We’ve never officially celebrated Mother’s Day in my family. Mum’s birthday falls in the same week, so, given the choice of celebrating her specifically or all mothers generally, we plumped for her. However, there has always been a nod to Mother’s Day: the card made in school or a quick emoji-filled text.
Mum knows how much I love her. But I now realise, I never fully appreciated her.
Mother’s Day has taken on a whole new layer of meaning since having a child myself, because my notion of motherhood has changed so much.
My mum has always been a role model to me: she worked, kept a beautiful home, was stylish, read books (to me and, as far as I could tell, to herself as well), planned fun days out, helped with homework. I was never aware as a child what was going in the background (I imagine now late nights, early mornings, lots of multi-tasking— and there was no Amazon Prime or online shopping so she had to fit “general supplies” into the mix, too).
She decided to change her career and embarked upon a second degree when both her children were in primary school. I now realise how difficult that must have been; the thought of having to juggle lectures, exams and job applications with sewing name tags on to socks, reading bedtime stories and generally raising two young daughters makes me want to sit down for a rest.
I’m a modern woman. I know that the notion of “having it all” is, to a certain degree, a fallacy. But, as a working mother now myself, I am aware of what my mum sacrificed while I was growing up in a way that I didn’t understand, even two years ago.
Although, of course, the word “sacrifice” has taken on a new meaning for me now, too.
My memories are full of home-cooked meals, family time, one-on-one time shopping or (our shared obsession) watching musicals, as well as reading together and laughing together. When I imagined my future, there were always children, there was always a career and there was always a home like ours. That is what I want for my children.
My daughter is nearly one and a half. And my mum is still looking after me. She has made me the mother that I am (come back in 30 years to see what my daughter thinks) and for that, this year, I’m going to celebrate Mother’s Day with her. And her birthday.