The Mother’s Day gift you can keep on giving

Looking for a gift for Mother’s Day? May I interest you in taking some time out from saying annoying things to mothers for just one day?

Here is a by-no-means-exhaustive list of of things you could stop saying to mothers of little ones:

Cherish every moment! / They grow up so fast! / Enjoy it while it lasts!

Guess what – mothers are acutely aware that their children grow up. They literally watch them doing EXACTLY THAT all of their lives. And it breaks their heart a lot of the time because there’s a constant push and pull going on. It’s a beautiful tragedy that your aim as mother is to empower and prepare the person you love the most in life to one day leave your home. Like all mothers, I love my kids so much it hurts and each day that passes they become less dependant on me and it’s so sad. One day they’re going to leave home (and me). One day they might move to another country – a country that I’m not in. I really do not want to focus on that part of the job right now! I want to focus on the fact that I now have slightly more time to think about who I am in the context of being their mum. And also I can drink wine now. That’s a good thing isn’t it? Let mums do that without policing every stage of parenting they go through.

Needlessly and relentlessly reinforcing the fact that babies will grow up (and you’ll be sorry!) isn’t helpful. We can’t do anything about it and this EVERY SECOND THEY ARE GETTING BIGGER AND YOU WILL NEVER HAVE THIS MOMENT AGAIN KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN WATCH THEM THEY ARE GROWING A MOMENT IS GONE IT IS GONE FOREVER thing is weird and unnecessary.

The people who say cherish every moment didn’t cherish every moment.

No parent cherishes every moment, because every moment isn’t worth cherishing. It just isn’t. I refuse, absolutely refuse, to cherish the moment when I discovered a small nugget of poo in the laundry pile. I refuse. I didn’t know what it was and I picked it up and I was so tired that I rubbed it in my hand to see what it was.

I rubbed a poo nugget into my hand.

That is not a moment to cherish.

Does that mean I don’t cherish all the actually cherishable moments? No it doesn’t.

Cherish away if you want. But it’s not compulsory and it doesn’t make you any less of a mum if some days you cherish the moment they go to sleep and you get to drink an entire glass of wine in 30 seconds.

Hollow slogans that just inspire guilt are pointless. Every mother loves their baby more than anything. Every parent thinks their child is everything right in the world. Everyone loves their kids – it’s the loving the kids that matters, not loving all of the moments.

Also – enjoy it while it lasts is weirdly cruel. Like, how about just enjoy being alive while it lasts. One day you’ll be dead. You’ll be burnt or your body will be put into the ground and worms will have sex in your face.

This is why nobody invites me out anymore.

Have you tried using white noise? / A vapouriser / a sleep sack / seeing a sleep consultant / the cry-it-out method / an osteo-naturo-chiro-paleo-path / eating an entire cake and rubbing it on your naked body as a gift to the sleep gods?

Have you tried shoving your unsolicited advice up your ass? Is that a thing that you’ve tried? Because I heard that really works.

I know you’re trying to help, but if a mum wants your advice she’ll ask for it. If she doesn’t ask for it, chances are that she doesn’t want it.

Parents these days… / In my day…

Shhhhhhh! Nothing good comes after “Parents these days…” or “In my day….” Nothing. Just don’t. I know in your day parents didn’t take as many pictures as parents today, but maybe that’s because in your day a picture took 800 hours because someone had to chisel it into a cave wall. Things are different now. Some things are better. Some aren’t. And it’s all subjective. And nobody is going to feel better coming up with a comprehensive list of what’s better or worse.

Any type of negative commentary on screen time

It’s SO BORING. So you don’t want my kid to watch Fireman Sam. Fine. Come over and entertain him then while I do 19673 loads of washing. Go make a floral arrangement out of hopes and dreams and recycled yoga pants. Piss in a mason jar and call it art. BE MY GUEST.

Are you going back to work?

Are you? Are you working right now? What business is it of yours? Why do you care what I’ve chosen to do? I’d have volunteered this information if I wanted you to know. I’d have raised it as a topic of conversation if I wanted to discuss it. What I’m doing is work. So suck it.


Do you miss your baby when you’re at work?

Yes! And No! And maybe! And often! There’s literally no way to answer this. And if a mother didn’t choose to return to work it can be really painful to answer. And even mothers who do want to return to work find it difficult to answer. Maybe they do but that doesn’t change the choices they have or don’t have. Maybe they don’t but they don’t want to say that because of how people often react to a statement like “actually I love pooping by myself”.

Which leads me to one I got last week:

Oh are you going to miss them when you go away for a few days?

