Standing in W H Smith searching for a card to send to my mother for Mothering Sunday I was faced with swathes of pink. Almost every card with was that particular shade that manufacturers and publishers deem appropriate for the female sex.
There were one or two humorous ones, but once again they were for the stereotypical mother who can’t wait for “wine o-clock” or whose whole purpose in life is to shop “until she drops.”
That this should sum up what is on offer for a day when we are celebrating motherhood seems to me iniquitous.
Motherhood is not pink and soft and filled with teddy bears, nor is it a constant drive to escape from one’s offspring. It’s not about chocolates and flowers.
Motherhood is a fierce and primitive state. The act of childbirth is hard and is followed by years of the physical and emotional work that goes into bringing up small children. As childhood is prolonged by education then these years stretch on for decades. Besides which once switched on the needs of offspring it is almost impossible to click off from the joys, worries and fears that accompany being a mother.
Being a mother is a complex and sometimes difficult role and one that I have found myself exploring in my writing. I have always been fascinated by how the generations interact, in particular mothers with their daughters. This pivotal relationship in a woman’s life can give her the confidence to grow into her own person, or prove incredibly destructive.
In my own case I was lucky. My mother was a nurturing parent who was only concerned to do the best for her children and we’ve all grown up as fairly well-adjusted people. I hope I’ve done the same for my children, but other people I have known have not been so fortunate.
In my latest novel, “Shadows on the Grass” seventeen year old Kate is a rebellious teenager who both loves and despises her ever patient mother, Hannah. Who in her turn is struggling with her feelings for her mother Mimi and trying to find her way in a foreign country where she feels she will never quite belong.
The paperback is now available and if you would like a copy of either format here’s the LINK