Column: Not everybody gets to celebrate Mother's day

The bittersweet inequality of Mother's day
The bittersweet inequality of Mother's day

Every year, this day come comes around, a dose of national emotional blackmail on a vomit-inducing scale.

Wall-to-wall advertising and sickly sweet marketing make sure that mothers are celebrated, whether they like it or not, with wilting bunches of flowers, calorific treats and cards purchased by husbands for wives on behalf of their children and by guilt-ridden grown-up kids for their ageing matriarchs.

Mother's Day

Mother's Day

But like Valentines Day for the single, Mothering Sunday is bittersweet for the motherless, for the childless and for those who have loved and lost.

I count myself in the above and personally hold no truck with this particular excuse for mass spending and profit-making, genuinely passing by the aisles of over-priced gifts and cards with relief.

I’m pretty sure my late mother won’t mind, or the children I was never able to have, that I’m not contributing to the £1.4 billion* profit made by UK retailers.

But I wasn’t always this resilient. These things can hurt.

Mother's Day

Mother's Day

By celebrating mothers on this day - which actually started the the UK as a day to celebrate the ‘mother church’ during Lent rather than literal maternity - it is reminder to those who are not, have not or, tragically, have lost.

It seems ironic in a week we have also celebrated International Women’s Day and a century on since we got some semblance of a vote, we also have a day that in its mass consumerism quietly undermines women who have not upheld the conventional milestones expected by society.

Of course, I have every respect for mothers.

I loved my own and was inspired by her mighty cancer battle, but much more so how she managed that while bringing up three children and graduating - twice. She was heroic and taken far too young.

I am awe-inspired by my sister, my sister-in-law, my friends as they juggle families, careers, sleepless nights and projectile vomiting. I love their children as my own.

But the advent of a day to celebrate this is tough, it reminds me of the world I am not privy to, the conversations and online communities I am not qualified to join, the blank look which passes over the faces of mothers when I say I have none of my own.

It reminds me of the little hands that don’t wake me up at 5am, of the costumes I’m not required to make for World Book Day, the lack of over-excitement of Christmas Eve - of the events in my life I cannot share with my mum.

There is no jealousy or resentment, I’ve made my peace with my life.

But I do not need reminding in every aisle of the shop, via every TV ad, by targeted social media marketing that misses its target by miles.

I - we - may be accepting but us legions of women that do not qualify for this day are still human.

So, celebrate mothers.

Celebrate these super-human, amazing women times 1.4 billion.

But celebrate them every single day, not with a cheap card once a year.