Looking for a handmade Mother’s Day gift for Sunday 11 March? Thank God for that, because even the worst handmade Mother’s Day gift has to be better than anything you’ll find in a high street shop. For me Mother’s Day is less about the joy of receiving a gift and more about being so enraged by stereotypical image of mothers that I want to burn tubs of Cow & Gate.
If you love beatific images of glowing mothers or gifts heavily laden with flowers then you must love the nation’s supermarkets. In fact, if an alien’s first contact with Earth was in Tesco or Asda it would think that our planet’s mothers shat actual rose petals.
I’ve never actually seen a shop-bought Mother’s Day gift that bore any resemblance to the mothers that I know. I’ve never seen a card that referred to PND, vaginal tears, bleeding nipples or the inability to take a shit alone. Nor have I ever seen a gift that adequately compensated a mother for 36 hours of labour or her career destruction. I have, though, seen gifts that would have been handed to 1950s mothers as, perfectly coiffured, they pulled apple pies from ovens.
Here is why I have such a problem with it: when Kraken Junior screeched from my uterus it unleashed a mental shitstorm. For the duration of my shock pregnancy (and, in fact, all my life) all I’d ever seen were images of maternal perfection. So when I did give birth, only to develop PND, PTSD and a breakdown, I felt as if I was the only woman who had ever struggled. Worse, my first ever Mother’s Day gift was a riot of Yummy Mummy slogans and florals. I’d have had a better time identifying with a bag of rats.
It was only after becoming a psychiatric outpatient that I realised that there is more than one type of mother and that I was actually a perfectly good one. I just didn’t fit the stereotypical images I’d been fed. The problem wasn’t with me at all. It was with the type of blinkered horseshit that comes around with every Mother’s Day.
The result? On Mother’s Day morning millions of women opening gifts that they just don’t want. Not because they don’t recognise the love of their children but because they don’t recognise themselves. I once knew a woman who thought she’d get an engagement ring for Crimbo. Instead she got a – wait for it – car jack. Her and her boyfriend didn’t stay together after that. Multiply that experience by every Mother’s Day a woman lives through and you’ll get a vague of idea of how soul destroying it can be.
Look, you already know that I started Kraken Kreations because I was sick of not finding bold and shouty prints on the high street. Well for me handmade Mothers’ Day gifts are a part of that. Now, I don’t claim that my slouch bags will eradicate the memory of an infant’s head destroying your perineum. Nor do I believe that being handed a knitting travel bag will get you into your pre-pregnancy jeans. And God forbid that a sweary hoop will stop people asking when you’re having another child (because if it did I’d wear one around my neck).
I DO believe, though, that getting a gift that represents you is recognition that you’re more than just a mother.
So until you have the space in your garden to build a Colossus of Rhodes sized statue to commemorate forcing a whole human being from your body, demand a handmade Mother’s Day gift. Come the revolution we’ll all have such monolithic entrances to our homes. Until then, though, the very least we can expect are gifts that represent who we really are. My manifesto said we’d be heard. Mother’s Day is a bloody great place to start making a noise.
So what do you think about the type of Mother’s Day gifts you find on the high street? Love them? Want to set fire to them? And how would you like to see modern mothers represented in society? Let me know in the comments below!