Collective Self-Congratulatory Crap at Kiss Me and Be Quiet

(Cross-posted from Kiss Me and Be Quiet)

It comes as no surprise to those that know me that I am not a fan of Mother’s Day. I’m not generally a fan of commercialised general days (Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day come under my ‘kill switch’ too). However, this year I felt myself more cross than usual and simply ignoring it by myself doesn’t seem quite enough. So I’ll blog about it too, because, you know, that’ll do it.

Here’s a snapshot of some Mother’s Day present suggestions that have been witnessed by me this year:

Ikea: an ironing board.

Local magazine article making suggestions to kids: Do the washing up for her for a day.

A Telegraph article that’s frankly so full of crap it’s hard to know which line to pick out – spa products for the stressed mum who’s looking tired and dishevelled, cookery books, handbags, sportswear, or flowers for the mum who has everything. Apparently it’s our duty to put her first for 24 hours because we’re so crap at it the rest of the year – I paraphrase, but you get the gist.

Taking her out to brunch / lunch / dinner – to save her the washing up.

A spa day.

A spa day.

A spa day. [Repeat to fade]

It is disheartening to find that in 2014, we are falling over ourselves to suggest that we should be giving a woman 1 day off the housework, or cooking, and that the only thing that might genuinely interest her on her 1 day off doing the housework is her appearance.

Here are some suggestions for Father’s Day gifts / events from last year:

Den building in various National Trust locations.

Power tools.

Golf days, football days, drive a fast car days, sports stadium tours.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but perhaps it would make more sense to buy *him* the sodding ironing board if he’s not managed to find it in the last 364 days? Seems high time he might need one.

The gender stereotypes of these two parenting days are not just irritating, they don’t happen in a vacuum, they are reinforcing every aspiration-limiting message we give to our children. I don’t want to teach my children that mums do the cleaning and dads drive fast cars, put up shelves and kick a football. I don’t want to teach my children that mums are allowed 1 day off the tedious housework, while dads are allowed 365 days a year of fun. These are damaging messages to give to adults. They are damaging messages to give to our children.

This is collective, self-congratulatory, self-delusional crap (I was going to say nonsense, but it needs a much, much stronger word than that), on a national scale, and I see no reason to celebrate it.

Kiss Me and Be Quiet: “Be plain in dress, and sober in your diet; In short my deary, kiss me and be quiet.” A satirical summary of Lord Lyttelton’s Advice to women, written by Lady May Wortley Montagu in the 1700s. Not enough has changed since then. I am a feminist, parent to two small children, and I have lived with chronic back pain for nearly two years, and counting. These are 3 topics that occupy a lot of my thinking. I’ll share some of those thoughts with you here.