I will be sleeping. That thing I haven’t done in two years. So no. Probably not. Do fathers ever get asked this? Ever? I’m sure they don’t…and you know what, I probably will miss them. But I am also going to get real drunk and dance to Beyonce and not miss them at all.

You wanted to be a parent!

Yes, I did. Did you want to be an asshole?

Wanting to be parent has zero correlation between how challenging and isolating parenting can be sometimes. It’s such an incredibly heartless thing to say – “That’s what you signed up for!”

Allow some complexity in that tiny little head of yours. Parenting isn’t something you endure or barely survive anymore than it’s a constant and unyielding joy. It’s wonderful and relentless. And like the best things in life – it’s really, really hard a lot of the time.

I find this such an odd comment. Of all of the comments it’s the most profoundly weird and rude one I reckon.

Will you try for a girl / boy / Are you going to have another one?

  1. Get out of my uterus.
  2.  I am hoping for six hours sleep now be quiet.

Don’t you think he’s a bit old to wear a tutu? Aren’t you a bit worried he’ll-



When will you have your own kids? (To step-mothers and step-fathers)

I have a lot of friends who are step parents. I have been there when people have said this to them and it infuriates me. Being a parent is being there. Always. The good and bad. Friends of mine have been there through it all, and put up with some really challenging circumstances. They’re parents. End of story. Being a parent is so much more than giving birth or providing DNA and often it’s not even that. It’s like that cheesy as all Hell magnet – anyone can be a father, it takes someone special to be a daddy.

But not like daddy in a sex way. Daddy as in….omg I killed it didn’t I? I killed the nice moment we were having.

Don’t you get bored being home all day?

No. Every since I created a robot to take care of my children my mind has been pretty focused on world peace TBH. I’ve also been working on a 80,000 piece puzzle of 12th century France so actually I’m making use of all this endless relaxing time I have caring for two kids under three.

Honestly, what do you think my kids do all day? Sleep? THAT IS NOT A THING THAT THEY DO.

Is he a good baby?

No. He’s runs a Donald Trump fan page on Facebook and he keeps telling me he will sleep when he makes America great again. I thought maybe it was caused by teething?

Wait until they’re school aged! / Wait until they’re pre-teens! / Wait until they’re teenagers!

Wait until death’s sweet release! Honestly, it’s such a weird thing that only seems to happen with parenting. If you ever say something is hard about the stage you’re in, it’s the law of physics or something that someone will leap out from behind a bush and scream WAIT UNTIL THEY’RE….

Where else does this happen? If someone says work is hard people don’t say – WAIT UNTIL YOUR NEXT JOB IT’S GOING TO FUCKING SUCK MATE.

imageYou’ve lost the baby weight! / Are you going to lose the baby weight?

Shut up. I lost 10 pounds of it overnight. And if you fuck off out of my sight I’ll have lost another 150 pounds.

You’re so lucky your husband helps! / Is your husband baby sitting? / It’s so great he’s involved


Sleep when the baby sleeps / He must be hungry!

I’ll actually kill you. I will.


So what should you say?

How about – Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you get a nap and if you don’t I hope you get sleep tonight! I hope your kids eat. I hope nobody puts anything in the toilet that isn’t something that’s meant to go in the toilet. I hope your day is full of wet sloppy kisses from gummy little mouths and little hands wrapped around your neck giving big, big cuddles. I hope your day is full of hand-drawn cards with stick figures and smiling faces and vouchers for massages or new slippers or pretty flowers. I hope your day is full of love and sleep! I hope you get to relax a little. I hope you know you’re everything to your children. That you’re a good mum. That your family loves you and recognises the hard work that you do. I hope you get wine if you like wine and chocolate (everybody likes chocolate right?) I hope you get to put your feet up. Even if it’s just for one day.

What should you say to a new mum? Say – You got this mama. You know what you’re doing, and if you don’t – you’ll get there. So I have no advice for you. I just want to talk about how saucy Idris Elba looked at the Met Gala. How I’d bang him like a barn door. I want to screech with laughter with you. Look at photos of your kids on your phone. Celebrate the years you’ve been raising your precious wee ones. Congratulate you on keeping them home fires burning while not making any comment about those times the curtains almost caught fire. I want to say I’m glad you got here, I’m glad that you’re celebrating Mother’s Day as a mum.

And if you’re a mum of a child in hospital right now I want to say I hope today is kind to you. I hope feeds go well, that you get to hold your baby in your arms. That you get a good coffee. That you feel a moment of peace in a place not known for peace.

