I had a reminder today from school about the PTA’s secret squirrel Mother’s Day mission. There’s a deadline to produce something (I deliberately didn’t look at the details), which will be made into a gift for me.
I immediately nudged my husband and asked him to talk to the kids about it as I knew they’d want to be involved and be disappointed if they missed the boat.
The mental load
My initial thought was that organising my own Mother’s Day present was the perfect example of the unequal distribution of the mental load (I work too by the way). Would the reverse happen for Father’s Day; would my husband Matt give me the heads up to make sure that I was on the case? Of course not. Matt* doesn’t even get the school emails. I did all the paperwork for the children’s’ schools when they started, which makes me the primary contact.
Aside from receiving all the memos, I make sure they have the kit they need for whatever club they’re doing, I know when all the inset days are, when random ‘team points’ mufti day is, when they need to take in the charitable donations, what day to order lunches for the week ahead, the what and when of homework, the extracurricular activities, which need paying for, World Book Day, and so on and so on…
* This is in no way a dig at him
However, there is another issue about the Mother’s Day, school-organised present…
Pressure and being left out
As much as a Mother’s Day gift organised via the PTA sounds full of good intentions, it can be a bit of a minefield. It can put unnecessary extra pressure on working parents (it’s another thing to remember/organise/fail at), it can put extra financial pressure on parents, because of course there’s a price tag attached; also there’s the issue for single parents or for children that might not find it easy to deliver what’s required or perhaps even those who don’t have a fantastic relationship with their children.
Mother’s Day opt out
On a slight aside, I’ve already received a number of Mother’s Day ‘opt-out’ emails. This basically means you can opt out from receiving any promotional content surrounding this particular calendar event. Mother’s Day, and reminders of the day, can be difficult for lots of people for many different reasons. It’s 20 years since I lost my mum, so it isn’t nearly as raw, but for others it certainly is. I think this is a very mindful response.