Today I read a feature article online that made me profoundly sad and actually rather cross. It was a first person piece that documented a seemingly very disappointing Mother’s Day. The description of the tantrum thrown by the writer (“BECAUSE IT’S MOTHER’S DAY!” I yelled irrationally.”), reminded me of my five year old on his birthday; when asked to finish the bowl of cereal he had poured himself he wailed “But that’s not fair, BECAUSE IT’S MY BIRTHDAY.”
The writer derided the breakfast-in-bed efforts of her three children. Shame on them for failing to provide freshly squeezed juice and organic bircher muesli, instead presenting the best breakfast THEY could imagine. Honestly, how thoughtless.
I totally get her desire to relax for longer with the papers, to escape from the daily grind, but, as parents of young children we have to accept that we are there to do the looking after, not the other way round, whatever the day.
We all, however saintly we try to be, experience bouts of irrationality, it’s only human. But to expect our children to be able to predict this, or temper their behaviour according to our expectations (especially an expectation based so much around commercialism) is quite often a guaranteed recipe for the exact opposite to eventuate. For the record, our Sunday was peppered with frequent missives such as ‘no fighting, it’s Mother’s Day!’, ‘stop pulling your brother’s hair, it’s Mother’s Day’, ‘Mummy will be very sad if she sees you doing that on Mother’s Day (8 yo to 5 yo stuffing my scarves into my shoes…).
Presents were another element of damnation, the writer having received soap (greeted with sarcasm), a cheese knife (which garnered the non-verbal exclamation “?!”), and a “cute little jug”. I think her children did well, but then all children do well in their own way. The fact that they have made a self-motivated choice should be enough, no matter how right or wrong they may have got it. They have tried their best, and isn’t that what we are always telling them is the most important thing in life?
The words that sprang to mind when reading the piece were ‘spoilt’ and ‘ungrateful’, definitions which, I am sure, do not describe the author at all. I wonder how her children would feel were they to read this description of their day together though? Pretty sad that their noble and loving efforts had fallen on such barren ground I wouldn’t wonder.
There is a strong movement around for keeping a ‘gratitude journal’. Imagine our notes within this compared to those, say, of a refugee or mother in a war zone. I can’t imagine they have any sort of Mother’s Day to speak of. Let’s try to keep life in perspective and minimise the First World moaning.
P.S. For anyone who’s interested I got some eye-wateringly sweet strawberry and cream truffles, chosen because of the gorgeously-girly pink box and the 6 year old’s sweet tooth, some self-tanning lotion (with the hilarious comment, ‘sorry Mum, I didn’t read the box properly’), handy for winter no?, and a divine bunch of crinkly pink carnations teamed with gypsophila that I wouldn’t choose for myself in a million years but, with the heart-burstingly proud smile that accompanied them may well have been the finest bunch of flowers I’ve ever received.