Have a great day and be kind to yourself

Mums with adult children generally want nothing more than to see their kids on Mother’s Day.

Mums with adult children generally want nothing more than to see their kids on Mother’s Day.

COLUMN

When I asked around for ideas about what to write for a Mother’s Day column I got the following.

“You could make it a piece about contraception,” suggested one exhausted mum, half in jest.

“What about having to smile through a crappy breakfast full of egg-shells?” someone else offered.

Another mum shared her story of dutifully drinking her “cup of tea” in bed one Mother’s Day, which was actually water in the pretend tea set.

That was fine, she said, until it dawned on her minutes later the only water her toddler would have been able to access was from the toilet. True story.

What mothers want for Mother’s Day typically changes with the age of the children.

I know many mums with multiple children under 10 who would love a sleep in, and for someone else to look after the kids for the day and do the dishes.

Mums with teenagers would like a happy child, and then there are those for whom a steam cleaner would always be the most exciting present ever.

Mums with adult children generally want nothing more than to see their kids on Mother’s Day.

A colleague whose adult daughters live overseas says she gets out all the old Mother’s Day cards they have sent her over the years and sheds a tear or two. She particularly treasures the ones they made for her when they were at preschool and primary school.

They are brightly embellished with big hearts and kisses. She stands them on the mantlepiece alongside the cards from London and Sydney that arrived the other day.

Personally, I would like pancakes and a tantrum-free day. I will make the pancakes, so that is guaranteed, the tantrums, not so much.

Motherhood also has a very wide definition, if you ask me. I have a friend who had a very rough week with her sick and much-loved dog.

Up five times overnight

She was up five times during the night and the dog urinated on her bed. If that’s not motherhood, then I don’t know what is.

The rise of the blended family can also bring a new woman into a child’s life, someone who loves and cares for them but did not give birth to them.

There are homes with two mums, homes with no mums, homes with single mums, mothers who have adopted and mothers who foster.

Not many families fit into a conventional mould any more and even our Government has recognised that.

This is the first Mother’s Day in New Zealand since an extended time of paid parental leave was introduced on April 1.

New mothers now get 18 weeks of paid parental leave (up from 14 weeks) and those payments can be transferred to their spouse or partner.

Payments have also extended to include “non-standard workers” — those who are on casual contracts, do seasonal work or have more than one employer.

So that is a real thumbs-up from the Government that motherhood is something to be valued.

Plus, there is a large amount of public support for the Labour Party’s proposal to increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks over the next couple of years.

But I am always mindful that for many people, Mother’s Day can carry mixed emotions, whether they have lost their mum, never knew their mum or didn’t become one like they had hoped.

Australian mum Sally Faulkner will also be on my mind. She’s the mum who lost custody of two of her children last month, and had to leave them in Lebanon, after an attempt to get them back failed.

The advertising surrounding Mother’s Day can cause anxiety for people who feel like it is a day they have no part in.

But you do — none of us would be here if it wasn’t for our mums. Even if it is just a day to remember that special person who brought you into the world, I am hopeful that whatever Mother’s Day means for you, it will be a happy one.

So to all the mothers out there in all their various forms, situations and struggles, I hope you have a great day and be kind to yourself.

When I asked around for ideas about what to write for a Mother’s Day column I got the following.

“You could make it a piece about contraception,” suggested one exhausted mum, half in jest.

“What about having to smile through a crappy breakfast full of egg-shells?” someone else offered.

Another mum shared her story of dutifully drinking her “cup of tea” in bed one Mother’s Day, which was actually water in the pretend tea set.

That was fine, she said, until it dawned on her minutes later the only water her toddler would have been able to access was from the toilet. True story.

What mothers want for Mother’s Day typically changes with the age of the children.

I know many mums with multiple children under 10 who would love a sleep in, and for someone else to look after the kids for the day and do the dishes.

Mums with teenagers would like a happy child, and then there are those for whom a steam cleaner would always be the most exciting present ever.

Mums with adult children generally want nothing more than to see their kids on Mother’s Day.

A colleague whose adult daughters live overseas says she gets out all the old Mother’s Day cards they have sent her over the years and sheds a tear or two. She particularly treasures the ones they made for her when they were at preschool and primary school.

They are brightly embellished with big hearts and kisses. She stands them on the mantlepiece alongside the cards from London and Sydney that arrived the other day.

Personally, I would like pancakes and a tantrum-free day. I will make the pancakes, so that is guaranteed, the tantrums, not so much.

Motherhood also has a very wide definition, if you ask me. I have a friend who had a very rough week with her sick and much-loved dog.

Up five times overnight

She was up five times during the night and the dog urinated on her bed. If that’s not motherhood, then I don’t know what is.

The rise of the blended family can also bring a new woman into a child’s life, someone who loves and cares for them but did not give birth to them.

There are homes with two mums, homes with no mums, homes with single mums, mothers who have adopted and mothers who foster.

Not many families fit into a conventional mould any more and even our Government has recognised that.

This is the first Mother’s Day in New Zealand since an extended time of paid parental leave was introduced on April 1.

New mothers now get 18 weeks of paid parental leave (up from 14 weeks) and those payments can be transferred to their spouse or partner.

Payments have also extended to include “non-standard workers” — those who are on casual contracts, do seasonal work or have more than one employer.

So that is a real thumbs-up from the Government that motherhood is something to be valued.

Plus, there is a large amount of public support for the Labour Party’s proposal to increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks over the next couple of years.

But I am always mindful that for many people, Mother’s Day can carry mixed emotions, whether they have lost their mum, never knew their mum or didn’t become one like they had hoped.

Australian mum Sally Faulkner will also be on my mind. She’s the mum who lost custody of two of her children last month, and had to leave them in Lebanon, after an attempt to get them back failed.

The advertising surrounding Mother’s Day can cause anxiety for people who feel like it is a day they have no part in.

But you do — none of us would be here if it wasn’t for our mums. Even if it is just a day to remember that special person who brought you into the world, I am hopeful that whatever Mother’s Day means for you, it will be a happy one.

So to all the mothers out there in all their various forms, situations and struggles, I hope you have a great day and be kind to yourself.

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