Reclaiming Mother’s Day
When did we break Mother’s Day? asks Sam Wilson.
My mom and I had our annual Mother’s Day conversation this morning.

‘What are your boys doing for you this Sunday?’ she asked, eliciting my traditional response.

‘Oh shucks, we don’t do Mother’s Day,’ I burbled. ‘I mean, I’m a working mother, and Andreas does so much of the parenting too it just feels funny, you know, to make a big day out of me being the mom when it’s something we now share and...’

Significant pause from my mother.

‘So... you’re too apologetic about your mothering to let your sons spoil you for one day? That’s interesting, Samantha.’

When my mother calls me Samantha, I am instantly transported to 1983, right after I had just spilt an entire glass of mixer orange juice on a Flokati rug. It’s not a good feeling. (And an impulse I’d like my friends to stop abusing when drunk. ‘Samantha!’ GAAH!” It’s not funny anymore.)

She has a point, and I think it applies to more than just me. While our mothers luxuriated in a day of breakfast in bed, surrounded by gaudy satin Teddys proclaiming ‘Best Mum in the World!’, we’ve awkwarded and feministed our way out of the entire day.

I deserve Mother’s Day

Why don’t I think I deserve to be spoilt on Mother’s Day? It’s not just the knee-jerk reaction to the dross the shops pump out at this time of year, hands expectantly on tills.
It’s – and this is very hard for me to admit – that mothering to me means something softer than what I do.

It’s staying at home, giving up a career to do homework, oozing patience, making papier-mâché and roasts and garden swings from scratch. It’s not screeching between home and school and work, chucking satchels in the boot, getting pizza once a week and inventing ‘Sleep in your Undies Night’ because I am not on top of the washing.

‘Ah,’ said my mother, after I explained. ‘Well... that’s just a load of piffle, isn’t it? I see how you look at your sons. And I see how they look at you. There’s the softness, Samantha.

And that’s what needs to be celebrated.’

I know what you’re thinking. Sam’s mom actually uses the word piffle. And also, obviously... that she’s totally right. I don’t know what global guilt we’re trying to shrug off; but modern mothers are freakishly, tragically hard on themselves.

So for the first time in my life, I’m going to wait for a breakfast tray on Mother’s Day, and perhaps a few hastily wrapped pieces of clay, weirdly kilned.

I’ll let all you other insecure mothers know how it turns out.

Do you feel entitled to be spoilt on Mother’s Day?

Read more by Sam Wilson

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