Every year, with the beauty of spring blossom and sunnier days, comes the familiar dread of Mother’s Day. Endless commercialised treat-your-mum advertisements, a continuous flow of press releases in my inbox, the social-media takeover of dedications to the hundreds of Best Mums In The World. Each is a fresh stab to my heart.
My relationship with my mother has been difficult, and as a result so is my feeling towards this national celebration of mothers. My mum and I were never close. We never saw eye to eye, and it’s something I grew up fighting to fix. The battle for a healthy relationship was very much one-sided, and at 16 I moved out of home. After an on-off struggle of trying to keep in touch, I realised that the volatile and upsetting nature of our conversations was never worth the few upsides. Around four years ago, I came to the conclusion that perhaps we were not destined to be in each other’s lives, and I haven’t heard from her since.
On most other days of the year – apart from Christmas, when I inevitably shed a tear – I am OK. I am happier without the fear of what she may say next hanging over my head. I am grateful that she is healthy and looking after my two brothers. I know in my heart that I would not be where I am today had we still been in contact. I find strength in the parts of me she saw as weaknesses. But Mother’s Day… Mother’s Day I just cannot crack. It continues to bring out a longing in me, an instinct to run to a mum and thank her for all she has done for me. A need to join the flood of social-media tributes by sharing cute pictures of younger, giggling versions of us.
I would love to say that I have a coping mechanism down for this time of year, but in truth it just depends on the mood I wake up in. Some days my sass comes out and I abuse Mother’s Day sales to treat myself. Other days I fight back tears at talk of mother-daughter activities
This year, I have a plan to actively use Mother’s Day to celebrate myself and all I have achieved, despite that missing pillar of support in my life. Whether on my own or with loved ones, I will make sure to take a moment to be grateful for all of the opportunities I have been given, and honestly congratulate myself for remaining strong in those first few years. I will pamper myself – a bubble bath, some candles, a glass of wine, a face mask and a classic rom-com. Celebrating Mother’s Day, for me, is about marking that relationship in any light, mine just happens to cast shadows in a different direction.
I thank those who have held me up when I desperately needed it, and pushed me forward. Amy, Danielle, Sharon, Keeley, Hannah – these women actively fill the void that my mum left, and I am wholeheartedly grateful every single day. I am honoured to have these women in my life, on this day more than ever.
As for my mother, I hope she is waking up to the smell of fresh bacon and a glass of orange juice. I hope someone’s booked a spa day for her, and I hope the boys have bought her flowers and written heartfelt cards. I hope she does nothing except watch Tom Cruise films all evening and that someone’s cooked up a classic Sunday roast – even though it could never beat her own. I hope she doesn’t have to lift a finger. And I hope she thinks of me and smiles at the good memories, like I do about her.