Mothers’ Day – much like motherhood

Posted on May 9, 2010


How was your Mothers’ Day? I’m in a reflective mood about mine, mostly because it didn’t quite go as I’d imagined. Then I realised that I shouldn’t expect anything else. Motherhood never quite goes as you’d imagine.

It started well. We woke too early, in a strange place, after listening to screaming and yelling for much of the night. So far, so labour. It was hugs and kisses all round, we got dressed, and headed down for breakfast. Or would have done, had Misters 6 and 3 not decided to have a fight over who was going to push the buttons in the lift. Cue: tantrums all round. Toddler stage, anyone?

The following six hours were Hallmark. We had stayed in a hotel in The Big Smoke (hence strange place, yelling was revellers out on the street doing what I used to do pre-children), and spent the morning wandering around the markets before hopping a ferry and heading to Luna Park. It was exactly like that six months between the ages of three and four when children are so delicious you can’t imagine why didn’t have seven of them.

After sliding down some large slides, eating fairy floss (which Mr6 handed back because it was too ‘sugary’) and wondering how in the world they came up with their ridiculous pricing structure, we left Luna Park and walked back over the Harbour Bridge. The sun was shining, the seagulls were squawking, the kids were excited. It was a good-to-be-alive moment – much like the first day of Big School.

It wasn’t until we got home, admittedly after a long drive, that things went pear-shaped. Everyone was tired. Including me. (You see, how I’m setting up my excuse here.) So when Mr6 began on a litany of refusal and obstruction, I got to the point where I actually had to follow through on my usual threat to send him to bed without dinner.

I’m sure you’ve been there. I tried threats and warnings. I tried taking away things he loved – Famous Five reading sessions, for one. No go. It got to the point where I had to make good on my threat or forever have to deal with a child who said ‘go on then’ to every disciplinary measure I tried.

So I despatched him. At 6.15pm. With no dinner.

He was outraged. Angry, sweaty, tear-stained.

I was much the same. But add disappointed to the list. At myself, for not finding a way to manage the whole mess better. At him for not toeing the Hallmark line and being a cherub on Mum’s Special Day. I didn’t even get to open my presents.

But that’s the thing about mothering, isn’t it? It never quite goes to plan and you have to find a way to make it work. I did my job tonight. I set a boundary and I made it firm.

Tomorrow I’ll do my job again. By smiling sweetly and forgetting the whole thing ever happened. Because I was in at school on Thursday and had a sneak preview of my Mothers’ Day gift. A picture of me, drawn with a smile to equal the Luna Park face. Which is pretty much how I feel about being his mum.

In the meantime, I’d like to thank my mother from the bottom of my heart for the boundaries she set and the disappointments she’s forgiven. It was a lesson in mothering I haven’t forgotten and will do my best to emulate. Even if things don’t always go to plan.


  1. MaidInAustralia

    I feel your pain. It’s one of the suckiest things about motherhood isn’t it? When you’ve had a lovely day, and then it inexplicably goes pear-shaped. Even on special days. xo

  2. Trish@Show and Tell

    I think my daughter thinks that Mothers’ Day is more about the fact that I should be celebrating the fact that she allowed me to become a mother.
    Not sure I can really argue with that one!
    Have a great weekend. (And thanks so much for Weekend Rewind).


  3. Naomi

    love this! just about every day in my house does not go to planned – I treasure those days when it ends up better than I could have imagined. They make all the hard work and effort worth while.

    some years I have been very scared at what may happen on mothers day. I have learnt to have no expectations and I find I enjoy the day so much more.

    Naomi x

  4. •´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´•

    Sometimes the best ‘mother’ days are not the days we celebrate amid the hype of the steroptyped perfection.
    We just expect ‘small things’ will be all perfect on the day …hope 2011 Mother’s day is your best yet.
    I’m hoping to run the MDC …so hubby will be left to deal with the boys who I hope choose their halos and not horns.

  5. Tat

    Motherhood is certainly a rollercoaster, it goes from on extreme into the other in seconds. Hope you have a better mother’s day this year.

  6. Kymmie

    Oh, not a happy mother’s day. But you’re so right. That’s how it is. And I regret saying those words, “If you don’t…” Because, damn it. I’m now going to have to follow it up. Glad you stuck to your guns. (And that the next day was fabulous too.)

    I’m not sure why I haven’t before, but you’ve been plugged on my blog. Sorry I haven’t done it sooner. Because I love your pink place. xx

  7. bigwords is...

    And what a great mother you are.

    Oh man, the empty threat. The counting to five trick has been working in our house fine up until recently. I really don’t want to have to close the door, so I’ve dragged out the counting 4 and a half, four and three quarters – I fear tomorrow will be door closed. The follow through is so important, but so hard. Man, being a mother is tricky.

    This mother’s day will be wonderful for you. Perhaps open your presents at the beginning of the day!! xxx

  8. Deer Baby

    I identified with this post the first time I read it and nothing’s changed. Roll on Mother’s Day again. And your birthday!

