parents

Hug your kids close today and remember all the women who can't.

The family I am grateful for today. I’m one seriously lucky mother…

Last night, I got woken up three times before dawn. Because I’m lucky.

This morning, I spent a significant portion of my time trying to get green marker off my white walls. Because I’m lucky.

I repeated the phrase, ‘put your shoes on’ approximately 25 times in the space of half an hour. Because I’m lucky.

I was pushed to the edge of patience by two tiny dictators who want everything five minutes ago. Because I’m incredibly, mind-bogglingly, odds-defyingly lucky.

Today is a day when mothers are celebrated. Venerated. Held aloft for all to admire. Aren’t we wonderful? Aren’t we selfless? Aren’t we deserving of flowers, and breakfast in bed, and shiny gifts and lunches with views and pampering sessions and compliments?

Yes. Yes, we are. But today, while everyone is telling me I am special, what I’m going to try to remember is that I am fortunate.

Today is difficult for many, many people. It’s difficult for people whose mothers are gone. It’s difficult for people who desperately want to be parents but who aren’t. It’s difficult for people whose own mothers are far from the sainted, supportive stereotype that will be everywhere you look today. And it’s difficult for people who have lost children. Who are mothers, but are missing a person who should be there today.

There’s no holiday for the woman who’s 35 and her partner has just left her. There’s no card for the unspoken misery of miscarriage. There’s no balloon inscribed with the right words for the couple who have just endured another unsuccessful IVF cycle.

Mother’s Day can be hard if you don’t fit the stereotype…

And I, like all the lucky mothers, need to remember that, as I talk about how I need a break, how tired I am, what a tough life I have, how much I need today’s lie-in.

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A stressed single mother told my wonderful friend Anne last week that she was “so lucky” that she didn’t have children. That she was so envious of the post-work-out coffee Anne was about to enjoy when she, busy mum, had to dash back to her kids.

I know exactly where that mum’s head was at when those words came out of her mouth. I am as guilty of the flippant motherhood whinge as anybody (perhaps more so) and in that moment, that woman was picturing a world where she didn’t always have to be somewhere else, where the idea of a morning work-out stretching into coffee, into brunch, into a long bath and a good movie on the lounge wasn’t like some sort of sci-fi fantasy.

But those words hit Anne like a punch. Because she doesn’t feel lucky. She desperately wants to be a parent. She can’t imagine not wanting to go back home to little people who love you, who are happy to see you, who are filling up your life and your home with noise and action and boisterous, messy love.

Many of the women I know who will be celebrating and celebrated today are also the people described above. Motherless mothers, women who have now have families after incredibly difficult journeys and unimaginable losses. We are them.

But gratitude can be the hardest thing to hold on to when life is busy and sleep is scarce and children are being children.

Today, maybe I do deserve a lie-in, but really, I deserve nothing more than what I’ve got and a wake-up call that I am among the most privileged people in the world.

Because if someone is saying “Happy Mother’s Day” to you today, and your child or children are healthy, safe and close by, then you are The Luckiest.

What are you grateful for this Mother’s Day?