I don’t know about you, but I reckon Mother’s Day is a bit like Christmas: over-hyped, over-priced, and likely to end in tears. It may well have its antecedents in ancient Roman and Greek festivals, or indeed the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration, but in 21st century Australia, it can sometimes feel like Hallmark hogwash. Yet for some reason, I’ve fallen for it – hook, line and sinker.
Every year for the past five years since becoming a mother, I’ve bought shares in the Mother’s Day fantasy. The idea that somehow I’ll be pampered all day, applauded, paraded and then pummeled (in a good way, by a strapping Scandinavian masseuse), before being fed a gourmet TV dinner and put to bed. In toasty warm pyjamas. It’s never happened, but I live in hope.
Today is the Mother’s Day equivalent of Boxing Day; it’s 24 hours after the fact, and I’ve got a bit of distance from the experience of my Mother’s Day 2012. Which, in reality, featured me:
- Brawling with my children over ‘my’ croissants. (‘But they’re MINE and this is MY day. Now back off.’ Very, very adult.)
- Standing in my blustery backyard in my pyjamas – wind chill factor zero, teeth chattering and lips chapped – role-playing ‘cats and dogs’ with my eldest. (‘Miaow,’ he said, waving an imaginary claw and pulling my pyjama bottoms down just that little bit too low. ‘Hello Jan!’ I called to the neighbour.)
- Cleaning vomit in a stairwell at a local RSL club. Say no more. Five vomits and three loads of washing later, I was ready for Sven to emerge with his massage table. Instead, I got some help unstacking the dishwasher. Close, but no cigar.
None of this should surprise me. Like so many other aspects of motherhood – and, let’s face it, life generally – reality makes a mockery of fantasy. But while I’m prepared to accept that 364 other days of the year, I just can’t seem to let go on Mother’s Day. Every second Sunday in May, I await the glorious moment when I start to channel Miranda Kerr – I’m yummy, I’m mummy, and I’m so darn nice about my perfect life.
So this time next year, I’ll still be dreaming of fluffy white bathrobes, beaming children and long, lazy sleep-ins. Champagne in crystal flutes, pain-au-chocolat served by a charming French boulanger, and a leisurely walk sans whinge factor.
Call me Pollyanna, but I’m stoking the fire of my Mother’s Day fantasy. It’s improbable, but not impossible. Let’s see what 2013 brings. (And in the meantime, I’d love to hear your mother’s day fantasies and realities… )