Mother’s Day is celebrated as an occasion that brings together families across the UK. It is a day of handmade cards, country walks and lazy afternoons with one of the most important people in our lives. Mothers are worshipped and their impact on our upbringing heralded, but inside a care home, Mother’s Day looks a little different. There are 3 faces to Mother’s Day in a home which change how you view the day, and who you celebrate.
1: Working Mothers
Despite the effort to redefine the feminine stereotype surrounding the care industry and the push for more men to enter the profession, the fact of the matter is that currently the health care industry is powered by women. 84% of carers are women, which implies that many of them will be mothers who hope to spend Mother’s Day with their own families. However, as with the other 364 days of a year, care workers strive to provide the best possible support and help for those who need it and thereby sacrificing a day of rest dedicated to mothers. Many will choose to care for more vulnerable children rather than be served breakfast in bed by their own; or look after elderly residents and not be able to spend the day with their own mothers. In the grand scheme of things missing one celebratory day should not be too impactful, as we should all show our mothers we care every day of the year; but the symbolic gesture of mothers who work in care spending their Mother’s Day looking after others instead of being pampered should not go unnoticed.
2: Mothers with Dementia
Mother’s Day can be a great chance for us all to take a breath from our busy lives and pay special attention to our mothers after all they have sacrificed for us over the years. It can be easy to take mothers for granted but one day a year the whole country makes an effort to show our mothers we care. This can be an incredibly tough day though for families dealing with dementia, for both the children and the mothers. Dementia is an uncontrollable illness that can mean a mother does not recognise or remember her own children which can make spending Mother’s Day together an uncomfortable and difficult experience. Children find it painful to have years of memories of making cards and buying presents for this one day a year but for that effort to now be wasted when their mother looks at them like a stranger. Mother’s Day is also a tough day for mother’s who are told they have children, but their bodies have erased these people and their meaning to you. It’s a struggle they face every day made only worse with the added attention and pressure of the day. Dementia UK recommends that families continue to mark Mother’s Day and recognise the role of a mother within a family, as this sense of familiarity can sometimes help bring moments of lucidity.
With a day dedicated to mothers around the country, it can be incredibly difficult for the women who are not mothers and are left out of all of the attention. Many women choose not to have children or have been unable due to medical issues or personal circumstances, which can bring up unpleasant feelings on Mother’s Day for non-mothers in care homes. Even if being a mother was never a part of your life plan and it is not a regret you have in life, being a resident in a care home when mothers are receiving so much attention and you are not is a way of being left out of a part of the community. Care homes are built around establishing a friendly and inclusive environment but subliminally separating the women without children one day a year from those who do can be a lonely feeling. The Huffington Post advises that childless women should celebrate each other on Mother’s Day as well as their own mothers, so that the sadness at not experiencing motherhood for themselves is not the overwhelming sentiment of the day.
We are all shaped by the people in our lives, whether they are parents or childless, so maybe next year, when you’re pricing up flowers for your mother, think of your aunt or close friend without children and who might be missing out on this recognition, or the working mother who is caring for your own in a care home. Every woman deserves to feel appreciated, no matter what Mother’s Day looks like for them.