Mother bother

Break­fast in bed or un­made beds? Moth­ers’ Day or Mother­ing Sun­day? ROWAN MANTELL ques­tions the art of be­ing a mum

EDP Norfolk - - Talk Of The Country - [email protected] Rowan Mantell

I WAS mo­men­tar­ily shocked, the other day, to dis­cover that there are moth­ers who do not ap­prove of Mother’s Day. I have no in­for­ma­tion on whether the mother in ques­tion is anti ap­ple pie and can’t be do­ing with kit­tens ei­ther, but it did prompt me to re­mem­ber that my own fa­ther has no truck with Fa­ther’s Day and my daugh­ter, fa­mously in our fam­ily, an­nounced as a tod­dler that it wasn’t fair to have a Mother’s Day un­less there was a Chil­dren’s Day too.

So I served her cold burnt toast in bed. No I didn’t, well not de­lib­er­ately.

On oc­ca­sion I have been so swept up in the frenzy of buy­ing stuff that I have ac­ci­den­tally sent my dad some­thing for Fa­ther’s Day, only to be re­minded that his phan­tom col­lec­tion of “world’s best dad” para­pher­na­lia does not need to ex­pand, or even ex­ist.

And I be­lieve it is the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of be­ing nice to your old ma, that so riles the mum who gives Mother’s Day a miss. But here I am on solid ground, ac­cept­ing cards, flow­ers, cho­co­lates, lunches out… Be­cause while Mother’s Day might sound like a self­ish cel­e­bra­tion of me, me, me for women lucky enough to be mums, Mother­ing Sun­day is a re­li­gious fes­ti­val.

It is not ac­tu­ally in the Bi­ble. There is no story of Moses cray­on­ing on a tablet of stone for the Egyp­tian princess who raised him, or Je­sus treat­ing Mary to a bunch of daffs from the Nazareth 24-hour camel fill­ing sta­tion (although he did turn wa­ter into wine for her.) In­stead our Mother­ing Sun­day can be traced back to the cen­turies-old cus­tom of peo­ple re­turn­ing to their main, or mother, church on the fourth Sun­day in Lent, pick­ing posies of flow­ers for their mums along the way. Per­haps they com­posed flow­ery rhyme-laden, rhythm-free po­ems as they walked, olden-days ver­sions of sen­ti­men­tal greet­ings-card verses.

To­day we should leave the flow­ers in the hedgerows but I still love the church tra­di­tion of hand­ing out daf­fodils on Mother­ing Sun­day, and I still love a hand-made card.

As a child I could not un­der­stand why my mum would want some piece of tat I’d made, more than a mass-pro­duced ex­pres­sion of my grat­i­tude for her won­drous at­ti­tude, un­par­al­leled in this lat­i­tude, etc.

With age comes wis­dom and now I know that moth­ers are fu­elled by sadism, delu­sion and greed. Or is that just me? It takes for­ever for any­one older than 10 to make some­thing suit­able, but in the van­ish­ingly un­likely event of the off­spring be­com­ing fa­mous, per­haps for de­vel­op­ing the con­cept of a highly com­mer­cialised Chil­dren’s Day, the art­work might fetch a for­tune.

An in­stal­la­tion-like un­made bed any­one? Or is that less art and more proof that I need to work harder at this mother­ing busi­ness?Š

“My daugh­ter, fa­mously in our fam­ily, an­nounced as a tod­dler that it wasn’t fair to have a Mother’s Day un­less there was a Chil­dren’s Day too”

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