In reality, Mother's Day is far from picture perfect

Kinderling News & Features

Author Jaq Muller describes “A Mother of Day” – aka. Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is one of my favourite days of the year because, to be honest, it is all about me and my gorgeous mum. It is the one day I feel I can make demands and get away with it.

By demands, I really mean an idiot-proof Five Step Program:

1.       Sleep in till at least 9am.

2.       Receive the family, the dog and presents with breakfast in bed in a very Princess Margaret-like manner, (the Vanessa Kirby Princess Margaret in The Crown, she seems a hoot). Breakfast should consist of a smoothie, double espresso and gluten free wholegrain toast with smashed avo (what else?).

3.       Be left to read in bed till 10am.

4.       Go out for lunch.

5.       Do not do any dishes or clean up the kitchen for the entire day.

I am not reaching for the stars on any of this I would have thought. 

Breakfast expectation vs. reality

It has become a very happy and much anticipated day with little touches added over the years, like a well-set breakfast tray thanks to the creative obsessions of the QE2 (the 12-year-old of the same name and personality size to match). I did have to tell her to rethink the ice sculpture a few years back as it was leaving an awful soddy mess in my smashed avo.

So how close does reality fit my well thought out and simple Five Step Program?

It starts with The Gent making a not-so quiet exit from the bedroom, yawning loudly and stretching with all the 40 something groans that go with that; throwing back the covers, and slopping around in his slippers to the kitchen where he proceeds to bang pots and pans, (perplexing considering the simple menu of toast and avo). I think it is his way of saying, ‘Here I go doing the Mother’s Day palaver’. The nutri-bullet of course, sounds like a NASA space shuttle launch (can't be avoided). The Gent and The QE2 argue over the placement of the lone flower on the breakfast tray, all while Joan Rivers (the 17-year-old doing Year 12) complains that this whole catastrophe is taking way too long. By the time the four of them (we must include Millicent Olivia Sophia Louise, the crappiest cavoodle in the world) come into the bedroom to ‘wake me up’ at 9am, they seem blithely unaware that I have been subjected to the preceding ruckus, and have in actual fact, been sodding-well awake since 8.15am!

The unwrapping

With everyone strategically strewn on the bed, including the dog who is sitting to attention waiting for a cast off of smashed avo, we are down to the cards and presents.

The QE2 of course delights with an interpretive dance piece along with a homemade decoupage card and mandatory Mother’s Day stall gift, which comes with the story about how she almost took out some other kid’s eye in order to secure this year's coveted scented candle, so I'd better bloody well like it. While this is going on, Joan Rivers rolls her eyes, and in her best Steamshovel impression from Mr Squiggle, begs The QE2 to ‘Hurry up’.

The dog in the meantime, stands up on the bed to get more comfortable, spins around three times only to sit her ass on the corner of the breakfast tray, almost sending my berry smoothie with activated charcoal, smashed avo and espresso tits up all over the bed, threatening to restart The QE2’s performance on account of the disturbance.

Darkest fears put to rest, The QE2 finally concludes her part of the proceedings and unwillingly hands it over to Joan Rivers who passes me a gift, (actually wrapped) and card with the hauntingly sentimental words,

‘To Mum. Love Joan Rivers.” (she uses her real name of course).

After we sit and reflect on that catharsis we move quickly on to The Gent who has now broken out into a cold sweat. You see, he suffers from a form of PTSD when it comes to Mother’s Day thanks to an incident 15 years ago.

Flashback alert!

To set the mood for you, Guy Sebastian's ‘Angels Brought Me Here was in the ARIA Top 10 in 2003. It pretty much slides downhill from there.

You’ve heard of men who use their children and pets to get attention or sympathy in parks or in supermarkets? They think if people see them connect with infants and animals that they are deserving of your pity for any of their shortcomings or moments of complete idiocy. This is the tale of a man who used his two-year-old as a human shield when he realised he had stuffed up in a major way on Mother’s Day.

I should have known we were in for a bumpy ride when The Gent returned with Junior Joan Rivers (she was only two but still a hard nut to crack) from a now well-worn path of panic buying at Chadstone the day before Mother’s Day.  The commotion coming through the front door seemed excessive for a man, a toddler and what should have been a small package from a jewellery store.

Instead I heard the clanging of boxes being hastily shoved into wardrobes. When I inquired with Junior Joan Rivers as to how shopping went with Daddy, she promptly responded with ‘Juice.’ I automatically assumed The Gent had given Junior Joan Rivers a treat while deciding what pretty trinket to buy me. However, their rumpus on arriving home still left me feeling uneasy.

Listen to Kinderling Conversation:

I had been dropping extremely subtle hints for weeks about wanting something delicate and personal for Mother’s Day. My version of subtle is akin to that of a brass band after a few shots but I am sure you are not shocked to hear that. It should have done the trick, but when I mentioned it again watching TV the night before MD, I could see the electrodes finally kick in with The Gent. His eyes said it all, 'Oh F$%#'. (Sorry for the extra naughty sweary but I couldn't find the PG13 equivalent). 

Fast forward to Mother’s Day morning, minus the Dog, The QE2 and the floorshow (they were yet to grace the world with their arrival), I am presented with a beautifully wrapped gift by Junior Joan Rivers who is being pushed nervously from behind by The Gent. It was the size of Mt Vesuvius and had the weight of a wheelie bin after Mardi Gras and no doubt filled with something equally as disturbing. For the sake of the children, those born and not, I tried not to show my concern. This gift had all the hallmarks of a day about to go to the dark side, not a thoughtful, loving, delicate memento to signify the beauty of motherhood.

Instead I unwrapped an....electric juicer?

What bollocks was this? 

I looked at Junior Joan Rivers and she once again said, 'Juice'.

Ah. It all makes sense. When arriving home the day before, Junior Joan Rivers wasn't actually telling me she and daddy, 'Had a lovely bonding afternoon buying you a well thought out piece of jewellery that we celebrated with a juice and coffee date'. No, what she was saying was, 'Dad had a complete brain fart and went straight to the appliance section of DJs, despite my suggestion of a George Jensen bracelet and now we have this monstrosity that will collect dust and get used four times a year.'

My face said it all.

In response The Gent then sees a hole. He picks up a shovel.  He jumps in. He starts digging.

The Gent: 'I thought it would be good for the house when it is renovated. And you can make us healthy drinks. Since you are so healthy and all.'

It would be unpleasant to share the exact conversation from that point on, but I am sure you can conjure up something that wouldn't stray too far off the mark and I have used up my sweary allowance for this article.

No more practical presents

That was surprisingly the last time I received a gift with that came with a power cord, from The Gent. I am pleased to report that Mother's Days have since manifested into happy gift giving occasions even with the not-so perfect implementation of my Five Step Program. There is, however still that 2.5 seconds where The Gent sweats bullets until the umpire gives it the 'all clear'. 

I am sure that I am not the only one who has been conflicted by parental responsibility and the desire to go bananas at their 'other half' on receipt of a less than optimal gift.

In the meantime, here's to all the mums. We love them all, we wouldn't be who we are without them (in my case a whisky drinker amongst other things), and we never give ourselves enough credit for the mum's we are, so let's give it to each other. 

Republished with permission from jaqmuller.com.