"Ooh I bet you're looking forward to your very first Mother's Day, aren't you?!"
I have heard this question at least 100 times in the last week (OK, a couple). Well actually, no, I'm not. Mother's Day is banned in my house.
I have always dreaded the lead-up to this tense event. Having never had an overly close relationship with my mother, the idea of sending a card full of overblown, romantic nonsense sticks in my craw a bit.
I don't think she's the best mother in the world. I love her and I wish her well but "mum in a million"? "Not just my mum but my best friend"? I don't think so.
One of my problems is these unrealistic slogans. Can you get cards that say, "You're my mum and I love you but I'd prefer it if we had a better relationship" or just, "All the best on this arbitrary day"? No. You can get cards with enormous angels and a hyperbolic statement of extreme devotion or you can get a Monet card Blank Inside For Your Message. Either way, it's a lie or a diss.
And half of us aren't even aware of why we do it. Apparently it dates back to the 16th century when young apprentices and young women in service were released by their masters on an annual visit to their church. We're no longer labourers working on the land, desperately hoping the gods will favour us with a good harvest. We ignore Harvest Festival (well, I do) so why do I have to endure this guilt-laden obligation year after year? I'm really no killjoy. I want to bring my daughter up to celebrate things that should be celebrated. If you love someone and want to tell them, send them a card. If she draws me a picture or writes me a heartfelt message then I will be delighted, of course, but the idea that she will feel obliged to congratulate me for squeezing her out horrifies me.
She's got the difficult business of growing up to do, whereas I have the pleasure of raising my child. Giving birth isn't an altruistic act. The day I sell a kidney to pay for her Harvard education or leap in front of a bus to save her life she can give me a card. Why should I have one when all I have done so far is keep her alive, feed and clothe her. Pretty basic asks.
I am completely not alone in this. Several female friends find Mother's Day variously awkward, ire-inducing and tense. And for many of my male friends it's just one more way they can be seen to let their mother down by forgetting them. And that's not what celebrations are about, is it?