  9. Lucy

    So adorable, even when they are shockers.

    I am opting, this year, to do a race on Mothers Day. I hope that the anticipation of Mummy keeps them in check. I don’t hold my breath though…

  10. therhythmmethod

    So true. My best mother’s day was actually spent away from my family – did I say that out loud? Sad, but true. But yet we go on. And we love it. And them.

  11. Ivan M

    There is no such thing as the perfect parent. I live by the rule “why have one crying child when you can have two”. It keeps me sane. Children are like drunk friends, funny, sometimes crabby and with little control of bodily functions. They also forget quickly.They’ll forgive you, you forgave and are thankful for your mum.

    I should have taken my kids to Luna Park. I made the mistake of taking a child on a Ferris Wheel at Darling Harbour. I was stuck in an airtight cabin for 5 minutes with a child filling his nappy. God has great timing.

    The todler tantrums resurface in the teen years as I have found out with my Year 11 class. I think it is the hormones.

  12. Jodie at Mummy Mayhem

    Oh yes…been there and done that a few times over! I’ve had a few very ordinary mother’s days because of tantrums and tears (some of them mine). As they get older, it gets better though. This year was the first year I really felt I truly enjoyed the occasion. Apart from a few arguments at one point during the day, the rest went pretty smoothly.

    Loved this post, and well done with following thru! One of the hardest things to do, but well worth it in the end. xx

  13. deer baby

    I can almost guarantee that the weight of expectations on certain days of the year will end up with at least one of the family sobbing..and it’s usually me.

    Your son gave you back candy floss because it was too sugary? I hope you got video.

    It was good you followed through on your threat though. In my house, when the appeal of stickers fades (you won’t get a sticker – yeah, so what??) it’s time to take action.

  14. Bergamo Blog

    hi there,
    Lovely blog Al! Mother’s Day in Bergamo was over shadowed by the arrival of 400,000 Alpini in the city. Poor Mums’ couldn’t compete with the green felt hats with red pom poms and feathers. Imagine it was much like being invaded by a foreign army in WW2. Tents everywhere on the pavements, in the car parks, under the Venetian walls, on top of the Venetian walls! But wonderful party atmosphere for three days- the parade lasted 12 hours and the local Tv station filmed every hour -now that’s local content for you. Ciao tutti.

  15. Seraphim

    so impressed that you followed through. We often learn a far more powerful lesson than the children do at those times.

  16. PinkPatentMaryJanes

    Ah, motherhood – always a challenge. Good for you for the follow-through – that’s what’s going to stick. xx

  17. allison t

    Thanks everyone for your comments – one of the best things about this blogging business is realising that everyone’s out there doing motherhood with you. I will look forward to many more years of fights over the lift buttons – and will do my best to keep the dance going. 🙂

  18. Tracy Rudd (ssmama)

    See – that’s it exactly. The REAL Mother’s Day is what happens on every other day of the year.

    We set ourselves up for major disappointment if we invest too heavily in the spin put on Mother’s Day by advertisers and retailers. Sure, it’s lovely that our kids are encouraged to give us a few nice hugs and hand-scrawled cards and cold toast and, just maybe, if we’re lucky, they might reflect for one fraction of a second on how much we do for them (for love!) on every single day of their lives.

    But no way, no how, is that going to stop them being what they are every other day – fractious little angels learning to tap-dance on the slippery surface of our unpredictably chaotic world – and we, their dance instructors, just have keep tapping out the beat. 😉

  19. So Now What?

    Add to this the days you really don’t want to get cross at them, Christmas Day and their birthday, it’s hard to get it perfect. I can hear myself “I don’t want to get cross at you on your birthday” Early bed/loss of toy, me screaming. Joy upon joy. Still sounds like a pretty awesome day 🙂

    P.S. that lift button pushing thing is a constant source of arguments for all three of my children (the eldest one being ten).

  20. Maxabella

    Ah, the mother’s day moments. They happen all year around, so it’s not surprising that we don’t get a full day’s dose on the actual day. I had a lovely MD – the children were cherubic, the sun was shining, the gifts were heart swelling. This morning I found myself chasing the 6 year old up the street for 20 mins trying to get him into the car without a beloved toy to take to school (confiscated for hitting). Sigh.

  21. lifeinbalancesortof

    Great post. We must be careful that Mother’s Day doesn’t romanticize motherhood too much. Images of eating bon bons in bed all morning and such. Not likely. Motherhood ain’t pretty and fuzzy all the time. You bask the good moments – as you note – and then get side-swiped by the sigh-inducing, don’t-make-me-come-over-there moments. Or in my case this week, five nights in a row of urine-soaked sheets.

  22. Kallie

    What is it with the similariteis between our sons… the *dooshing* the refusal & obstruction… is it just young boys in general?

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