On Sunday, we will celebrate Mother’s Day in various parts of the world. The sales of bouquets, pyjamas, and kitchen paraphernalia will likely hit the roof over the weekend. Speaking as a mother, these gifts will in, all likelihood, be appreciated. There are, however, other thoughtful gifts and gestures which are more likely to hit the mark.
Motherhood has never been easy, because mothers carry the heavy burden of the happiness of her children and household. However, today it is more challenging than ever. The expectations of modern mothers surpass those of previous generations. The modern mother is not only expected to be the homemaker but also carries the responsibility of launching her children into an increasingly competitive world. This, in addition, to fending for her financial security and often the financial future of her family too.
It is a steep ask. It means mothers are perpetually exhausted, sleep deprived, over-stretched, and time-famished. It also means that mothers don’t always get to mothering. They don’t get to spend time with their kids to enjoy the very things that motherhood is truly about. Before long, kids leave the nest, and mothers are left waiting for brief moments of connection when kids make time to return home. It is the mother’s job to prepare them to leave, but the reward is often heart-breaking for them. In the end, many mothers are left alone. And for some mothers, their sacrifice also ends in financial dependency.
Perhaps, instead of popping into the garage shop for a bunch of flowers on the way to your mum this Sunday (hopefully not to a meal she cooked), or sending an expensive gift, why not think about what she needs? Perhaps just a card expressing gratitude for her contribution to your life. Perhaps spend some time with her, really talking to her. Perhaps let her sleep in. Perhaps offer your help with tasks that will shrink her to-do list. Fix something for her. Make her a playlist to relax to in a long bath.
Of course, I understand that not everyone has a close or even a reasonable relationship with their mothers. But what I also understand, is that most mothers do the best they can.
From a financial perspective, it irks me that mothers pay such a high price for motherhood. So many give up their own opportunities for financial freedom because it is expected of them, or it is just too difficult to balance motherhood and financial independence. This Mother’s Day, can we not think of how we can help to bring financial security to all the mothers in our circle of influence? Those mothers employed by you, those whose money you manage, those who depend on you for security, those whom you can help through charity. That may mean giving her the time and resources to pay attention to her financial affairs. It may even involve financial education for those lacking access. Empowering a mother financially also empowers a family and a community.
Whether it be big or small gestures, make them thoughtful, and observant of the real needs of mothers on this Mother’s Day.