Saturday, 7 March 2009

Pre-emptive Strike; My Perfect Mother's Day

I wrote the piece below for a local magazine. It's two weeks early, I know, but it details 'My Perfect Mother's Day'. I was rather hoping that once the proofs arrived here, as they did this week, my nearest and dearest would take note and that this would give them ('him') plenty of time to deliver. However, despite the fact that Husband has seen it, last night he asked me twice what I would like to do on Mother's Day... Ho hum... It appears that selective memory is kicking in, so I thought I would take this opportunity for a pre-emptive strike and pin this up on my 'online fridge', so he can't claim not to have seen it...

And, in the interests of full disclosure, I'm also entering it into the Mother's Day competition that Melissa at 'More to Life than Laundry' is running over on British Mummy Bloggers for Mama Baby Bliss...

My Perfect Mother's Day

So it’s Mother’s Day on March 22nd, and I bet you think it’s yet another made-up tradition to help stationers sell more cards and garages sell more carnations, don’t you?

Far from it. This day has heritage; it’s roots in the UK go back at least as far as the sixteenth century, although not until Victorian times did it start to assume the form it has now. Then it became the date when domestics were given a day off to go and visit their families. Housemaids would travel home to visit their mothers, Simnel cake in hand (think; similar to traditional Christmas cake, but without the icing), before haring back to their employers at daybreak next morning to black the grating, iron the newspaper, and kiss the postman. (I have clearly been watching far too much ‘Larkrise to Candleford’).

Nowadays, Mother’s Day consists of a card, and possibly being let off the washing-up (which you just know you are going to have do again later to get rid of the grease spots on the glasses). And if lucky you might even avoid the grease spots hazard altogether with a family lunch out, assuming the credit card isn’t being crunched too hard…

And that’s very nice, of course, but really? Could Do Better. So this year I am giving due notice to all and sundry that My Perfect Mother’s Day would consist of...

1. …waking up secure in the knowledge that I have not – as has been known – forgotten to send my mother a card. (Clearly, this one comes under ‘note to self’ category). This will then remove the need for that traditional last minute panicked phone call to my sister (who handily lives in the same town as our parents), to beg her on bended knee to get me out of the proverbial and buy some flowers to drop in to mum on my behalf.

2. ... being presented with suitably relevant and low key gifts by my husband and sons (family please note; egg timers, a boxed set of ‘Best of Top Gear’ DVD’s, and a road atlas of Europe are not amongst the presents deemed acceptable on this occasion)

3. …being able to take as long as I like in the bathroom. To spell it out clearly; there will be no interruptions during the applying of eyeliner by Husbands looking for spare loo rolls or small boys flying Playmobil airplanes and/or needing their bottoms wiping.

4. …ignoring a healthy breakfast in favour of a large box of expensive chocolates. And not having to share them.

5. …the general absence of cooking and tidying up duties. Not that those things shouldn’t get done, you understand. Just not by me. Not on Mothering Sunday.

6. …the big one. The Holy Grail for all mothers everywhere, if my straw poll on the matter is anything to go by. Please; no humdrum decisions. I would like one day of the year when I don’t have to decide what the children wear. One day when I don’t have to plan (or cook) dinner, or decide whether today’s is going to be a dark or a light wash. I still want these things done, mind you, and I want them done properly… Just – again – not by me.


I’ve just worked out what would make My Perfect Mother’s Day.

My Mum.


  1. Sounds perfect, although, fortunately, my bottom wiping duties ceased about 16 years ago, (a liberating moment)so that is one thing that doesn't have to be arranged.
    I would be quite happy with the Simnel if not the cake - marzipan being a bit of a thing of mine or better yet to be surrounded by large white lilies in a silent and sunny room decorated in pale colours and indulgent fabrics lolling elegantly on a chaise longue wearing something Sarah Bernhardtish and dry clean only . In fact, thinking about it, the perfect Mothers Day would be one where you could forget you were a mother - ironic huH ?

  2. So very often when I read your posts, I think, "I'm reading in the wrong generation," because you're still dealing with little kids and my daughter is 35 years old and has a son of her own.

    Even mother's day will not be the same for us, because my daughter lives very far away from me and I doubt she will remember to send me a card.

    Luckily, mother's day is no big deal here and I am hardly going to notice the day. As a matter of fact, I think it is celebrated here on an other date all together.

    Nevertheless, I hope you have a really nice one and that your wishes for the day come true.

  3. Potty, Mother's Day without a mother must be as difficult as those who long to be mothers themselves. It can be a really hard day for so many people, and sometimes I think it's easy to overlook that. Anyway, went off on a bit of a tangent there...
    Nice piece ;)

  4. Ha Ha Potty knew chocolate would feature somewhere. As for not having to make decisions.. so with you on that one.

    Today I made a shepherds pie and left it in the oven along with peas boiling away on stove, for my husband to give girls lunch, while I went to hairdressers.

    Get back 2 hours later. Shepherds pie all gone but CARNAGE in the kitchen. Food everywhere, peas in the furthest darkest corners of the kitchen.

    Took me half an hour to clear it up.


    BM x

  5. Oh phew! I thought I'd missed it. Mother's Day isn't till May over here and I'm always a bit of a nervous wreck around now. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. So basically PM what you are saying is that for Mother's Day you want a wife, good presents, cake and chocolate ;-)

  7. Thanks for reminding me to send my mother a card!

  8. I've found the perfect Mothers Day Gift for Shirl...a personalised wheelie bin label, advertised as 'must have' (snigger)
    I'd just like someone to put the clean washing away...oh and lunch somewhere lovely, and fresh flowers, did I forget to mention the flowers?

  9. TR, I love marzipan too - though sadly it's contraband in this house due to the nut allergies. This means whenever husband or I visit Holland we gorge ourselves on the ready supply there!

    Irene, thanks. And frankly, I think the Dutch have a much more realistic attitude to the whole mothers day thing - they don't get frenzied up by the media like we do!

    Thanks More Than, and yes, the thought did cross my mind that those who no longer have mothers must find this a very difficult day.

    BM, gah! Just, GAH! (And how do those peas get everywhere, I'ld like to know?)

    EPM, my pleasure! (Your mum can send thankyou letter to my e-mail...)

    Sharon, absolutely. Though fatter than me, obviously. I don't need any competition around the place, you understand...

    MM, glad to be of help!

    Frog, oh, the laundry, I forgot to mention putting the laundry away! Thanks for reminding me - will add that to my list...

  10. Has Potty Daddy taken the hint yet?

  11. wow you can always make me smile!
    thank you because sometimes there are not so many thing to smile for.

    a little curiosity: in Italy Mother's Day is the second sunday of May...


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