Unless you’ve spent the past month hiding away in your room binge watching every show on Netflix, you’ll know that it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday.
For those of us who have ventured out into the real world, there’s been no way of avoiding it.
We’ve been inundated with TV and radio ads spruiking mum-friendly products from perfumes to pyjamas. An avalanche of catalogues has streamed into our inboxes providing suggestions for suitable gifts, most of which seem to be in shades of pink. Hallmark shares are going through the roof.
It’s all meant to create an emotional response – to bring a tear to the eye and a swelling of the heart. But not for everyone.
For some people Mother’s Day triggers an emotional response of a different kind, one of painful memories, raw feelings and terrible sadness. For others it simply makes them slightly nauseous due to an overload of saccharine-laced sentimentality.
I was reminded of this when a friend mentioned how much she hates Mother’s Day.
Her mother died a couple of days after Mother’s Day more than two decades ago and, as it was the last time she spoke to her mum, the day brings those feelings of loss back to the surface.
My friend has chosen not to have children and while she is very comfortable with that decision, the day also reinforces all the rhetoric that surrounds mothers – mothers are special, they ae superwomen, loving and beautiful. And, if the advertising is anything to go by, mothers like pink.
Of course, we all know mothers who do not possess these characteristics, and women without kids who possess them in spades. However, for women who have chosen not to have kids and who have been labelled as selfish as a result, the cheesy sentiments are enough to make them cringe.
She is not alone in hating Mother’s Day.
If your mother has died, is no longer in your life or is physically here but no longer knows who you are, it can be a day of grief and a reminder of loss.
If you’re struggling with fertility issues and become a sobbing mess when you see a nappy ad, then the mother-lode of mum-focused marketing is not great for your mental wellbeing.
Likewise for those who have lost a child, who are estranged from their offspring or who can’t be with their children, it can be a tough day to get through.
For some of you it’ll be a day of mixed emotions. There are women who will get breakfast in bed and a handmade gift that will warm their hearts. However, they will also steal away a few moments to have a little cry, or a heaving sobbing fit, because they’re grieving the loss of a mother, a child or a baby who didn’t make it into the world.
For many women Mother’s Day can range from being a searingly painful reminder of what they’ve lost or weren’t able to experience, to a bittersweet balance between what they do have and what is missing.
I’m lucky that my own mother is alive and that my kids are around. Unfortunately Thank God my sons are now in their 20s so I’m unlikely to get breakfast in bed at 5am. If they wake me at that time it’ll be because they’re stumbling through the door after a night of clubbing.
I will celebrate the day with them, my mum and siblings with a nice lunch at a local café. All of which will be lovely, but it’s important to acknowledge that Mother’s Day is far from lovely for a lot of women.
So, if you’re spending Mother’s Day surrounded by loved ones, give a thought to those for whom the day is not quite so special and, in some cases, quite painful.
And if you’re one of those who doesn’t like the day know that you’re not alone and that it’s perfectly alright to hate Mother’s Day.