I had a good Mother’s Day. So did many of you, I suspect. However, I was given two insights into how Mother’s Day can be an unpleasant experience for some mothers. The pink tint of Mother’s Day with bouquets of flowers, pink iced cakes (or any other colour for that matter) and glossy TV adverts does not stretch into all households. Much like Christmas which brings all sorts of existential stress, I think Mother’s Day is the one day when mothers feel strongly that their identity or existence as mothers is either justified or not. While it is easy to construct Mother’s Day as being a commercially invented one there is no getting away from the fact that it is a day that still counts.
A friend arrived on my doorstep just before lunch on Mother’s Day. Her teenage son had not wished her and was out with his friends. She was feeling lost. I invited her to join us for lunch. Having her around made both of us happy, in fact, though it did not make up for the fact that her teenager was not with her.
At 7.40pm my phone rang. A friend’s name flashed up. I answered in a cheery tone expecting a conversation about how her day had gone etc. It was a ‘pocket dial’ call. It took me a few seconds to realise that that was what it was because of the shouting in the background. She was screaming at her daughter and husband for forgetting about her and giving her a card quite late in the day. ‘This is what you think of me’, she said, ‘after all that I do’. Her daughter screamed at her to shut up. My friend carried on with her anguished monologue. I hung up because I felt like I was intruding on a personal family situation. She has not rung me since (intentionally or unintentionally) and I know that she would be too embarrassed to talk about it.
Not A Happy Mother’s Day FOR ALL.