When I thought about writing a column for Mother’s Day I didn’t want it to be cliche. While it’s lovely to set aside a day to dedicate our attention to those who mother I’m turned off by the commercial aspect of the celebration. The signs and posters go up in March and totally bombard the public with guilt and consumer envy that, in my opinion, doesn’t necessarily support the spirit of the day.
But, I guess that’s really not a new thing, is it?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t acknowledge or thank all those who care for and raise children, I’d just like it to be more every day and based in reality—not red roses, diamonds, and caviar.
For me, it’s about spending time building memories. Ask the young people in your life what their favourite memories are…that is a true gift.
For me growing up, my mom was the heart and foundation of the home. She stood about five feet tall and I always remember the day I passed her in height—it was a milestone reached. She was always such a good sport standing back-to-back with any kid who wanted to try and measure up. Everyone got taller but she remained the core strength of the family.
We lived in a tiny three bedroom/one bath house that my Dad built—there were ten of us there until my oldest sister married…I wore my brothers’ hand-me-downs, was always last in line for the bathroom and thought everyone’s mom took care of all the kids in the neighbourhood. Also, I didn’t realize we were poor until years later.
Mom made bread from scratch every two or three days. She’d always make us a ‘baby loaf’ to rip apart and eat while it was warm. I can still smell the sweet yeasty aroma that would float outside to call us all home. It was like a warm hug that brought kids running from two streets over to share in the breaking of bread—literally—and you had to be quick to get the crusty ends…it makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
While she was a master bread maker, she couldn’t cut a loaf to save your life. As a kid, I remember sandwiches that were paper thin on one end and two inches thick on the other—sometimes filled with ketchup or brown sugar because there was nothing else. I didn’t know any different.
I grew up knowing I was safe, loved, and cared for. It wasn’t a fairytale by any stretch of the imagination. There were some good screaming matches with my mom over the years—especially when I was a teen. One I remember vividly.
“When you’re old, you’re not coming to live with me,” I screamed.
“When I’m old, you’re the last person I’d want to live with,” she said.
We laughed about it later and it became a private joke.
“Hey mom, do you want to come live with me next year?” I’d ask.
“Nope, I’m busy that day,” she’d say with a wink and we’d both chuckle at the memory.
Celebrate Mother’s Day how you want and don’t let it be dictated to you. It doesn’t need to cost money and shouldn’t be stressful. I’ve told my family that I want each day to be Mother’s Day and not to buy me anything.
All my best to every nurturing caregiver out there who makes a difference in a child’s life. Whether male, female, non-binary, trans—whatever—making a positive impact on a child’s life is what the celebration is all about.