Children and Greg barrelling into bedroom this morning. ‘Happy Mother’s Day to you, Happy Mother’s Day to you.’
Me, after unwrapping gifts: What lovely gifts – thank you!
Three-year-old: Can I have a chocolate?
Seven-year-old (outraged): No!
Three: I want a chocolate, I want one, I want one. I want two. (Starts to cry. Grabs box and runs away.)
Mother’s Day is a sanctimonious affair. The kids are hustled at school to make gifts and write notes. It’s a day for mom to be ‘spoilt’ and ‘taken care of’ – part invalid, part child. The irony is that the rest of the year mothers are expected to be all-adult.
The odd thing is that fathers are really not held to the same level. Greg thinks he’s a great dad – fair, involved, doing the best he can with a wide variety of competing commitments, and he’s right: he is all those things. It’s just that the bar for mothers is impossibly high, leading to feelings of deficiency, guilt and second guessing for all kinds of minor things.
If you genuinely want a ‘Mother’s Day’ concept, then start thinking about shifting the entire workplace so that part-time work is acceptable, insist on genuine paternity leave and include fathers in all school newsletters. And that’s just for starters…