school dash up the stairs for the forgotten hairband/nappywipes/school-book. But at the same time, I haven’t lost any weight.  Not so much as a pound.  You’d have thought I’d look like Kylie by now, but alas, no.

And everywhere I turn people have their own marathon advice – or warnings.  At the school gates, a lovely nutritionist Mummy mate checked that I was taking a very strong anti-oxidant?  Anti what?  I asked.  She looked genuinely concerned.  Didn’t I know that running produces superannuating free-radicals?  I was grateful for the warning, but alarmed that I’ll have aged 20 years by April.

However, one great bit of advice I heard on Sunday, as I was sharing a giant ice-cream with the little one.  ‘To run a marathon you have to be slightly under-trained and slightly over-weight.’

Marvelous.  My work here is done.

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