Mother’s Day is a funny old thing. It’s a bit like Christmas or a birthday where there’s the potential for a bit of an anti-climax. I never think too much of it until the day, and then suddenly it’s everywhere. Facebook fills up with photos of people getting breakfast in bed, flowers and manicures. This is lovely, but when you’ve got young kids they rarely get the memo, do they? Try telling a 2 year old it’s Mother’s Day and see what reaction you get. ‘Erm yeah, whatevs Mum, I’m trying to have a tantrum about the incorrect coloured cup you have just presented me with, get lost. ‘
My very first Mother’s Day set the bar low, which is a good thing. Daisy was about 8 months old and happened to be feeling very irritable that day. I recall her being sick over me on a bus. I also recall buying some yogurt from Waitrose and getting home to discover it had already gone off. Waitrose as well! Unbelievable. I was quite heavily pregnant with my second at that point too, so booze was off the menu. I think I probably indulged in chocolate once Daisy was in bed (she says, trying to convince you this was different to any other day). It was an odd feeling, that first Mother’s Day. Probably because in one way it marked something really significant, but in the same breath it was a day like any other at that point in life, filled with changing nappies and all the other repetitive tasks keeping a baby alive involves.
By the time my second Mother’s Day hit I was not in a good place. I had an 8 month old non sleeper with an undiagnosed medical issue, a lively 18 month old, and growing post natal depression. At least that year I had no expectations! I was just trying to get through each day as undamaged as possible.
This year I’m in a much better place. My eldest can now even tell me how much she loves me! And to be honest that’s all I want for Mother’s Day.
I can’t help feeling a bit like all these celebration days put way too much pressure on us to have fun and enjoy ourselves, and often it can have the opposite effect. It’s also a tough day for people not in a typical nuclear family, and even if you are, it can still be hard. Perhaps I’m being overly negative, but I can’t help thinking that for all those it helps celebrate and feel great, it makes the same number feel a little crap. It’s a reminder for those whose mums are no longer with us how much they miss them. For those couples trying to conceive and not having much luck, it’s a reminder of their battle. For single mums who have to organise their own days and cards, it can feel like a bit of a kick in the teeth. For anyone that’s lost a special lady in their life that was a mum, whether it’s their wife, daughter, sister or Aunty, it’s a day that really shines a light on their loss., not to mention those poor families that have lost children. I know people in all those situations, and I want them all to know that I will be especially thinking of them tomorrow.
And for those with young babies and kids, my advice is this – aim low! If you are one of the lucky ones that gets to post that picture of a bunch of flowers or hand made card, then excellent. If not, do something for yourself that makes you feel good. Take a walk in the sun. Have a glass of wine. Get yourself some cake. Buy yourself a Mum's Back hamper 😉 Whatever it is that YOU love. Take a bit of it for yourself. And if you are feeling a bit like I was last year, try not to put pressure on yourself. Just get through. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from having 2 babies, it’s that a lot of the time it’s all about hanging tight and just getting through!
Happy Mother’s Day everyone and I hope that wherever you are, you get some peace and happiness. Oh, and whoever arranged this daylight saving thing where we all get an hour’s less sleep on Mother’s Day…..jog on pal.
Sally Bunkham is the founder of Mum's Back. Sick of seeing the same old post pregnancy hampers? Mum's Back focusses on all the yummy luxurious stuff denied in pregnancy, for a real new mum treat. £1 from every hamper goes to PANDAS Foundation to help support their fab work into perinatal mental health conditions.