Every year I write a version of this post. Obviously 2021 is a complete wildcard so you may have to work around my advice this time!
…So have you planned your Mother’s Day celebrations? If not, good luck with getting it together – although, luckily, I am here to help.
To start, do something that I rarely advise – listen to Miss Vogue and buy your mother a luxurious present that isn’t related to you or the kitchen ASAP.
I also have a few little tips that will earn you a gold star sticker – or a merit badge, if you manage them all…
Give your Mum (please note the capital – she deserves it) a lie in. Change her sheets the night before if you have time. Remember reciprocity is one of the keys to peace. I prefer it if my bed looks like something from my imaginary Parisian apartment.
Make sure that a cup of tea or coffee is ready for her when she wakes up. I know some people go for breakfast in bed but make sure that she likes it. Personally, I’m a bit freaked out by the idea.
Run her a bath. I don’t mean one filled with just water. Go luxe – bubbles, a bath bomb – anything that will persuade her to spend more time over her ablutions than she normally gets when she grabs a shower in the morning.
While she’s making herself as gorgeous as always, get breakfast ready. By ‘breakfast’, I mean more than a bowl of cereal. Pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, poached eggs – make sure it’s better than the usual.
Remember, she gets both the sofa and the remote. This is not up for debate.
Give her choice. The great outdoors (for however long we’re allowed to enjoy being in it), box set, film, shopping (online) or just good food and the company of loved ones.
Related to this is the option of leaving her alone. Don’t take it personally. Seriously. We all need quality time. Sometimes – just sometimes – that means the peace and tranquillity that she rarely enjoys solo.
Decide which meal is going to be the event. Maybe her partner wants to make dinner a romantic occasion, maybe you’ve got a baby, perhaps she just really likes a roast with all of you.
Whatever happens, she doesn’t set foot in the kitchen. Grow up, people – get a recipe, read the instructions for the cooker, go to the supermarket. All you really need when you learn to cook is a clock and a book – or the interwebs now.
To be honest I would like Michel Roux Jr to cook for me – and then eat with me. Alone. As in everybody else just f*cks off and leaves me with a génial French man for as long as I want. Which could be all night. Deal with it.
The afternoon basically matches the morning. Usually I like to go to Sudley House or maybe grab a cream tea at John Lewis – after a bit of a wander around the mother ship, obviously. Now not so much – but a voucher and time on the H&M app will keep me happy.
You could always give her a posh afternoon tea. It’s pretty easy and it’s unusual in this day and age.
In previous years I would have choosen to go to the Tea Parlour in Liverpool but I would want to go with a group of friends – including the one who used to run it. Though I doubt she would appreciate a busman’s holiday.
Older children, go to bed early.
Partners – the younger children are your responsibility. Bedtime can be a nightmare. Today is not Nightmare Day. It’s Mother’s Day. Some of them gave birth. What do you think that was like? I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It. Was. No. Picnic.
Dinner can be whatever you want – as long as she loves it. A really good sandwich can be enough. I love brie, red grape and walnut on Hovis. Or even a baked potato. Or cheesecake. Or prawns…the list is endless. What I do not like is cooking for everyone every single day. Order in if she has a favourite restaurant. Why not? You can’t take her out for a meal right now.
Partners, why not use the evening as a reminder of why she chose to have kids with you? By which I do not mean ‘expect sex’. Or ‘lie about your accomplishments until she becomes cynical and leaves the table’.
The evening is absolutely hers – no kids, no relatives (thank god we don’t have to make excuses about that this year), no hassle. If she wants to watch The Notebook – as awful as it is – then you fall in line. And you will shut up and put up. I may go for The Royal Tenenbaums. My family is highly dysfunctional. It makes me feel normal.
Oh, and – if you’re still coming up short on ideas – a good bouquet of flowers, gorgeous chocolates and/or perfume always please. But be thorough – get her what she likes. The right perfume shows thought and consideration. That is priceless. To be honest, you’ve left perfume a bit late – but Boots is open at the moment as chemists are essential.
Also, if she wants to spend the day in a onesie, that’s okay. If she wants to wear a prom dress, shut up. I’m probably going for a sweater and leather leggings – but only because the catsuit featured in my old profile picture is a bit of a squeeze after a couple of good meals.
If my family is reading, I would love one of the following: a bottle of Guerlain’s Shalimar Initiale; some French roast coffee beans (ground, as I’m lazy); plane tickets to Marseille (better book for 2022); a pair of black, wide leg, sailor style pants; underwear from Coco de Mer – actually Matalan would do right now – or the latest biography of June Carter Cash (Amazon Prime same or next day delivery exists and WHSmith is also ‘essential’, apparently). I can always forward the links.
Everyone else – izzy, whizzy, get busy. Mums do a lot of jobs…you have precisely one day to learn what they are and how to perform them with a modicum of proficiency.