Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mothers Day Schmothers Day

I love a good lurk and surf through fellow blogs, and most of them, if not directly shouting out 'BUCK FUSH', they're wishing all the mothers in the world the very very best for the Sunday just gone.

Wow, what a huge effort to write those ones. Really. They're the equivalent of those annoying 'Thursday Thirteens' or 'Nine things you like starting with the letter K.' Granted there were some genuinely heartfelt accounts of missing their mothers now Not-Of-This-Earth (and I don't mean Geri Halliwell) and ones that genuinely tried to tackle the reality of being estranged from their mothers. But, on the whole, for every one of those mildly interesting ones were a hundred lazy ones.

Why are chrysanthemums supposed to symbolise Mothers Day? Yes, the word 'mum' is in there, but they're the floral equivalent of fruit cake or beige slacks: everyone's supposed to have them even though they don't like them. What mum (or non-mum) has ever announced on their blog/wish list/death bed that they really, above all else, needed a bunch of chrysanthemums? They should be used to perform colonic irrigations on gerbils, not for the flower least likely to be named in a love song.

A very quick straw poll of my colleagues - okay, two of them - around a coffee shop table this morning and reminiscences of what some other mum mates of mine have told me, has revealed that breakfast in bed and chryssy-bloody-anthemums are NOT what mothers want on their own personal May Day.

Mother of two boys, Pip, surprised me with her candour. "All I wanted was a sleep in, but nooooo, they got up extra early to climb all over me in bed so that they could give me their 'presents'."
"Ah yes,", I replied, "Something useful like a plaster cast of their footprint decorated with glitter, or a set of decorated wooden pegs?"
She nodded glumly. Our mate, Helen smiled the relieved smile of the childless and the well-rested.
"As for me," I went on, "Sapphire also woke up about an hour earlier than usual on Sunday, but her homemade presents were great." Pip's face fell - was I about to insinuate that she was a cold, heartless parent? Hell no: "But it was very hard to repress my more immediate reaction: BUGGER OFF BACK TO BED UNTIL AT LEAST 9AM, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"

Jill, she of the 'Hate After Eight' fame (, tried to tackle things from a different angle. When her beloved husband of 11 years asked her what she'd like to do with him and their three children, she actually had the temerity to answer: "Does it have to involve you people?"
Sadly, in order to keep her marriage, home and lovely children's self esteem intact, she hurriedly laughed and said it was a joke. What she really wanted - she confided later - was a day to herself. Not a day out, but a day off. One where she gets to stay home and her kids and husband get to go out.

You see, having a day out isn't very peaceful or relaxing because you always have to keep your socially-acceptable mask on. If you want to sit down, it has to be upright, on a chair, in a coffee shop that costs you money to be there. You can't lie on the floor, in your baggy old trakky daks eating twisties and leaning your head against the dog. And there's no point wandering through the fancy boutiques looking at sequinned fringing-posing-as-dresses when the most formal occasion you attend these days is a parent-teacher meeting and simply flicking off the stray piece of baby booger on your shoulder is your entire grooming regime.

And breakfast? There are too many mums out there who are presented with a tray of all sorts of gelatinous eggs, burned toast, slopped-over coffee and some sour-sobs shoved in a bud vase. The idea is so much better than the real thing - poor Mum normally hasn't had a chance to empty her bladder after a (hopefully) uneventful eight hour sleep, and yet her kids are eagerly watching her, ready to burst into accusations that she hates them if she doesn't immediately gulp down the drink and inhale the now cold oyster-like eggs.

Then, once Mum finds the right spot for that bag of home made pot pourri, she enters the kitchen, wearily noting that her day of not cooking breakfast instead changes to a Day of Cleaning egg off the stove, toast sweat from the bench, flower petals off the floor and doing the dishes.

So what do our Mums really want?
A sleep in, which we've already established. Followed by brunch (hence the sleep in) - preferably out of the house so that no household member is stuck with the tidying up saga.
Presents - anything the child would like to make, but must only be presented to the mother after 9am.
Lunch - doesn't matter. Just as long as the father and the kid(s) are out of the house, and she remains within it. Trust me, most mums would be happy with some dry coco-pops and the leftover Tim-Tams.

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