Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent and the day from which we release our servants and child labour from their mundane tasks to let them visit their mothering church while picking wild flowers for their own mother on the way there….ahhh we remember the 1700’s well and fondly before a time of taking half an hour to pick the right card (Mum takes offence if the words inside aren’t just right), having to book a table for a Sunday lunch well before the end of January to save yourself cooking (I’m a mother too you know!) and having an inner turmoil over whether flowers are a bit too run of the mill for a gift.
Mothers are special for the majority of people (to my children at the moment it’s more embarrassing than special but we’re supposed to be, right?) and without argument need some kind of day to be recognised, as a break from the endless drudgery of night feeds, school runs, taxi runs and child minding duties depending on what stage of childhood your little ones are at. For the Next Star Mums competition, the celebration is for Mums who are special for various reasons that break away from the run of the mill mum-reliability. One of the competition nominees, for example, is Lisa Wells, a local mum from Frome who is raising money relentlessly while fighting cancer to ensure her daughters can be looked after once she has died. (More info on Lisa here). The competition has however come under vicious scrutiny for the lack of diversity across its judging panel which consists of white, slim, middle class women (I wasn’t asked on a pure chubbiness factor).
I think though that the arguments surrounding the judging panel, while relevant, have actually overlooked the main factor of the competition. Rather than awarding “Mum of the Year” accolades to celebrities such as one of last years winners, reality TV star Amy Childs, these awards are looking at “real” mums who don’t have a sunny holiday every 2 months, a personal chef, waxer, shopper….I could go on. These are REAL mums who don’t ask for accolades, just simply get on with it – and for these nominees, it is in the face of difficulties. For the celebrity mums, the money they have will alleviate many of the pressures of every day life that most of us worry about, yet the pressures that they feel themselves will be of a different angle in which they can be publicly criticised for the way that they live their lives.
So why does anyone feel the need to pit women against each other, when everyone is trying their best to do their best for the children, whether tiny or grown up, in their care? Celebrity, unknown, rich or poor, all Mothers should be celebrated on the same level – which is why we think that all of the mothers in the Next Star Mum awards should be equal winners. And not just them. All of us. Don’t wait for your children to buy you gifts to thank you for doing what you do as a matter of course. Treat yourself – whether flowers, chocolates, a massage or an industrial style coffee table (sorry!). And make the day about the wild flowers that your children have picked as a symbol of appreciation for everything that you do.