Rosie Green is a columnist for Red. Here, she shares the small joys she has found in single motherhood – and why we should be celebrating the messiness of family life on Mother's Day.
In your dreams, Mother’s Day would involve cherubic children bringing you bunches of flowers (you know, ones that look artfully cottage-y and do not originate from a garage). They will also bring you breakfast in bed – and, crucially, will not have left the kitchen looking like it’s been ravaged by students post pot smoking session. But of course we know this level of perfection only happens in adverts and on other people’s Instagrams. Am I right?
And talking of not fitting into society's idea of ‘perfection’, this year I will be experiencing it as a single mother. Which means we won’t be the ‘Kelloggs family’ that I grew up envisaging. And that could make me feel crap. It certainly did last year, but now I choose not to see it that way. Because I've found there are benefits to single motherhood.
Yes, yes I do miss sharing the load of homework, screen time policing and the mutual pride of the kids’ achievements (who else is going to be as chuffed when they make the team or can finally spell appreciate?). But now, post split, the bond I have with the kids is even deeper.
There is no friction over parenting styles. It’s a gentler, calmer household (until someone eats the last Mini Egg or DOESN’T REPLACE THE LOO ROLL). Which suits me fine. And I constantly need to remind myself that – just like nobody really looks like they do in the adverts (even Cindy Crawford says ‘I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford’) –nobody’s family lives are that straight forward.
I’m loving the fact that some forward thinking companies have wised up to this and realised that marketing campaigns with blonde haired, butter-wouldn’t-melt kids and square-jawed husbands have made people feel less than.
Boden have created a M(other’s) Day campaign to celebrate that special kind of gentle, giving love in whatever form the relationship takes. And I heard a radio ad for Superdrug which recognises office mums, pet mums, foster mums…
I know this will be a tough time for so many; the background hum of fear and anxiety offset with the fact we are all set to be cooped up with restless children for weeks on end.
So, I’m sending love to you all. And if you lose it when they are eye rolling/tantrum throwing, or if you fail to do any crafting (I’m not one of those saintly individuals who finds any joy in pipe cleaner and a glue stick), well, remember we are only human. Just do your best – and I’ll try to, too. And then smile beatifically when you get that B.P. bunch.
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