Mum’s the Word

Words: Emma Howarth

The internet is awash with Mother’s Day gift guides at this time of year – flowers, scarves, jewellery, candles, slogan tees and inspirational mugs. All lovely to receive, of course, but while you’re still at the coalface of sleep-deprived parenting there’s only so far a Diptyque candle can take you. So we’ve come up with an alternative Mother’s Day wishlist that’s low on actual gifts but high on the small things that make a difference when you’re dealing with nocturnal newborns, tyrannical toddlers and the primary school admin list from hell. Leave this page open on your desktop, mamas, and cross your fingers for 11 March.

Mother’s Day Wishlist

A proper lie-in
Not one that starts with someone needing a wee at 4am and ends with a truck being rolled over your face at dawn. A proper lie-in is one where you don’t even get woken up in the first place. It requires military planning and a co-parent primed to leap out of bed at the first whisper of rousing kid. Once roused said child(ren) must be locked in a room, far, far away from the sleeping mother and bribed with whatever it takes to keep them talking in a whisper. There must be no interruptions due to lost toys, missing remote controls or not knowing where the jam is – just blissful, silent, solo sleep until the wondrous, mystical, last experienced in 2001 hour of at least 8am.

A full hour to get ready
Uninterrupted, it goes without saying. A leisurely bath, stack of magazines and enough time to blow-dry hair, look beyond the first three things in the wardrobe and maybe even take off the crumbling nail varnish applied some time in December.

Put mum in the picture
The easiest on the list but possibly the most overlooked – turn the camera on the family photo taker for the day. When my kids look back on photos of their childhood they’ll think I only showed up a couple of times a year. We have hundreds of shots of them, their friends and their birthday cakes, and a fair few of their Dad doing fatherly things with them at his side but me? There are a handful of decent ones and only one that I can recall so far this year. And I had to ask for that to be taken. Time to turn the tables – just wait until after the transformative getting ready time.

A private chef
Or failing that just someone else to manage the breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, snack, snack, tea, snack train for the day. Family catering and its associated tidying up is right up there with the most tedious of repetitive domestic chores. It’s not just the actual creation, serving and clearing up of said foodstuffs, either (though fair play if you’re reading this from a place of blissful domestic equality). If I could claw back the amount of time I spend thinking about, planning and shopping for Babybels I could nail world peace by next Tuesday. Probably.

Something sweet, personal and heartfelt
And probably forced out of them with a combination of Haribo and rash promises. We all love a sweet card, message or kid-penned poem. We all know the best of these ‘spontaneous’ love offerings ones are crafted with an eagle-eyed parent watching overhead suggesting colour changes, word substitutions and some sort of improvement on a big black scribble in the middle of the page. The effort – of both child and creative director co-parent – will not go unnoticed.

A steady supply of tea
Finally, another easy one. Start the tea delivery service with the 8am wake-up call and just keep it coming. Substituting for champagne from approx 4pm onwards totally acceptable.

Image: Scarlet & Violet