25th March 2017

Mother’s Day expectations Vs reality

For years you’ve taken your mum out for lunch on Mother’s Day, indulged her with pretty blooms and posh chocolates. But now you’ve had a baby the boot’s on the other foot and the day is officially about you. So will it live up to expectation? By Rachel Tompkins

It’s a funny old thing isn’t it, motherhood. Before you become a mum you have so many preconceived ideas about how things will be. Then the baby/babies arrive, and you realise with a bang that life just isn’t like that. That things aren’t quite as perfect as all those beaming ‘Fake-book’ (as one of my cynical mum-friends calls it) pictures. And Mother’s Day is a prime example…

The lie-in

Lie-in – “what lie-in?”, I hear you scoff. Point made. Don’t get me wrong, my other half has the best intentions to let me have a Mother’s Day lie-in. But the reality is that after having the bedroom lights turned on full- beam by the 4-year-old, then being used as a human trampoline by aforementioned child, any remnants of drowsiness quickly vanish and the moment is lost.

The present

Of course there are the usual flowers and chocolates – if your partner is that way inclined.

The lucky few might even be on the receiving end of a designer handbag, shoes, or in rare cases a personalised photobook or piece of jewellery. But discussing such extravagant/thoughtful gifts in the presence of other mums could be a surefire way of losing friends.

Because in most cases the only present is the one purchased during a last-minute dash to the closest supermarket – and that’s not actually for you, it’s for your mother-in-law!

One friend of mine had a particularly ‘special’ present on her second Mother’s Day though. Her daughter was potty training at the time and upon hearing her shouting: ‘Mummy, Mummy, look, for you!’ she ran onto the landing only to discover the biggest poo curled out neatly on the carpet. So I suppose we should just be grateful for small mercies…

The lunch

A relaxing Sunday Roast in a cosy gastropub. Nice try! Any mum with young children will know that the words ‘relaxing’ and ‘Sunday Roast’ should never be uttered in the same breath.

I can still remember one of the first meals I went out for after having baby number one. It involved me carefully selecting the one thing on the menu that could be eaten with one hand (so I could hold the baby with the other) and spending the best part of the second course trying to rock the baby to sleep in the buggy with my foot. As the children get older it gets slightly easier and harder in equal measure. With age they can of course be bribed to stay still/quiet with iPads/mobile phones. But even that usually loses its attraction when there are tables to be climbed under and child-less couples to bother. Experience has taught me that a nice roast dinner at home is often more relaxing all round – as long as you’re not the one cooking it!

The card

My first Mother’s Day, I eagerly awaited a card with a tear-jerker of a message from my tiny cherub. The card never came. Why? Because hubby logically explained that our son was of course not even one yet, and couldn’t write a message in a card. He’s right of course. Once our boy started nursery this was rectified by the lovely staff who duly sent home a card with poignant message and obligatory hand-print. All carefully created by a one-and-a-half year old of course…

The day itself

The clue’s in the name. I like to think of it as a day to celebrate everything that being a mum means to you. For me, that’s spending time with my wonderful mum, and being with my boys. Experience has taught me that it doesn’t have to be doing something big/expensive/glamorous, it just has to be something that makes you happy. So if that’s a hassle-free walk in the park followed by a take-away and a bottle of wine when the kids are in bed, do it. Or if it’s just having a nap while the baby is asleep, enjoy it. It is our day after all; we all know that being a mum isn’t always as perfect as people like to make out, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome.

@RachTompkins @mushmums

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