The Card Industry doesn’t deliberately set out to make our life difficult, but it does.
I’m sure there’s some deep and wonderful meaning behind the original Mother’s Day, but it’s a bit of a minefield if you foster or adopt.
Whether it’s adverts in shops or a simple craft activity at a Playgroup or school, making a card for someone called ‘Mum’ is tricky if you don’t live with your Mum, you don’t know your Mum, or you only see her for supervised contact once a week or once a year.
How are you supposed to feel about a Mum who may have mistreated you?
It’s also tricky for your ‘current maternal scenario’.
What is the card etiquette with regard to the person who is ‘currently mothering’ you?
Do you make a card but address it to ‘My Foster Mum’ or ‘My SGO Mum’ or ‘Helen’?
Do you make breakfast in bed for the lady who looks after you, when your safeguarding plan states: ‘You should not be in each other’s bedrooms, and should be appropriately dressed at all times’.
And how does it feel to be a Mum separated from your children?
I know I’m drifting away from Mother’s Day, but here are a couple of anecdotes about me, a male, that may put a bit more meat on this particular bone.
We have an adopted son.
He calls me Phil in the house.
He calls me Dad when we’re out and about.
For a long time he called me ‘Bill’, because he couldn’t say ‘Phil’.
We went to France and he called me Philippe.
He found this hilarious and still calls me Philippe if we ever have croissants for breakfast.
The same child also said to me one Father’s Day:
‘You’re the best Dad I’ve ever had. The others have been shit’.
The same son always calls my wife ‘Mum’.
Sometimes he will refer to his ‘Tummy Mummy’ or his ‘other Mummy’ or will use her ‘first name’.
He’s had other mother figures too.
Like many kids, he bounced around in care for some years before he ended up with us.
Occasionally, he will talk about ‘a woman where I lived…I don’t know her name’.
I’d love to end this blog with a pithy, wise, statement that will make us all feel better.
But I can’t.
The truth is, for each kid and each family, we’re making it up as we go along, managing a wild and erratic range of emotions and doing our best, each day.
However, you got your mother, and whoever you’re mothering, enjoy today.