Mother’s Day is just around the corner and this year it will be different – no, not because of the pandemic, but because Emily Writes has created a gift guide for you.
This Mother’s Day will be a Mother’s Day like no other. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and if you’re a parent of kids under 18, chances are you’ll have been with them 24/7 for the last thousand years. If your child is over 18 and still at home, my condolences. If your child is over 18, not at home, and you’re complaining: why?
Before we get stuck in, a little history about Mother’s Day. It was created in 1884 by Dame Judy Mother in recognition of pinot gris and noise-cancelling headphones. Over the years it has come to be a marketing exercise where women with children are encouraged to shave their entire bodies and pluck themselves into oblivion (not in a good way). It’s important we return to the roots of Mother’s Day by focusing on what it was originally meant to achieve: a moment’s fucking peace for mothers.
For the new mum
Leave cookies by the door and a note. Tell her the baby is beautiful (because it is) and Mum is a champion (because she is). Tell her, even if you’re not sure yourself, that everything will be OK. That even in the worst of times there is joy to be found. That she has a community even if she can’t see it right now. Tell her you hope she feels it. That every time she needs someone, she knows they’re there, at the end of the phone, whatever time of day. That now is the time to cocoon and that her community will be waiting with open arms to love her and her baby and welcome them. Tell her you know this time is scary, that the future is uncertain, but one thing you know is that she is strong, that her baby is loved as much as she is loved. Tell her she’s not alone. She’s never alone. And give her a subscription to a streaming service and a snot sucker. If it’s necessary, tell her don’t worry, their heads do go back to their normal shape because not naming names but I wish someone had told me because… anyway.
For mothers who can’t work out why other mothers complain all the time when motherhood is such a GIFT and we just need to CHERISH it and BE GRATEFUL
Nothing. They’ll do their own present then claim their kids did it.
For mothers who call themselves introverts
Give them one hour where they can say how much they enjoy lockdown because they don’t have to talk to anyone even though they’ve called you at least once a day to say “what are you up to?” and followed that up with six texts that say things like, “Have you seen Tiger King? I haven’t yet.”
For mothers who call themselves extroverts
Leave a glass of wine and a cake on the doorstep. Stay for the first five minutes as they talk, then you can leave. They’ll keep talking (“as I told my therapist it just really feels like this lockdown has opened up something inside of me and…”) and they won’t notice you’re not there any more. Refill the glass of wine every 45 minutes.
For the pregnant mum who has a child or children at home
Check in. Read to her other child or children through a screen. Let her rest. Tell her that it’s going to be OK even if you don’t know if it will be. Connect with her children. Talk to them about their sibling. Help build them up so she can start to believe that it’ll all work out. Make her believe it. Tell her your stories of the joy you felt seeing your baby or babies meet your new baby. Tell the story of how you thought your heart couldn’t expand so far and how you found yourself new in the eyes of your children. Tell her that yes, your five-year-old is the fucking worst right now as well. Tell her that yes, toilet training can wait because we’re in a global pandemic and yes, Jacinda managed to toilet train Neve while being the world’s most effortlessly inspirational leader but that’s just because she’s better than us and as soon as we let that go, life will be easier.
For Instagram mothers
Easy! Sourdough starter. An F45 membership – and a tripod because you’re not really getting fit unless you’re live-streaming it. A Dyson vacuum cleaner (to use as a prop, not for actual use). A new dog that is some kind of puppy-mill breed of poodle crossed with smaller poodle that will have the worst temperament known to man but will look good in photos.
For Facebook mothers
This is a gift you can give to all of the mothers in your life who are on Facebook. Set up a cage in your backyard, roughly the size of an elevator. Depending on how much you can get from Bunnings click and collect you can add modifications like barbed wire. Place a two by four next to the entrance and one or two folding chairs. Now, in one corner put a grandmother whose children don’t speak to her any more because she said baby formula was poison. In the other corner put a mother who has five kids under five and a husband whose hobby is sitting in his car and watching porn while pretending he’s an essential worker.
If you’re looking for others to fill your title card, try the mum who isn’t anti vaxx, she’s “just asking questions” because her highest level of education is fourth form versus a GP who just had to explain that cucumber doesn’t cure Covid-19 for the 19th time today. Fill the audience with mothers who “hate drama” but are somehow fighting for front-row seats. Keep them two metres apart.
For the mother who has lost a mother
Tell her what you see: tell her you see someone whose mother would be so proud of her. Ask her about her mother. Share stories. Watch as her face lights up with these precious memories and remember with her. Love her as her mother would.
For the mother who has lost a child
Talk about her baby. Be there in whatever way you can. Ensure she’s not alone. Don’t just say it, make it true. Wrap her in love like you would swaddle a baby. Hold her in your heart on this day and every day.
For the mothers who didn’t have a mother
Tell her this day sucks. That it’s stupid. That you get it. Send clips of influencers being hit by waves as they pose on the beach, of ducks wearing hats, of Chris Evans ripping apart firewood. Raise a toast or break bread. Tell her you’re family and you’re so grateful for her. Tell her at least the pandemic put a pause on Mother’s Day catalogues that say things like, “When I became a mum I realised how much my mum did for me!”
For the mother with kids at home who is trying to work and home school
Give her a fucking break. Honestly, it’s so hard. Tell her that all those mums making sourdough are probably constipated now. Tell her that it’s OK to hate her kids sometimes, that it’s normal. Tell her that her kids won’t fall behind and if they do it’s OK because these days even someone like Simon Bridges can get a stable job and earn a shit tonne. Tell her that when this is over you’re going to dance all night. Together, you’re going to scream with joy and freedom into a bright and blessed future, rather than the void because it’s already full.
For the thirsty mother
Something that vibrates (but is not something you use in the kitchen), an hour-long clip from Normal People that cuts out all the pointless dialogue and is just the rooting, that novel that keeps popping up on Facebook, The Woman Who Got Double Banged by A Guy Who Looks Like Jason Momoa And A Guy Who Looks Like Chris Hemsworth In A Cave or something. I think it’s by Nalini Singh?
For mothers with kids over 18 who don’t live at home
Nothing. Their gift is that they have no children with them.
For all mothers
Love. Because at this time that’s the thing we all need most. No matter who or where we are.
Oh, and an extension of paid parental leave, an overhaul of the midwifery system so that all midwives in New Zealand are paid properly for their work and post-natal wards are fully staffed with midwives who have been able to properly rest between shifts, proper funding for mental health care and support for mothers of children of all ages, properly funded Early Childhood Education with 100% qualified teachers, smaller class sizes and teacher/child ratios, affordable housing, a rent strike and a promise that all families will have homes that are dry and warm and safe, proper funding for Rape Crisis and Women’s Refuge, better, wraparound support for families with children with high health needs, including properly resourced and funded early intervention for children, and a living wage or universal benefit for all.
Truly, happy Mother’s Day. To all the mothers and would-be mothers and hope-to-be mothers. To all the mothers who have ever hoped to be arrested just because a night in the cell would be easier than putting your kids to bed or if you’ve looked at a shipping container and thought “I could live there” – I see you and you’re not alone. I hope you can rest today, surrounded by all you hold dear, whether that’s face-to-face or by screen. I salute you.
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