Today is that sacred day of days. Despite our isolation and our social distancing, despite the lack of places to go, today is still a day to celebrate. For today is Mother’s Day. This is the time where we celebrate our mothers and show our appreciation for all they do for us, and the endless support they give us. This year it is a little unusual to say the least. We will adore from afar, we will keep our distance in order to keep our mothers safe and we will send our sentiments over the airwaves and through the screens instead. A virtual hug is better than no hug right?
When a child is born a mother is born too and with that begins a lifelong adventure. Motherhood is a position that comes with no training, no instructions, no holidays, no salary even. But the rewards are endless, the payment priceless and the role a fulfilling one. Even if the children make it difficult for you to be the mother you always imagined yourself to be, it’s never dull, never boring, always challenging, always rewarding, and guaranteed to be a little exhausting.
Motherhood should be about your individual journey with your child. And yet it so often isn’t. We’re so busy looking over our shoulder at how everyone else is doing that sometimes we fall behind in the race. But, it isn’t a race. And as the children grow there will be so many times when you think you’ve failed as a mother, when you beat yourself up and wish you had done better, but in the eyes, heart and mind of your child you are supermum, and that’s all that matters.
Of course this is all very fine when they are young enough to adore us and see us as the infallible creatures that we really are. The problems arise when they become a little older and a little wiser and are able to think for themselves. Then they see that we are human after all, we do make mistakes, we don’t know everything even though we pretend we do and we don’t actually have eyes in the back of our heads. As the children grow we become chefs, maids, taxi-drivers, social secretaries, counsellors, coaches, referees and teachers. We also become embarrassing, invisible and surplus to requirements until they need money or the car keys that is. They don’t notice you’re ill until they run out of food and would probably step over you on the way to the fridge as you lie prostrate on the cold hard tiles. But this too shall pass and the tall children will come back to us. They will learn, as we all did, that home is where your mother is. She never judges, never condemns, she just offers comfort, support, unconditional love and of course, food. And this alone is reason to celebrate her.
Of course, there are many people who have lost their mother and for them this day can be an exceptionally difficult one. They celebrate her memory and how she lives on through them, how her voice seemingly whispers in their ear at the perfect moment and how her very presence for however short a time, has had such an impact on the person they have become. A mother is she who can take the place of many others but whose shoes no one else can fill.
Then there are those women who aren’t mothers in the definitive sense but will always be a mother is their heart. These include those of us who have never had a chance to know their child due to miscarriage or loss within the first few hours of birth. A mother is not necessarily defined by the number of children you can see. Some people only dream of angels. I held one in my arms and today I remember him and all the other mothers like me who carry one or more of their children in their heart instead of in their arms.
There are mothers who had their plans abruptly changed when they gave birth to a child with special needs and their mothering journey became something altogether unexpected. Then there are mothers who had to make the difficult decision to give up their child for adoption, mothers who mother their grandchildren, stepmothers, surrogate mothers and those who provided temporary mothering to the lost and forgotten children for days, months or even years through fostering. May all of those feel acknowledged and honoured this weekend too.
From inspirational mums not afraid of anything except spiders, to reluctant mums; from weary mums to magical mums to mums behaving badly let’s celebrate and be celebrated and take pride in our role as a mother. And never forget, of course that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, so it might be wise to spoil the mammies this weekend, if only for a quiet life..