This post was kindly sponsored by The White Company, but the imagery, wording and Mum are all my own.
Meet Karen. She’s my lovely Mum…
Sunday March 26th, Mother’s Day – a day to say thank you to your Mum or the mother figure in your life for everything from packed lunches and taxi services to unconditional love and unparalleled strength. Some people see Mother’s Day as a gimmick (my brother included, although he reluctantly obliges to send flowers each year), questioning why it is that we need to shell out on cards and presents and experiences when we say thank you to our Mums everyday right?. (Oh, and hands up if you too have been subject to the “well, it’s children’s day every day” retort if you’ve ever dared to bring it up.) As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve come to appreciate the meaning of Mother’s Day more. Rather than being an excuse for your old hen to bag some gifts and indulge in some guiltless lounging, it’s more about acknowledging the many sacrifices that motherhood demands. And today, in collaboration with The White Company who kindly sent me some beautiful cashmere socks to gift to my Mum, I’m taking the time out to properly say thank you, and in particular, for these five things…
P.S. Before I continue, if you’re at a dead-end with Mother’s Day gifting, The White Company have you covered. Pick something meaningful from their Mother’s Day Gift Guide, and make sure to tell her why. My Mum and I always have cold feet and it seems to be something she’s passed down to me, so it made sense that I opted for some super-soft cashmere socks. It’s luxury with a reason. Mum’s always appreciate the thought more, anyway…
Raising my brother and I as a single parent
My Mum and Dad separated when I was around 6 or 7, and from that point on my Mum raised both myself and my brother as a single parent. Without financial help from my Dad, my Mum worked her little patootie off so we’d never feel like we were missing out, and she still managed to never miss a Parent’s Day or a school play. My wonderful grandparents of course helped out with school runs and babysitting, but for what I took for granted when I was younger, I can now appreciate and applaud my Mum for doing. Raising two children isn’t easy, but doing it alone is even harder. Aside from financial support, my Mum also had to be a shoulder to cry on, an authoritative figure, the one with all the answers, and let’s not even get started on what it’s like to try and parent two warring teenagers.
So thank you, Mum – you were a single parent, but you didn’t need anybody else anyway.
Her sacrifices for our passions
Hobbies when you’re a kid are ever-changing. I went from playing the violin to air-kicking at karate and winning ‘at least you tried’ ribbons at horse riding, and every single time a new flavour of the month came along, my Mum would say, “yep, if you want to do it, go for it”. And hobbies aren’t cheap – horse-riding, especially. As many other little girls are, I was adamant that I wanted a pony, and so my Mum started working at a local horse-yard so I could horse-share and her labour would pay for food and tack and all of the ridiculous clothing bits you have to wear when you enter the equine arena. She sacrificed her weekends, not only for this but to also wake up at 6.a.m. and drive me to random horse-competitions, knowing full well that I would probably just fall off or get disqualified anyway. She never stopped supporting me, and that was only one half of her child batch – the other was off playing football or cricket, and that was a whole other kettle of fish.
So thank you, Mum – cleaning out stables at 6pm in the pitch black snow must have been awful, but you let me sit in the warm car and did it for me anyway.
Having a home with open doors
Our home was a home not only for us, but for all of our friends too. Joe and I always had people over and some even stayed for days on end if they needed to, and this open doors policy meant that we were able to create some of the best memories of our lives, bouncing around on our trampoline or firing up BBQ’s on long summer evenings. My mum never turned anyone away and was a certifiable mother hen – in fact, she still refers to our best friends as her “other children” – and I have to commend her for always being so generous with her space and allowing us to be teenagers with freedom.
So thank you, Mum – your open arms and open doors meant that even our friends formed some of their fondest memories in our home.
Teaching me to be resilient
My Mum hasn’t had an easy life, but somehow, she’s always picked herself up, dusted herself off and kept going. Growing up, all I saw around me was the conventional nuclear family, in most cases with the father being the “traditional” breadwinner and the mother being the “traditional” caregiver. My mum was both of these things, and her demonstrating that it’s not necessary to rely on a man undoubtedly nurtured the very beginnings of feminism within me. She made sure to instil in me the ability to dream big, and out of that was born a determination to find and pursue a career I love, as well as the resilience to persevere when things aren’t so easy. She makes me feel like I can do it, no matter what that “it” is.
So thank you, Mum – for making me believe in myself, dream big and keep bloody going.
For always smelling like home
Mum’s always smell like home, don’t they? One thing I will never tire of is the smell of my Mum’s hair and the scent of her pillow. No matter what perfume she wears, what shampoo she uses or what washing powder she washes the bedsheets in, her hair and her pillow always smell the same, and they are an instant comfort blanket to me. When she’d leave for work on Saturdays I’d make the four-step journey from my bedroom to hers, just so I could slip under the duvet and absorb all of the Mum comfort that lived there. Those smells make me feel safe, no matter how old I am.
So thank you, Mum – for always smelling like – and for always being – home.