Opinion & Debate

Published on March 12th, 2015 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


Mother’s Day, Smugger’s Day

So it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday.

Or, as I like to call it in these humble-bragging, social media entrenched times in which we live, ‘Smuggering Sunday’. The day where Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are awash with expertly filtered pics captioned with stomach-turning, self-satisfied sentiments of pure twee.

“Thoroughly spoilt mummy!”
“Feeling blessed!”
“Chocs and flowers in bed from my babies! Off to lunch next!”

Oh for God’s sake, get a grip.

And no, I don’t feel this way because I am a single parent, and if I want chocolates or flowers in bed then I have to bloody well buy them myself. I hate it because a) thanks to people living their lives online (er, inc me) it’s yet another opportunity for unadulterated boasting and braggery b) it is commercial nonsense and c ) Ref, b, I don’t want my child growing up thinking he owes a debt to Hallmark and Interflora on a certain date each year.

Of course I felt a little differently when he was tiny and made tissue-paper flower cards at nursery and primary school; they were lovely to receive – but only because he had made them, was proud of his handiwork and was excited about presenting them to me. Given that I usually got them on the Friday as he burst out of his classroom waving them, they were some what lacking in Mothering Sunday significance anyway.

Now he is 12, frankly, I couldn’t care less if he acknowledges this Sunday or not. But I definitely do not want him feeling guilty about it thanks to the endless advertising and in-your-face marketing of the day.

From the local petrol station to discount stores, everywhere has a Mother’s Day spin on the most ridiculous of items. And while by default I will not be getting expensive bouquets and luxe chocs, by the same token, I also do not require wonkily iced £1.99 ‘Mum’ biscuit from the garage ‘bakery’ counter or a tea-towel with No 1 Mum printed on it from the local bucket shop.

And here’s why. The sentiment of ‘Mother’s day’ can happen for me any time of the year, and it is never about presents received, or being brought breakfast in bed or being let off cooking duties for the day.  Instead, it can be one of the rare weekends that we don’t have domestic duties, birthday parties parties or sports lessons to deal with and we can escape for a long walk and a picnic, talking about random things, laughing, and just enjoying some mum-and-son time.

Or it can be the Sunday afternoons where we grab duvets and throws and lie on the sofa watching mindless rubbish on the telly, snuggled and content with doing absolutely nothing but hanging out together.

Or, specifically, perhaps I most felt loved and valued as a mum the time my son silently brought me tea and Jaffa cakes when I could do nothing but sit and cry over yet another financial or house-based disaster that had befallen us. Or maybe it was the time when he squeezed my hand throughout my beloved aunt’s funeral, and later that evening, came into my room and hugged me, wordlessly, his eyes flooded pools, but his love for me propelling him to show he acknowledged the despair and grief I felt.

THOSE are the times that make me feel like a mum and loved and valued as one. Those, and the other simple things we enjoy, like walking the dog on sunny mornings, going to the coffee shop to talk through problems and issues. The fact that day in, day out, my son will laugh with me and at me.

So spare me your soft-focus images of golden children and doting spouses digging deep in their wallets to pay for your Special Day this weekend. Because actually, like me, you are no doubt loved all year round too, and you really don’t need tangible gifts and much online simpering to prove it.

In fact, the only time I might feel a flicker of emotion over Mother’s Day is if it falls on a Sunday and any plans I might have for an adults-only wine-fuelled lunch out will be dashed thanks to all local pubs being packed out with cash-splashing, Mother’s Day munchers. Albeit ones too busy Facebooking and Instagramming their Special Day to actually be enjoying it, of course.

About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

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