BEST MOTHER’S DAY EXPERIENCE
Life was pretty full-on when we had three children under four, and one Mother’s Day, my husband Jimmy must have realised how shattered I was as he booked me a day at Stobo House, a gorgeous spa nestling in the Scottish Borders. I had a whole bunch of treatments but must admit, the loveliest part was being away from everything (and everyone!). Most thoughtful of all, Jimmy had compiled a selection of my favourite songs to play on the drive to and from the spa. I felt fully restored, and just about human again!
WORST MOTHER’S DAY EXPERIENCE
It sounds horribly ungrateful but the year I was deluged with presents was the year it went horribly wrong. One of my sons knocked my (glass) bottle of posh bath oil off the kitchen table and it smashed all over the floor. Daughter had obviously crept back to have another peek at my lovely necklace – because next time I opened its plush box, the chain had mysteriously snapped. Plus, husband bought me a skirt that was two sizes too big. ‘You think I’m fat,’ I wailed, in typically over-reacting fashion. Yes, I’m ashamed. I behaved like a spoilt kid. But I’d have been far happier with a few hugs and home-made cards.
MY PERFECT SCENARIO FOR THIS YEAR
As our kids have grown up (daughter is 13, our twin sons are 17), what I’ve started to cherish more than anything is time with Jimmy, my husband. Our house is perpetually full of marauding teenagers, taking over the telly and filling the place with their thumping music. Which is great, of course – we’ll miss them madly when the boys are gone next year. But it does make me crave some time out of the house, with my beloved!
My perfect Mother’s Day would be a long lunch at home with the family (not cooked by me), then escaping to Edinburgh (only an hour from home, but one of my favourite cities) with Jimmy. We’d browse the shops, stop for coffee and cakes at Urban Angel, then see a movie at the Cameo and have dinner. I do hope my husband is reading this and making plans to arrange it all.
HOW TO FAKE DELIGHT AT A TRULY TERRIBLE MOTHER’S DAY GIFT
Ah, Mother’s Day. We tell ourselves it doesn’t matter but secretly hope to be spoilt. So what to do when it goes horribly wrong, and your gift doesn’t match expectations?
The gift: An ‘interesting’ breakfast. When my twin boys were about seven they surprised me with a Mother’s Day breakfast in bed. This consisted of digestive biscuits thickly smothered in jam, and decorated with chunks of browning apple. I feigned delight by taking a big bite, and let my boys snuggle into bed with me for a cuddle (to be honest, it was such a sweet gesture I didn’t even have to feign happiness. Although, when they got bored and ran off, I did stuff the last two biscuits in the waste paper bin, hidden under a magazine).
If you’re presented with a piece of incinerated toast and a grenade-like boiled egg, remember that these days will soon pass, and that you’ll be lucky to even glimpse your offspring before lunchtime. My lads are now strapping 17 year-olds who’d no more volunteer to wash the car than bring me so much as a cuppa in bed!
The gift: Bleugh perfume. Tricky this, as you have to make a show of spraying it on and saying, ‘Oh, this is lovely!’ But only once. After that, you can display it proudly in a prominent place. If anyone comments that the level in the bottle doesn’t seem to be going down, just explain that perfume virtually lasts forever. However tempted you are, please don’t donate it to the school tombola.
The gift: Anything bought by Dad in a hurry. We all know kids need a little prompting where Mother’s Day is concerned. Even cards hand-made in the classroom are likely to lie crumpled in schoolbags unless an adult’s on hand to remind them. It’s likely that Dad’s had a hand in the present-buying too.
So here’s what to do if you’re presented by some ratty carnations, which have obviously been grabbed in haste (by Dad) from the garage. Cheer yourself up by imagining his panic-stricken face, as he sprinted to the petrol station with his hair on end, realising that Mother’s Day was about to pass by unnoticed.
The gift: A depressing practical thing. Occasionally, our loved ones forget that gifts should be treaty and not about need or, heaven forbid, practical tasks in the kitchen – and this is when it’s hardest to feign delight. But you can do it. ‘How did you know I really needed one of these?’ I enthused when presented with a cheese grater (brightly coloured and shaped like a lady, with the grater part forming her skirt… but still a grater, right?). If you’re scrabbling for something positive to say, then try to be specific: ‘I’ll feel really cheered up every time I use this.’ Who cares if it’s a little white lie?
The gift: That wonky home-made object. It doesn’t matter that you have no use for a lump of clay which your child tells you is ‘a tortoise’, or a bunch of slimy-ended weeds from the garden. As the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts – and, let’s face it, we’re always delighted with a makeshift gift, no matter how wonky it is.
If you are disappointed, remind yourself how much you’ll miss their sweet offerings in years to come. A decade on, I still have the hand-painted pebble, a Mother’s Day present from my daughter, sitting proudly on my desk. It’s one of my favourite things in the world.
So happy Mother’s Day, everyone. In the end, it’s not really about presents, is it? I know that, for me, it’s a chance to curl up with a book, to be cooked for, and to feel spoiled with no demands made upon me. Hope you get your heart’s desire too.
And now for a chance to win yourself an indulgent skincare gift set worth £100. Simply finish this sentence in the comments section below:
Before I became a mum, I wish I’d known…..
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