While it’s easy to reach for flowers, champagne and gift…
On Mother’s Day each year we celebrate the wonder of motherhood, take time to thank our Mums for being awesome and shower them with gifts from the heart and the hip pocket.
We certainly don’t do it enough. So thank you Mother’s Day for holding us accountable!
The other 364 days a year sons and daughters are, for the most part, a pretty selfish lot. I mean, it took me over 20 years to even realise my Mum was a person. You know, with vulnerabilities, imperfections and … wait for it … needs and desires! Absolute madness! The nerve!
Of course it sounds naïve and egotistical in retrospect, but I honestly had no idea. Mums are sneaky like that. They give, give, give and rarely – if ever – take. Until they do and you’re like ‘Who are you? And what have you done with my mother?’
When you discover your Mum is a person with an identity beyond that of ‘mother’, it turns your world completely upside down. Your life changes forever – all for the better I might add. It catches you off guard though, I’ve got to say.
The first time I discovered my Mum was a person was about six months after I’d moved out of home for the first time. Our relationship had moved from face-to-face chats to phone chats. We didn’t live in each other’s pockets, but we’d talk every 3-4 days. Well, I’d talk and she’d listen and respond to all the different interesting and important things I had to say.
I’m not even one of those people who does that! I don’t dominate conversations. I don’t talk the ear off my friends without asking them how they are. I don’t move from topic to topic without thought to the other person’s level of interest. In all irony, I wasn’t brought up like that!
But when talking to my mother I was absolutely that person. Because she was my mother! That was one certainty in my life. She was my mother and she was there when I needed her.
Until she wasn’t.
I can’t remember why she didn’t pick up the phone. But I rang and she didn’t ring back. For two whole days! What kind of mother does that? I rang her again to find out and discovered the most incredible thing …
… I discovered she had a life. Without me in it.
And to find out about it, I had to ask why she hadn’t called, where she was and what on earth could be more important than calling me back?
I honestly can’t remember where she was or what she was doing, but I do remember having the most wonderful conversation we’d ever had. I discovered how fascinating her life was, how passionate she was and how wonderful it was to hear her talk about my Dad in the same way I was talking about my then partner.
That was the day my Mum became more than a Mum. She became a woman. And I become a much better daughter.
Ever since then I have always made sure to consciously ask my Mum – both my parents – how they are. Not the throw away ‘How are you?’ but the one where you dig and dig and dig to find out as much as you can.
What have you been up to?
Have you been out walking with your friends?
What did the doctor say about … ?
Any travel plans?
Today, I love asking my Mum questions. Unlike with friends, it requires conscious effort. Sometimes I slip into my old ways (because selfless Mums make it so easy) and I have to catch myself.
One of my favourite things to do is to have a coffee with my Mum. Woman to woman, we can chew the fat for hours and hours.
A warning to new Mums, there is absolutely no way to rush this. Telling your 5-year-old son that you’re a woman with feelings and he really ought to ask how your day is going is not going to fast-track this process. In fact, telling your 18-year-old son may not achieve much either. Although, that’s probably a good time to start trying!
Do your kids realise you’re more than just a Mum? When did you first discover your own Mum was also a person?
Celebrate Mum the woman this Mother’s Day by giving her a thoughtful collage print featuring photos with the kids (that’s a given!), of her passions, with her friends, having fun and just being her, the woman. Make one now.