In the last couple of weeks email boxes everywhere have been inundated with ideas for the perfect present for Mothers’ Day (which is celebrated this year on Sunday March 6 in Britain, in case you’ve been living in a cave).
Fitness equipment, (in her favourite colour – pink’), chocolates, jumpers, flowers, more chocolates, dresses, wine samplers (why not a full bottle?) bakeware, more chocolates…You get the picture, don’t you?
Weirdest of all was the restaurant promoting a special Mothers’ Day lunch with the words, ‘A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie and five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.’ Doesn’t really say much for their portion control, does it? I’d prefer to think that a mother is a person who, with a sharp knife and a rudimentary grasp of mathematics, can divide four pieces of pie between five people so everyone is happy.
I’ve written in the past about a pernicious Why I Love My Mum email that was doing the rounds, and the Asda Christmas TV advert (subsequently dropped after howls of protests that it portrayed mothers as smiling slaves and martyrs).
Perhaps every year you are delighted by a champagne breakfast in bed or a handmade card, or a bunch of wonky daffs nicked from the local park. If that’s the case then you can count your blessings that your family know how to make you happy.
On the other hand if there is a part of you that usually spends the day smiling through gritted teeth then it’s time to check that you don’t have a creeping case of passive aggression.
How will you know?
If you reject all offers of help with ‘No thank you – I can manage – you just enjoy yourself,’ while the rest of your family sprawl on the sofa watching Frozen, there’s a good chance that you enjoy being a martyr and making other people feel guilty.
And of all the ways to be a parent, passive–aggression is probably one of the most damaging.
This Mother’s Day I suggest that every mother in the land sends her own email telling her family exactly how she would like to celebrate her special day. These are the people who love you most after all – isn’t it only fair to tell them how to make you happy? One of the nastiest little tricks that couples play on each other is, ‘If you really loved me, you’d know what I want.’ And the same applies in families.
Whatever it is that will make you really happy (within the bounds of reason and available finance of course) let your family know. A lie-in? A bracing walk? An argument–free day? Just name it. (It doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it, but it sure has heck improves your chances.)
If not, you have no right to feel miffed if you end up with a pair of pink boxing gloves and your own weight in chocolate (unless that’s what you really want, of course).