It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday. This Sunday. So if you’re a mum, it’s meant to be your day. Meant to be. Your day. But does it ever actually turn out that way?
Are you also a daughter and daughter-in-law, who is responsible for celebrating other mums in your life as well as being celebrated yourself? Does your Mother’s Day turn into a juggle of when it’s “your turn”? Do you work Mother’s Day, so it’s really just a day like any other?
Mother’s Day can be fraught with stress, and sometimes disappointment, if the day is just not what it’s cracked up to be. I don’t mean that we expect grand gestures and expensive presents, but is it too much to ask that the breakfast in bed doesn’t result in Mum having to deep scour the scrambled eggs off the “non-stick” pan?
While preparing for our big Mudder’s Day event this Sunday (yes, the Nature Play WA mums are working on Mother’s Day), we noted that many of the attendees will be coming to a Nature Play WA event for the very first time. So we crafted an explanation about what makes our events unique, and what to expect:
“If you’ve not been to one of our events before, they’re unlike any other. There are no timed activities where you're given a "five minute go" before you have to leave the space. There are not always obvious beginnings and ends to activities, more an opportunity to take part in as much or as little as you like. Our staff and volunteers are on hand to support you and to answer any questions you may have, but we don't have instruction sheets or how-to cards on the "right" way to do things. A Nature Play WA event is an opportunity for you to explore new experiences with your family, in a way and at a pace you are comfortable.”
And while writing this, it made me think about how we could apply the same description to a typical Mother’s Day. There’s no right or wrong way to do Mother’s Day, but there are plenty of idealised notions that tell us there is. And if we measure our Mother’s Day by the images of perfection we see on TV, in magazines and on social media, we’re pretty much sure to be left wanting.
At our Mudder’s Day event this Sunday attendees are going to get muddy, the kids and the parents. They’ll get wet and dirty, and there might be a few bumps and bruises along the way. And that’s OK. It won’t be perfect. There may be tears, there may be disappointments, and that’s OK too. Our events are about trying new things, moving outside of our comfort zone, learning new skills, testing out limits and discovering new abilities. They’re about letting go of the expected, and embracing the unknown. They’re not about being perfect.
So I’d like to extend that idea to Mother’s Day too. Mother’s Day is not about being perfect. It’s about surviving the first year (and beyond) of motherhood. It’s about being the best mum we can, but not haranguing ourselves when we fall short of our lofty aims. It’s about celebrating the unexpected, the challenges and the mess.
So I extend the following wish to all the mothers (and mother figures) out there, with all my heart: have a less-than-perfect Mother’s Day.
Katherine Healy is Nature Play WA's Communications Manager. She is the proud parent to three gorgeous nature players - who just keep growing bigger every day!