Monday, March 19, 2007

Mother's Day

Since becoming a mother, I have come to really dislike too much about Mother's Day.

Not the side of loving, thanking and remembering how much I love my own Mum, or how lucky I am to still have her here, strong and healthy. Especially as I head to the age where that means more, because not everyone's Mum is still here.

Not the beautifully random hand made gifts and morning hug that my own son gives to me.

No, I don't like Mother's day, because it is a sharp stick in the face to remind me that I'm no longer with my son's father. Thankfully in my case, but Mother's Day still niggles and stabs - shoves the neon 'I'm a failure' sign right at me. I wouldn't change my son for the world, not an ounce or moment of regret for his beautiful being. I haven't even really minded being a single mum, just one of those things that you 'get on with' - mostly too busy, or too tired, to worry about the logistics of it all. Happier to be a single Mum than in an abusive relationship. But the truth is in any relationship that follows, there are moments when you realise that no matter how much you all love each other, as a Mum you are there on your own. No one else is ever going to love that child quite like you do.

My bitter perspective is the direct result of my son's father leaving me when he was 10 days old. So I spent that first Mother's Day exhausted, bewildered, and in tears. Everyone else from the ante natal class was deluged with flowers, chocolates and tea in bed. Silly that there was even some kind of expectation on my part. But there was; some kind of rites of passage, that now I was on the other side of the 'Hallmark' flowery-card-fence I would bask in the balmy glow of love, respect and adoration for the day. Missing any kind of rites of passage can mess you up a bit. Consumer laws dictate that mothers shall be indulged and cherished and waited on by the fathers of their children. In the absence of this looms up a big fat 'lack' that, no matter how pragmatic I may be at other times of the year, haunts me when thrust into full vision.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not missing the true meaning behind the day - I know the historical roots of service girls given a day off. I'm not dismissing the chance to give my own Mum special thanks and love. I'm not ungrateful for the nursery or school made gifts from my lovely little boy. Really those are what is important. Nothing else should matter.

But... there is a cultural expectation as a mother of school age kids that you will get pampered and slightly indulged. At very least a cup of tea in bed, breakfast perhaps. Just something to make the day a bit different. I wonder how many other separated mothers feel the lack of that as some kind of slap in the face? Is it just me? Or does the shopfront-marketing-overload prior to Mother's Day guarantee to leave too many of us feeling somehow tried, judged, and found as lacking in some respect?

My Mother's Day catalogue of disasters is impressive. Things that would have hurt no matter what, have managed to sting that little bit more as a result of colliding with that day. It has kind of come to be an anniversary of shitty events. The first was spectacular. On another my then boyfriend stayed out 'till six am, leaving me in that hideous limbo of knowing that 'something' was going on (it was). I got dumped one Mother's Day. This year was heralded by the kind of shitty row that puts a relationship on the line, the frosty silence and bitter one liners carried on throughout the day. Perhaps I'm just selfish, but all day I wanted to turn round and say "It's Mother's Day, can't you just be nice?". Perhaps I should just drop the expectation.

But it hurt, and it hurt more because casting my mind back I couldn't remember a Mother's Day that hadn't brought the whole situation of having the right child with the wrong man so clearly into focus. It makes me wonder what it might be like to share the responsibility of having a child with someone else, of not feeling guilty if someone else helps in whatever way with some small or large parenting duty, of what it might feel like just to be 'in it together'.

That's not something I'm ever going to know about. Fact. Perhaps I might in the future, but not with Oz. When the chips are down, He's my responsibilty and I've got to give him the love, security and protection of both a Mum and a Dad.

I feel selfish for even writing this here, my life is blessed in so many ways. I guess it's the hurt of a relationship that failed before the stitches of childbirth had healed coming back to haunt me. In those days following birth mothers feel as newborn as the babies, it's a precious time where hurts can bury in too deep. Sometimes it still hurts, and Mother's Day seems to be the day when that hurts the most.


Jacqui said...

I can understand why mother's day's are not your favourite days.
As my kids have got older, they have made more of an effort to spoil me. I hope that happens for you too, and you can replace some crappy memories with some beautiful ones.

Fi said...

I hate mothers day too. Part guilt for neglecting my own mother (have no idea what day's mother's day in Australia, so she lucks out) and part disappointment, cos my kids never make a fuss of me - mostly cos they don't rememeber.
This year I scored a bunch of scrumped narcissus from Lucy, and a bunch of scrumped daffs from Eddie. Quality. When we got home and I was busy dusting and scrubbing mold off the walls, the girls did make me a card, so I shouldn't really grumble.
I'm looking forward to the day when they cook me dinner. Mother's day be damned - any day will do. Ditto a cup of tea in bed. Appreciation can manifest itself at any time as far as I'm concerned!
And sorry to read that you've had such a mother of a rough time of it. Men...

Taiga the Fox said...

I think that the neon 'I'm a failure' sign should be shoving somebody else every single Father's Day. Definitely not you.

emapple said...

I hate mother's day but mother's day has never really meant anything in my family. It was never expected that we'd mark it. I sent her a text because I was reminded by all the people getting on the train with flowers.

You have nothing to feel bad about, you're a beautiful Mum and Oz knows he's got someone who loves him and who's looking out for him which is more important than anything else.

We're mums, we do a good job. We're special all the time and we always deserve a cup of tea at the very least!

emapple said...

Also technical question. Is there a simpler way of putting in links other than cutting and pasting the address in the same way I've got links to websites?

Thanks xx

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Being neither a mother, nor a day, I probably don't have anything very sensible to say (as already demonstrated). But definitely agree with what Taiga said about the neon sign.

Random memory from last Friday:

You spent the afternoon wandering around with your laces untied. Then when we went down to meet Andy and Oz, it was Oz wandering along with his laces untied. Yours were tied. Not sure why I noticed, exactly, or why it made me think "Yep, she's a good mum," but it did.

By the way, what happened to that post that was there earlier with the link to that video?

miss-cellany said...

You are all very lovely :)

TopChamp said...

You seem to be doing pretty well - balancing study, motherhood, social life... I'm impressed. I also liked your post here - hence my commenting.