Sunday is Mothers’ Day or Mothering Sunday or
any excuse to sell anything whatever it’s called these days. However you look at it, it’s hard to forget, avoid or not be a part of.
It’s a poignant day for me; more one of remembrance than celebration as sadly, My Mum died a few years ago. The first year after her death, Mothers’ Day was incredibly painful. I was still deep in grief and remember walking along the flower market on Columbia Road among, what seemed like, everyone else taking their Mum out for lunch. The place was alive with smiles, flowers, cakes, cards, presents and I felt like I was in a dream, a bad one, where my voice made no sound and my legs wouldn’t work. But I continued to walk, and clutching a bunch of flowers bought out of some kind of pavlovian habit, I bit my lip and cringed behind sun glasses. For every year of my life, as far back as I can remember, I’d given flowers to my Mum (or possibly weeds from the garden when I was really small) and it was almost as if I’d forgotten that this year was any different. But it was, and it will always be. Mother’s Day was her day, the day when we could all thank her for keeping a bunch of six rowdy kids in order; feeding us, clothing us, smearing wince-inducing germolene on grazed knees and of course, not hiding the sweet jar on Saturdays. And that part of my life is now long gone. And Mothers’ Day still makes it painfully acute.
Hot on the heels of Valentine’s and St David’s day, Mothers’ Day is a biggie in marketing and that means emails, oodles of them. Tens, if not hundreds of them land in my inbox full of the great count down sales spiel. I sometimes wonder if anyone who writes the promotional copy for these emails ever thinks about how many of the thousands of people they are sending them to will flinch slightly, be hurt or distressed by the content. Or is that just counted as wastage? The small percentage of emails that languish unopened, while others are gleefully read and sales are made.
Here’s just a small selection of some of the sales emails I’ve received in the last four days.
“Give mum a hug on Sunday. And when she finally lets you go, surprise her with something special from the treats below. You’ll probably get another hug. And you can never have too many of those.”
“Order now to get your Mother’s Day gifts in time!”
“Mother’s Day is just few days away from now; Grab a gift will surely make your mum feel precious. It’s the last chance to prepare gifts for your dear mum!”
“Treat your mum this Mother’s Day with a box of Elizabeth Shaw Mint Crisp Dark Chocolates.”
“What will you give you Mum on Sunday?”
“No one has, or ever will, love you as much as your dear old mum. She spent her life doing everything she can for you – from changing nappies to doing your homework, being your 2am taxi ride home and the bank from which you‘ve taken endless loans.”
“We’ve been working hard to bring you some incredible Mother’s Day deals! Put a big smile on Mum’s face and raise a donation”
“Don’t forget to send your Mum a personalised card. Add her name to a card or upload a photo of the family and let her know you appreciate all that she does.”
The wording is so clumsy, so directive and panicky that it puts me off ever buying from these companies, not just now, but ever. I know I’m in the minority here, so I’m not suggesting that companies stop marketing Mothers’ Day to avoid upsetting sensitive souls like me, but I’ve yet to get to the stage where I can feel honestly cynical about receiving all these emails. I feel bombarded by them and many are unsolicited, from companies I’ve never had any dealings with. I mutter to myself like a mad woman ‘Yeah, she’d love a box of chocolates and a card right now,’ when I receive them, and all the while a part of me is still at a complete loss. It’s a simple fact, losing your Mum is something you’ll never get over. These crass emails are not to blame, they just shine a light on a wound, and that wound never seems to heal completely.
I expect to get many more ‘buy now!’ emails over the next few days, so it’s time to batten down the hatches and keep pressing delete. Give it a few more days, and it’ll all change to Easter bonnets and chocolate marketing anyway, and yes, I can always unsuscribe from mailing lists….
This Sunday, I’m going to celebrate by opening a bottle of pink fizz and raising a glass to the sky (and avoid reading anything electronic).
Happy Mothers’ Day to all of you, everywhere.