In the lead-up to Mother’s Day this Sunday, I’ve noticed all the advertising and displays and books around mums.
Glossy catalogues tell me if I’m a foodie, I might want a particular kitchen gadget or if I’m a sporty mum, I would look great in this style of active wear. Most of the books and cards seem to have a touch of pink about them.
I’ve flicked through a few articles featuring models or social influencers or mothers who have achieved great business success wearing designer clothes while holding their babies or children. These women all adore being mothers. There’s a lot of love being shown. I’m just wondering why the media portrays motherhood as so glamorous when the reality often isn’t.
And I’m wondering where the stories are of mothers with children with a disability, who don’t sleep very much and worry constantly about their children’s futures? What about the stories of mothers who have sacrificed their career for a flexible job so they can be around for their families? What about the stories of mothers who are raising their children when they lost their own mother at a young age? What about the stories of women who don’t have biological children but have an important nurturing role to the children in their lives? What about the stories of mothers who have lost children?
As I’ve spoken with many mothers this week, they’re not talking about pink cards or new recipe books or a particular gadget.
One friend told me this was the first mother’s day her mother would experience without her husband, who died last year. Another friend told me she had too many of her kids’ sporting events to cover on Sunday so she’d be lucky to find five minutes to have a cup of tea. Another friend mentioned she was worried about her son, who was going through a particular stage.
Zanni Louise has a gorgeous new picture book out called Mum for sale. Errol the penguin is tired of his mother talking on her phone and wants some attention. It did make me wonder how my kids would advertise me. I’m sure it would be more – ‘she makes a delicious melting chocolate fondant cake’ and ‘she always know exactly the right words to say when I’m worried’ rather than – ‘she yells when we’re running late’ or ‘she just doesn’t understand!’
And it did make me wonder – imagine if the advertisements and media stories for Mother’s Day were as diverse and unglamorous and tough and loving and beautiful and sincere and authentic and daggy and gentle and tough and committed and vulnerable and wonderstruck as every single mother is. What a story and sale that would be …