And if you are mourning your mum on Mother’s Day I want to say I’m sorry this day is so hard for you. That your mum would be proud of you. That this day feels lonely when your mother is no longer here but your babies will look at you the way your mum once also looked at you. I hope you find comfort in your children. And if you don’t have children I hope you find comfort in family and friends and loved ones.

If you don’t have a mum who is able to parent you I want to say good on you for breaking that cycle and for being the mother you deserved to have. For being better or trying to be better every day even when you’re not sure what better looks like because you’ve never seen it. You’re healing yourself even without knowing it. Mothering is redemptive and you’re a great mum.

If you’re a mum who has lost a child, I wish I had words for you. But none of us do. We can just say that our arms are always open to you. That you are in the hearts of all mothers. That we all hope this day doesn’t bring you more pain.

If you’re a mum parenting alone, know that on Mother’s Day and all days we salute you for working your ass off for your whānau. What a great example to your children – showing them how you have so much love, more than enough despite there only being one of you. I hope your chosen family, the ones that are there for you, rally around you and give you the relaxing time you deserve on Mother’s Day.

If you’re a mum who is struggling to conceive or has lost babies before they were born, this place is a home for you too and that pain is something you’re not alone in. I hope next mother’s day is different for you. Mothers everywhere are hoping you have your month where you see two lines. That you have that scan that says it’ll be OK. That you hold your baby in your arms. That you get that first Mother’s Day card that calls you by your new name – Mama.

Love to all of the mamas on Mother’s Day. Wherever you are – have a lovely day x


16 Comments on “The Mother’s Day gift you can keep on giving

  1. Amazing post. I laughed and cried. Happy Mama’s day to everyone who finds joy and solace in your wonderful blog x thank you. I hope you especially have a wonderful mama’s day with sleep and cuddles and wine and Idris Alba (hot damn!)

  2. Thank you. I tend to stick away from “mum” spaces because they can be so excluding of people who don’t/can’t/won’t get to be mums. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting this, and including us in your world. xx

    • I can understand wanting to avoid those spaces and I hope you feel safe and included here xx

  3. You forgot to mention the mums who have been single parents, have stayed up all night with their sick kids, have watched them grow into beautiful adults and are still mothers everyday. We also deserve to be recognised as most of us have already done the hard yards and brought up children that we are proud of and love till the day we die. Just saying.

    • Umm I said single parents? I’m not sure what you mean. This is literally for all mums (and mums to be and people who have lost their mums) from the perspective of a mum of young children….I am recognising all mums? Or trying to?

      • You did, covered off beautifully 🙂

  4. “If you don’t have a mum who is able to parent you I want to say good on you for breaking that cycle and for being the mother you deserved to have. For being better or trying to be better every day even when you’re not sure what better looks like because you’ve never seen it. You’re healing yourself even without knowing it. Mothering is redemptive and you’re a great mum.”
    Thank you for your kind words. This is my biggest fear of repeating my Mum’s mistakes/poor choices and not being a good Mum to my daughter xx

  5. What a great piece. I laughed and cried too. A bit embarrassing when reading on a cellphone on the sofa. Happy Mothers Day to those softened by parenthood so much you can no longer watch the news or Disney or anything with swelling orchestral music without sniffling and hiding behind a cushion.

  6. Daaaaaamn you’ve got a way with words Emily! LOVED this.

  7. As I lay here, after a rough day, with a sleeping baby on my chest… I want to say.. Thank you you made me laugh and you made me cry ..

    Happy Mother’s Day… I hope your get some sleep

  8. <3<3<3 Thank you so much for this beautiful post – best thing to read first thing on my Mothers Day morning… even if the fontvdid GI a bit blurry towards the ends ( or was that my eyes overflowing?!)
    Aroha nui to all mums out there, and big thanks to you for putting this stuff in words for the rest of us <3

  9. Beautifully written. I just love the space you are creating for all of us. I am a mama who’s partner has been diagnosed with cancer this year. I am a mama who doesn’t know how next Mother’s Day will be. I just love your honesty and inclusiveness. Its places like this that I know I will turn to when shit gets real in a few months.

    • Oh Joanne – That is heartbreaking. No matter what happens I’ll be here and so will all the other mamas – ready to support you xox

    • Joanne, I am so sorry. I don’t have the right words, but I just wanted to say that I’m sorry that your family is on this tough road right now. My heart aches for you. You’re a strong mama, but I hope you have people to lean on too. Please come back anytime you need an ear.

  10. I love this post 🙂 My daughter came downstairs to see what was going on as I was laughing so much. I get the “are you going back to work?” question at times and it so bugs me. Is what I’m doing at home not work? I do 4 volunteer jobs as it is. I love what you write about, keep on publishing those posts. Happy Mothers Day 🙂