So it's that day again, the Sunday where there will be whispering and plots, tea and toast in bed.
It's Mothers' Day.
Apparently it's all about appreciating us mums. Because we're worth it. Only quite a few of us don't believe we are.
Have you noticed? The number of mums who are quick to label themselves "bad"? Only the other day a pregnant pal - first child - called herself "bad mummy" for scoffing a huge heap of chocolates. I was shocked, she hasn't actually given birth and she's setting herself up for the guilt trip.
You see, theories about how to "parent" are legion. Are you baby weaning, baby wearing? Is Gina the queen o' your nursery? Will you be a SAHM or a WAHM, do the school run or hire a nanny? Are your kids veggies, will you tell them "no"? Make them do activities or let them slob on the sofa? Montessori, home ed, gifted or precocious? Are you a helicopter mum or a tiger mother?
And whatever we opt for - or stumble into in a haze of broken nights and frustration - there will be strong opposition. The other way is best. How we bring up our kids, it seems, is everyone else's business as much as our own.
And everywhere you turn there are celeb mums looking bloody marvellous, bright eyed, coherent and slender. Remember they are not role models, what you are seeing is a tiny stage managed sliver of an apparently pampered and glossy existence. Pay attention to them at your peril.
And before reality TV and Spanx, there was a time when "parent" was still a noun and mothers weren't to blame for everything. Mums made things up on the spot while more or less doing the same as their mother's did... or the exact opposite, if they'd hated it.
And are we deficient in any way because of it? Nope, thought not. I expect we turned out the same as the next generation and the one before us. Why? Because none of it makes a difference worth fussing about.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are your children fed?
- Are they clothed?
- Are they protected from harm and abuse?
- Are there books in your house?
- Do you talk to them?
- Do they get cuddles?
- Do you tell them you love them?
If you answered yes, then you are a good mother... good enough, and that's the only measure you need.
So please, this Mothering Sunday appreciate yourself and vow to stop this "bad mummy" bullshit - you are not a bad mother, so stop even thinking it.
Being a mum is demanding enough without thinking you're rubbish at it because you have failed to live up to the standards set by some, arguably crackpot, parenting expert. Or worse still, the Daily Mail.
Happy Mothers Day.
PS I couldn't decide if it's Mothers' Day, Mother's Day or Mothers Day so I've used all of them.