As a parent and a father, I don’t really know how to celebrate Mothers Day. It was easier when I was in school and mum would give us a few dollars to buy something ‘she could use’ from the Mothers Day markets. Seeing as I have no business hanging around schools yet and my mum doesn’t expect a gift anymore (since she stopped giving me money), Mothers Day has been relegated to a phone call or a visit. Of course I appreciate my mother, but while I lived at home, we just never really celebrated Mothers (or Fathers) Day. Now that I have started a young family of my own, I’ve started to really struggle with the concept of Mothers Day and what it should mean to my own family.
It’s really easy to look at Mothers Day as a commercialised ‘card’ holiday, but as a celebration, I can really understand the value. Mothers play an important role in the raising of children, children that will eventually grow up and the cycle continues. Historically, Mothers Day in Australia started as a way to remember mothers and their contributions to society after their jobs were done (according to Wikipedia), after the children leave home and have families of their own. It makes a lot more sense to me to dedicate a day to remembering Mothers who aren’t chasing toddlers.
You know my problem? I can’t really appreciate Mothers Day yet. My own mother is still mothering my siblings (and we visit every 2nd weekend or so) and my son is still running riot at knee height. Mothers Day is a great holiday for bringing children home for a day, but it’s harder to appreciate when the kids are still at home.
I suppose like every holiday or celebration, the meaning changes once you have children of your own, and keeps changing as they get older. Mothers don’t need cheap gifts from school markets, Mothers Day as a kid isn’t particularly exciting for either the parents or the child.
I should probably clarify that even though I don’t particularly want to celebrate a traditional Mothers Day, as a father and husband, I believe it’s my duty to support my wife in any way possible. For a lot of young families in our position, that might mean a day off with breakfast in bed. Mothers Day shouldn’t just be a ‘day off’. I strive to not only be a provider for my family, but a good husband and father. To me, that includes getting home from work and being prepared to cook, clean, do dishes, laundry, feed and bath our son and get him ready for bed. If my wife ever needs a night off (or a whole day on the weekend), all she has to do is ask.
Ultimately, that means I can appreciate the task of running a household and the hard work, effort and dedication it takes.
How does all that tie into Mothers Day? It doesn’t really, I just hope my appreciation and admiration is expressed everyday, not by a grand gesture, but by being a supportive, hands-on husband and father. Mothers Day will come and go but I will continue as I do everyday appreciating the work my wife does and spending time with my family.
Undoubtedly, as my son grows up Mothers Day will take on a new meaning for everybody. It had different meanings for me growing up. It went from buying gifts at a Mothers Day market to being a teenager and just being there to enjoy the day with my mother.
I hope that every mother gets to enjoy her mothers day in whatever way is right for her family, there’s no manuals or long-running traditions associated with Mothers Day. Do what feels right.
I’m Chris, a new dad with fire in my eyes and a floor covered in hard plastic toys and things with wheels. I run a small online baby store with my wife (oohseebee.com.au) and work full time creating content for a software company. Times have changed since I blew my first demons apart in DOOM as a kid, and as I raise my son in a world of political correctness, anti-violence and understanding, it’s more important than ever to be aware of the expectations in schools and society. Parenting is a team effort and even though there are many different types of teams, without my wife I couldn’t imagine fatherhood. Find all of Chris’ articles here.