No, there is nothing cute or funny about mums spending Mother’s Day doing the housework, writes Angela Cuming.
Between Damien Grant and Mark Richardson, you’d think there be little left for the mainstream media to do that belittles and demeans women and mothers but never underestimate the power of a click-hungry news editor, especially in the wash up of Mother’s Day.
In case you’ve missed the pink-edged cards and sappy television commercials, this Sunday marks Mother’s Day. But, more importantly, the next day is Monday – time for all those shitty listicles that highlight the hilarious (and by hilarious I don’t mean hilarious like that time when Mark Richardson copped a cricket ball in his groin) #motherdaysfail reckons.
You know the ones. The type of thing Buzzfeed loves. The listicles take a whole bunch of posts – usually made by women – that show what a crappy Mother’s Day they had, because they still had to do the washing up from their breakfast in bed, or the shit presents they were given, that sort of thing…
I’ve actually seen a headline trumpeting the ‘’19 Moms Who Are Doomed To Have a Crappy Mother’s Day’’.
It’s too funny, hey? Oh look, here’s mother-of-three Nicole and she had to do five loads of laundry on Mother’s Day while her husband played golf with his work buddies. What an epic #mothersdayfail.
Or here’s Jessica who works 50-hour weeks and has three kids and her husband forgot to get her anything so just grabbed an old birthday card and used a pen to turn it into a Mother’s Day card. How sweet.
Here’s the thing. I hand on heart fail to see anything funny or cutesy about a cold hard reminder that it is 2018 and women – mothers – are still expected to do the bulk of housework. Why the hell should it be expected that we get only one day “off work” a year when someone else does the household chores like laundry and washing dishes?
Who decided that?
The only “fail” I can see here is an entire system and society that is so messed up that everyone makes the automatic assumption that women have certain roles and tasks to perform in the home and that one day a year the Men Folk may give her a break and chuck a load of towels in the washing machine but if they don’t how, hilarious, and look we can even make a funny story out of it.
And while we are here there’s nothing cute and funny about a grown-ass man messing up the giving of a Mother’s Day present, either. I am not talking about so-ugly-it’s-beautiful handcrafts from the kids, the types of thing made with genuine love that mums stick on the fridge with pride. Those gifts are wonderful (and let’s be honest almost always down to kind and thoughtful ECE teachers who actually ‘get’ Mother’s Day).
No I am talking about husbands and partners giving unbelievably thoughtless and inappropriate gifts and then having that added to the flippant list of so-called “fails”.
You want to know what to get your mother or mother of your children for a present (if that’s what you do in your family)? Ask her. She’s an actual, grown person with thoughts and feelings and tastes and preferences and likes.
Same goes for cards. I’ve seen examples where men (because of course) have given their mums a card meant for a wedding or first communion or similar and crossed out and added words with a pen to make a ‘Mother’s Day card’. How bloody hilarious that you couldn’t drag yourself down to the Countdown and grab something from the stationery aisle, mate.
Maybe I am being oversensitive. But maybe not. Maybe I – and I bet countless other women – are sick to death of watching glaring proof of the unequal division of household labour being turned into click-fodder for news sites. Maybe we deserve more than being expected to ignore thoughtless behaviour towards us, to laugh it off and even stick a cute hashtag on it so we don’t make others feel even slightly guilty about how we are treated.
It’s bad enough we live in a society where department stores flog slow cookers and toasters as suggested Mother’s Day presents. Now we have to cop having the piss taken out of how rubbish women are treated on Mother’s Day and have that turned into viral memes too.
So I am calling time on the #mothersdayfail movement. Stop glorifying and making light of the fact that women still do the bulk of housework and child rearing and stop treating thoughtless gifts given by one adult to another as something to be proud of.
And give us stuff we actually need and like. A sleep-in, a shower with no kids in the bathroom, equal pay for equal work, a world without Mark Richardson, Rants in the Dark by Emily Writes.
But if worst comes to worst and you genuinely don’t know what to get someone for Mother’s Day, don’t panic, because mums and women the world over were already given the world’s greatest gift this week courtesy of Dwayne The Rock Johnson responding to this DJ Khaled story.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.