I am proud to be a mum. I am lucky to be a mum. I have a lovely mum of my own. I know I am in a privileged position – I do know how lucky I am. But I don’t really love Mothers Day.
I see pictures and tweets and statuses (well, not statuses these days as I am still enjoying my Facebook sabbatical) of other people’s Mothers Days and I sigh. It’s not that I don’t receive lovely cards and heartfelt wishes, I do. But I am not an easy person to spoil. This goes for birthdays too. The things that other people seem to love just don’t really work for me. For example:
- Breakfast in bed. I don’t do lie-ins. For me a lie-in is sleeping past 6.30am, so having to then lay there for another 2-plus hours whilst the rest of the family enjoy a bit more sleep, waiting to be brought tea and toast, is not really a treat. I read in bed which is a pleasure and I like laying there with the sun coming in the window (when it does) but after a time my back starts to ache and I start to think of all the things I could be doing instead. Yesterday, I forced myself to wait until I was brought a cup of tea and some toast on a tray and I forced myself to look like I was enjoying it. (The tea and toast were very nice, don’t get me wrong, but I am more than happy to sit at the kitchen table, while the dishwasher is going and with everyone around me chatting.) Sadly, T was still asleep at 10am and completely missed the whole event and was upset that we hadn’t waited for him. Until 10 o’clock? No chance matey.
- Gifts. Gifts are lovely if they are things you actually want, in my opinion, but issuing a list of items does detract from the whole “oh my goodness how did you know I wanted one of those?” surprised reactions. I know, I can’t have it both ways. I know some women are married to men who make note of things they look at lovingly while out shopping or who know when their wife’s perfume is running out or who know which handbags their wife loves and buy them one that they actually like. However, K and I have never been one of those couples. Birthday and Christmas presents are generally purchased from a pre-approved list. The surprise element is not knowing what you will get from the list. Hmm. I know it doesn’t sound great when I say it out loud. This Mothers Day was no exception. K had muttered to the kids about going out to get cards and things. I had mentioned that I would quite like a bird feeder so that I can watch the birds out of the window when I am working from home. This idea was jumped on immediately. No surprise. The kids, bless them, did buy me some chocs without any prompting, so that was nice. I bought myself some daffs.
- Dinner. I generally do the cooking in our house. I say generally; I mean almost always. When K and I moved in together we were both lacking in culinary skills. We got by on a lot of pasta and baked potatoes and, dare I say the words, ready to cook stuff. Then I became a stay-at-home mum and had time on my hands (ha ha) and so the cooking fell to me. As the years have gone by I have become more and more proficient and ready to cook meals are a thing of the past. And I still do the lions share of the cooking. K cooks on the odd Saturday night (a curry here and fajitas there) and I am trying to induct the kids into the world of cooking. So expecting a Sunday roast to be cooked without me being involved is unrealistic. In a moment of optimism I bought two lots of M&S Dine in meals so that K could just stick some food in the oven and it would save me the job of cooking or feeling horribly guilty at the expense of a meal out. My optimism was not unfounded for once and with minimal intervention K produced a nice dinner. There were a few moments of disbelief that he seemed unsure how to work the (relatively new) oven, didn’t know how long carrots took to cook, and hadn’t thought to put the apple pie in when he took the gammon out. But he made the effort and it was mostly without moaning.
- Relaxing. Apart from an hour or so in front of the telly some evenings, or a spot of knitting or reading I don’t really relax. I don’t like laying in the bath and I don’t like sitting around doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a whirling dervish of a mum; I am easygoing-ish (if you ignore the tidying obsession) but I don’t like ‘relaxing’. So being expected to “just relax, take it easy” is not what I want to hear. However, in between doing wash loads (how did three machines’ worth appear overnight?) and folding freshly dried clothes I managed to watch Jane Eyre, my favourite book, on film. The end of the film coincided with K beginning to cook dinner and so, in order to distract myself from wanting to go and supervise, I stuck Pride and Prejudice in the machine and watched some of that while helping A to make a floor cushion out of some pillows and an old duvet cover.
Despite how this sounds, this wasn’t all about me. We popped to see mum in the morning so that I could give her her card and flowers. I think Mothers Day is harder when you are a mum. You can’t give your mum breakfast in bed or make her dinner; you can buy her a card and a voucher for a manicure. (You can perhaps go out for lunch but we were out on Thursday night for A’s birthday meal and we can’t justify 2 meals out in one week….) It’s difficult to be a mum and do the expected thing AND indulge your own mum on just one day. There was no way that I wasn’t going to see my mum, although I hope she knows how loved she is EVERY day.
I am proud to be a mum. I am lucky to be a mum. I have a lovely mum.
I count my blessings EVERY day. Not just on Mothers Day.