Sunday, 22 March 2009

Happy Mothers Day

To be honest, I think Mothers Day is a bit pants. It's just a Christian thing that's been turned into a Hallmark Holiday. Now, being a secular Jew, I don't celebrate Christmas or Easter unless I'm staying with Christian friends, so I don't really see why I should have to celebrate Mothers Day when I'm not even at all close to my mother.

It's just as bad as Valentine's Day, for similar reasons. On Valentine's Day, men are pressurised into buying flowers and chocolates for their girlfriends and wives, which allows them to be as crap and ungrateful as they like on the other 364 days of the year. On Mother's Day, anyone whose mother is still alive is expected to fork out for flowers, chocolates and, bizarrely, anti-wrinkle cream (since when was that "the ideal gift"?) and then they don't have to even acknowledge their mother for the rest of the year, even though she might be a complete saint. "Here Mum, happy Mother's Day, here's somthing for your "deep set wrinkles". Have you ironed my shirt?" Luckily, my boy is every bit as unenamoured of Valentine's Day as I am, so we didn't do anything. We weren't even in the same country that day. In fact, I don't even think we texted one another. I am nothing if not unromantic. My mother however has expressed no interest in opting out of Mother's Day, so I couldn't avoid that one.

The problem is, if you don't get on with your mother, hardly ever see her and are not close to her at all, acknowledging Mother's Day is rather like sending a Valentine's card to your ex-boyfriend, who you sort-of stay in touch with and don't bear any ill will, but who makes you want to slap him round the face with a large fish after five minutes in his company. And don't get me started on Father's Day. If sending a Mother's Day card to my mum is like sending a Valentine to an ex-boyfriend, then acknowledging Father's Day is like sending a Valentine to my abusive ex-husband because of whom I've had to move to another country and assume a new identity.

When I was growing up, my mother was the Bad Mother who chain smoked, swore like a sailor, had crazy hair, wore DMs and didn't come to my concerts. However, despite the fact that she's had just about the most disastrous love life of anyone I know, she did, when I was a child, come out with some really good advice about sex and relationships. You have to imagine the following lines delivered by a woman with mad hair, puffing on a Gauloise, and somehow managing not to look a day over 35 despite the fact that she is in her late fifties and has smoked like a chimney since she was a teenager:

  • Don't ever get married because you want to get married. Get married because you want to be married.
  • Don't ever rely on a man for anything. If he leaves you, you're screwed
  • It is not fair to rely on a man financially. You have the right to work, so work
  • If a man doesn't want you to contribute financially, either he's just being too chivalrous, in which case you shouldn't take advantage, or he wants to control you
  • Money means power, and that is never truer than in relationships
  • Don't ever commit to a man who only appreciates you for your looks - he'll trade you in for a younger model at the first wrinkle
  • Don't EVER have children (erm, thanks...)
  • It's okay, as long as you wash your hands afterwards (can be applied to any number of situations, but yes, she was referring to what you're thinking)

    So basically: Be independent, don't get involved with dickwads, and wank yourself silly. Which is as deserving of a Mother's Day outing to one of North London's finest tea establishments as anything.
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