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Sharon Bill Author & Music Tutor

Happy Mother's Day - I Think ...

sharon_bill_mother's_day_flowers
Happy Mother's Day! I think … It's easy to get swept along with the tide of advertising but I do sometimes just stop and wonder. Whilst any day, and every day is a good time to show your mum that you love her is the concept of Mother's Day always such a good idea?

I realise that I sound like the Springtime Grinch but, as I struggle to get through the traffic to take my dear mum for our not unusual jolly trip, I question the sense in the panic as hordes of last minute buyers flock to buy chocs and flowers. There's a tinge of insincerity to all of the rush - it's not like this any other Saturday (apart from the Saturday before Father's Day, Valentine's Day and Christmas). Is all of this just because the Hallmark calendar tells us to buy now?

I guess that it's better to show your appreciation today than not at all, but I'm reluctant to allow that burden of duty to fall to my own children. Of course I'd love to see them, and of course I like receiving gifts, but I'd rather it was unprompted and never out of a sense of duty. There was a time (and will be again) when both of my boys had moved quite some miles away and despite my firm assurance that I never wanted them to feel beholden to come back on specified occasions it was evident that external pressure was telling. My eldest son was studying hard at a music Conservatoire and was hemmed in with practise and deadlines at around the time of Mother's Day and yet he still felt he needed to call me on this particular Sunday (Mother's day) to check that I didn't need him to hurry home with a gift (which his student finance would hardly allow) because all his flatmates had had to the same. There was no doubt that I'd be seeing him sometime soon when his schedule allowed (and his washing was too out of hand!) My youngest son had a similar crisis of confidence when he was living in Wales, and yet how was he really expected to find his way all the miles back here without transport? I guess that we could have driven over to fetch him - but that does seem a little contrived. Of course, it's obvious that not everybody can make the expected visit but it surely highlights the pressure to be obliged to do so.

The situation becomes even more complicated when children become couples. Now there is a real crisis - which mum do we visit this time? If families live relatively close together then the day can be spent doing the rounds and making sure that nobody is left out. We spent many years driving around the city with tired children in the back of the car in an attempt to f'ill in the 'gaps'. We've always loved visiting Grandparents and the children still do even now they're adults. Family is something that we've taught the children to honour and value and we've put in much time and effort (though it's not really an unpleasant task) to lead by example. However, should my daughter now feel torn as to which mum she visits? No! We have many special times together so she shouldn't need to feel torn to show affection or feel that affection is lacking because she can't be in two places at once when the retail market says that she should be.

Of course, we all know of those that will feel adrift because of the fact that they can't have children and by comparison we know of many 'mothers' who are loved by children that are not biologically their own. Once again, I would hope that expression of gratitude is not restricted to just one particular day.

Nevertheless, I do wonder if I haven't done myself out of a treat. I've done such a good job of relieving my children of the burden of duty that they really have taken me at my word! It's important for me to hold on to the many other days in the year that we have special times together. We share many coffee trips, motorbike trips, meals out and happy times together and so I should revel in the fact that I'm not sitting in front of a token bunch of flowers today but such is the power of peer pressure and the strong arm of the market forces that I have a tinge of insecurity and lack of courage in my convictions. I guess we're all human!