It’s Mothering Sunday in the UK. After a lie in I expected to decide whether to chance a walk in the sunshine, or to spend the day curled up with a good book. What I did not expect was to quoted in a number of newspapers in the UK and Australia! We all are, supposedly famous for 15 minutes, and this may be mine, although it is slightly disconcerting to appear in articles without lifting a finger (Perhaps though I should celebrate that, I am a busy person after all)
What appears to have happened is that a journalist has lifted a tweet I made asking how people felt about Mothers Day, and treated it as a quote to them.
A lot of people struggle with Mother’s Day, as I wrote about here. For those who have lost mothers, had abusive mothers, or could never be mothers, it is a time very often of grief and mourning. Mourning sometimes what never was, as much as what has been lost. There are also what we describe as non traditional families, 2 dads, or single dads, or grandparents, all doing a brilliant job of “mothering” their kids. Then there are those who may have given birth, or have wombs, but who do not, for whatever reason feel the word mother applies to them.
One might say, if family relationships were simple, Freud would have been out of a job. Not that I am a Freudian of course, but it is a simple fact that our relationships with our mothers, and with ourselves as parents, is complex, nuanced and often painful.
Had the Mail on Sunday, The Sunday Times or The Australian contacted me, I would have loved to have talked to them about how we make Mothering Sunday a day which not only celebrates the wonderful people out there doing a great job of parenting, but also acknowledges how it can be a difficult day. This is hardly a new conversation, I remember the pastor at my church many years ago insisting all women in the congregation got a posy on Mothering Sunday, not just those known to be mothers. He shared how he and his wife had been trying for a baby, unsuccessfully, on a previous Mothering Sunday, and he explained how the pain of being passed over by posy carrying children had cut deeply. In fact only unilad have reached out to ask what I really thought, and why the old fashioned Mothering Sunday might be a better name, for lots of reasons. This might suggest that our more modern media outlets have a better handle on how to behave ethically in the 21st century,
There is an important lesson here, not so much about journalism, but about social media. I have a social media policy that every client I work with has to read and agree with. Social media, especially Twitter, is not private and the unscrupulous may seek to make use of something which we believed was a conversation between friends. Perhaps this fifteen minutes of fame for me is a timely reminder to always be 100% sure of what we put on social media, and if we are not sure, to share things more privately.
Now, I plan to walk to a local farm for homemade ice cream, and to remind myself , fame is transitory and fleeting, what matters is the values we have, and how we adhere to them.