I loathe Mother's Day - mainly because it's now so outdated
PUBLISHED: 18:21 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:21 27 March 2019
Is Mother's Day a celebration of motherly love or just a cynical cash-in? Rachel Moore is in the latter camp - she hates it with a passion
My least favourite day of the year is this Sunday.
Mother’s Day – or Mothering Sunday, as the original Christian event was called centuries ago.
Not that I haven’t adored the years of sticky wonky classroom-made cards, or the excited bed-trampolining with burned toast, spilled coffee and lots of boy kisses, the flowers and fuss.
I’ve cherished listening to my teenage sons working together and laughing to construct a “special lasagne” while I was banned from the kitchen and served my special dinner with aplomb and much spillage.
I now love the different ways my grown-up ‘boys’ view marking the day from their homes hundreds of miles away, in opposite directions.
My older son sends me cards from up north, with flowery essays on his immense gratitude for my devotion to his 22-year evolution, with a note that a bottle of Manchester Gin will travel back with him at Easter.
He will also sign the card for his younger brother holed up in his west country student house, fully aware that he wouldn’t have got round to getting a card, let alone even remembering it was Mother’s Day. It’s just how they are. Very different.
But, as close to both but in very different ways, I would have spoken to son number two five times more than son number one in the week before.
I know exactly what’s happening in his life, what’s worrying him, offered my (useless) advice on how to structure a 250-word essay on Russian culture and reassured him not to fret about when his student loan will come in.
A mother’s relationship can never be the same with each of her children. Whether they are three, 13 or 23, their relationship with each is unique – that’s what makes the whole parenting malarkey special. If a mother claims she has the same relationship with every child, they’re not real relationships or she’s not telling the truth.
These relationships should be cherished every day. I don’t need to be given a designated day and told to celebrate those very personal relationships. I am thankful every day.
Making a fuss on one day of the year, when advertising tells us to, feels fake and ostentatious.
Like every other celebration, Mother’s Day been hijacked by the American ‘holiday’ obsession and has been turned into yet another excuse for a tasteless excessive commercial splurge.
But my real issue is that Mother’s Day can cause the most divisions, feelings of inadequacy and pain.
The whole concept perpetuates the impression that somehow mothers are superior women, better and more important than women without children; that being a mother entitles women to special treatment – which, unfortunately, some women take into the workplace and jar off childless women, who are made to feel like second-class citizens
Whether by choice or nature, women without children are no less important or valued than mothers.
Since the arrival of social media, Mother’s Day has become unbearable, an excruciating show-off fest of women laying out their gifts for a photograph for all to see. A leather jacket for Mother’s Day? Enormous bouquet and fancy spa! Aren’t I special? Look how much I am loved.
There’s no such thing as sisterhood when it comes to Mother’s Day show-offs.
But most of all, I feel for the children without mothers; whose mothers have died, or left the family for whatever reason; those who have two fathers, or one lone parent father, or who live with their grandparents for whatever reason.
I like to think primary school teachers always bear this in mind when planning the card-making days, but not always, I fear.
It’s this background, the different family make-ups, the different relationships, which underlines exactly why LGBT relationship education needs to happen in primary schools.
Every family relationship, make-up and dynamics is different.
Mother’s Day will be preceded by protests outside primary schools by parents opposed to their children being exposed to homosexuality, claiming that relationship education – under the UK’s equality laws – is “toxic” and “disgusting.”
But the differences in families in today’s Britain are exactly why this education must happen in every school, now. It’s not about sex, it’s about relationships; the bedrock of society and how it functions.
Children need to be brought up understanding families are not the same; there is no bluepirint for the standard family; that tolerance, understanding and respect for those differences is how life should work, and never judgement or condemnation.
When I went to primary school, mothers and grandmothers collected children from school. Rarely was a man ever seen in the playground at drop-off or home time.
I didn’t know any children with divorced parents. There was no ethnic diversity in my school.
Today, children are enjoying life with two fathers, two mothers, lone parents of both genders, trans parents, grandparents acting as parents, foster parents and a plethora of other households that call themselves family.
Every relationship and role in that family should be celebrated, respected and cherished every day, and every child brought up to know that their own family is special in its own way, just like every other family is, however different families are from their own.
So let’s celebrate relationships rather than specific roles and labels. Make every day Family Day and cherish what has been created and the love in it.