Mother's Day is fast approaching. It is usually the day when people remember their mother and other women who have played a significant part in their lives. It is also a day when restaurants are booked out and many businesses benefit financially from the sale of flowers, chocolates and all sorts of items bought as gifts.
Some people feel sad on Mother's Day if the woman who gave birth to them is no longer alive. They may make a trip to the cemetery and leave flowers on her grave. Perhaps they just remember their mother in their own way.
In Australian capital cities and various other centres, events are organised on Mother's Day to raise money for breast cancer research.
For some women, Mother's Day is a lonely day as their grown up children are busy with their own lives and don't get in contact or acknowledge all their mother has done for them. Some families are estranged and there can be bitterness. Mother's Day can cause past hurts to rise to the surface once more.
Women who have lost a child may feel sadness. Some who have never had children can feel left out and be rather glad when the day is past.
In the lead up to Mother's Day there is plenty of advertising on television, radio and in newspapers. As I walk down the street I see signs advertising gifts and reminding people to book a table for a meal.
Gone are the days when it was generally accepted that a gift would simply be flowers or chocolates. Gift shops take advantage of the opportunity to encourage people to buy a present for their mother and some suggest the more expensive the present, the more love you feel for your mother.
Image by Marie Vonow
These days just about anything can be advertised as a gift suggestion, not just the traditional feminine items like perfume, slippers, dressing gown or jewellery. Businesses may suggest a tool box, power tool, lawnmower, bbq or high pressure cleaner. Some DIY mothers would be happy to receive such a gift and others would love something for the garden.
There are some who would be excited to receive a voucher for skydiving or a ride in a hot air balloon. (In case my sons are reading this, no this is not a hint. I will always like to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.)
The cynic inside me feels many businesses are keen to profit as much as they can from Mother's Day and are not concerned with encouraging people to show true love and appreciation for their mother, or for anyone else.
Some families avoid large outlays of money on this day and keep it simple. Handmade cards and gifts involve time and thought rather than lots of money. Spending plenty of time with Mum, rather than getting the visit over as quickly as possible, can show you care. This can be tricky when there is more than one 'mother' to visit on the day. There may also be a mother-in-law, a stepmother or other mother figure.
There are some families who may not make a big deal of Mother's Day but visit Mum regularly throughout the year or keep in touch in other ways when distance makes visits difficult or impossible.
Some may prefer to avoid the crowded restaurants and possibly higher prices on Mother's Day and take Mum out for a meal at a different time when venues are quieter.
Image by Marie Vonow
Mother's Day has a different meaning and level of importance for each individual. In some circumstances a long standing family feud can mean Mother's Day is no different from any other day. Some people don't need a special day to remind them to be 'nice' to Mum. Others feel Mother's Day is too commercialised and they choose to take a stand by not spending money on a big present or fancy meal. They may show their love for their mother in other ways.