I want to celebrate ALL versions of mums and their families. This seems especially relevant in the run up to Mothers’ Day. I am so lucky that I get to meet and network with many awesome mums in my work with my company, Mum's Back. Our main business is selling luxury hamper gifts for new mums, but along the way we also get to discuss parenting and motherhood in its many different forms. In this guest post, the lovely author, Louise Tondeur, has put together an article about what life is like being in a 2 mum family and how they celebrate Mothers’ Day in their house. Louise has also got some input from her community who are also mums in a same sex couple family. Enjoy!
“We love it! Two mums = double the presents, double fun on the day, but it’ll be expensive when our children get older!” (Simone)
What’s it like being part of a two-mum family on Mothers’ Day? It’s the same as it is in any family: it's different depending on each family’s traditions. I didn’t want to rely on my own version, so I asked five mums to explain. Turns out that the biggest difference is that it’s up to the mums to organise it for themselves.
Only one person having a lie in
Ruth said her pet niggle was “only getting the option of one person having a lie in, or breakfast in bed. Our 6-year-old is too young to do it. So, one of us (often me) has to get up and help.”
That’s definitely true if your kids are young. I bought us a joint hamper gift this year, because I can’t resist anything that involves wine, cheese and crackers, and while I’ve told our son that he’s making us breakfast in bed. we’ve been getting up early for years so we’ll probably all roll out of bed like we usually do.
That said, I was so incredibly excited on our first Mothers’ Day, which was only a couple of weeks after our son came out of hospital (he was born early), I stayed in bed like it was Christmas morning, baby in arms, waiting for my card, and let my wife make me pancakes. But we’d already been together a long time before we became mums so (she won’t mind me saying) we’d got over the ‘being super nice to each other stage’ of our relationship. When our son was younger, relay sleeping appealed way more than breakfast in bed.
We focus on our own mums
Laura felt that trying to organise Mothers’ Day for each other was too pressurised, so they save the treats for their own mums:
“It’s just like every day for us. Neither one of us gets special treatment. Our own mums are our focus on this day – trying to make it about us makes it too pressurised and just hasn’t been that successful. Maybe it’ll get easier when the kids are older!” (Laura)
That made me wonder if there’s an exchange of presents or if it’s only one way. I didn’t know – and I still don’t – whether other people in your family are ‘supposed’ to acknowledge your ‘mumness’ on Mothers’ Day. I think my mum sent us a card in our first year, but my baby-memories are hazy, and I can’t remember what happened next.
Card and present making at school
Depending on the school or nursery, if you’re not in a family made up of a mum and a dad, you might have to let them know in advance how you want them to approach present and card making. Our son got to make a joint card and pretend daffodil for Mothers’ Day at his first nursery for instance.
Later in the year they asked us who he’d like to make his fathers’ day card for, and we went for his Grandpa and his Uncle. I really like how that expands the definition of mothers’ day and fathers’ day, so they encompass any mothers and fathers that are special to you, and kids without one or the other don’t feel left out.
That idea is especially true for us at the moment as my wife lost her mum last year, and I lost my dad fairly recently too. At this time of year I used to buy cards for my Nana, my Grannie, my mum, my wife and my mother-in-law – now there are only two of those people left to buy for.
It can be pretty overwhelming seeing the adverts for Mothers’ Day or Fathers’ Day when you’ve lost a parent and being able to connect the day to other mother and father figures in your life can help, as can having a big cry, and watching repeated episodes of Friends (in my case).
“Often places do ‘mums get in free’ on Mothers’ Day. Makes for a cheap day out!” (Kate)
If you go to a ‘mums get in free’ event in a two-mum family, then you’re quids in! Last year my mum, my wife and I went to the Weald and Downland Museum with our son and I was really worried beforehand about telling them that none of the adults would be paying, but they didn’t even bat an eyelid. I noticed this year that the Sealife Centre are doing a Mums Go Free promotion but only with a full paying adult. I like how they state that upfront – because I’d rather know than get embarrassed at the till – but I think it’s unfair on one parent families.
Maddy’s Day and Mom’s Day
I also discovered that some families have an innovative approach to Mothers’ Day:
“We have two different days as our son calls me Mum and my wife Maddy. Maddy’s day is the lesser known Saturday before Father’s Day. It means my wife gets her own day and I get a few reminders with the Father’s Day adverts! It works for us. Moonpig et al means we’ve always made bespoke Maddy’s day cards!” (Hannah)
I love the idea of Maddy’s day and am thinking of adapting the idea for use in June if I can find a way of adding ‘Louise’s Day’ to our calendar without anyone noticing. I also really loved this response:
“My partner is American, so we celebrate UK Mothers’ Day for me, British mum, and USA Mother’s Day (usually in May) for the kids’ American mom. that way we both get a nod and we acknowledge both countries take on Mothers’ Day.” (Jane)
Where does the apostrophe go?
And finally, the all-important question: where does the apostrophe go? I’m a Creative Writing tutor by day (and sometimes by night) and have a PhD in English so I’m officially allowed to be pedantic about punctuation. There are actually two answers to the question:
1) Nowhere. It’s not called Mothers’ Day. It’s called Mothering Sunday.
2) Wherever you want it to. It depends what you mean.
If you want it to mean that it’s all about your mum, it’s Mother’s Day – like saying ‘it’s my mum’s special day’. I’m going to stick my neck out and say that this is true even if more than one person in your family is focusing on their own mum.
If you mean that the day is about celebrating lots of mums all over the place, it’s Mothers’ Day – like saying ‘it’s the day of all mothers today’ or in the case of this article, or you’d use Mothers’ Day if you mean you’re personally celebrating more than one mum at the same time.
Louise Tondeur is a freelance writer and tutor, novelist and short story writer. You can check out her author website here. www.louisetondeur.co.uk/blog
She blogs about finding time to write here. www.smallstepsguide.co.uk
Thanks so much to Louise! This blog was written for Sally Bunkham, founder of Mum's Back, hamper gifts for mums. £1 from every package sold goes to perinatal mental health charity PANDAS Foundation.