I never knew that the origin of Mother's day was a Christian festival called Mothering Sunday where people returned to the Mother church for the day . A bit like Christmas, the religious aspect is lost to most of us modern sons and daughters.
Last night (yes another partly sleepless one!) I started thinking of songs that had some form of "mother" in them. Instantly the lyrics of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody come to mind "MAMA, I just killed a man, held a gun against his head, pulled the trigger shot him dead" "Mama I didn't mean to make you cry wooohoooooooooo hoooooo". My God, I love it. So much so that I once chose to sing it during a night out in a Korean karaoke club. What a bad mistake - it's a bloody long song for someone who cannot hold a tune.
Then there is Junior Walker's "Mama used to say" where the boy is told to take his time, take it in his stride and not rush to get old. Good words.
However, the definitive mother has to be the Harlan Howard song No Charge as sung by Tammy Wynette. The internet, that slippery sneaky thing that it is has a number of different versions for the lyrics. A little child (sometimes it's a boy, other times it's a girl) hands the mother who's fixing dinner a bill for all the chores he /she has done. Before I had kids the following part of the song would reduce me to tears:
"For the nine months I carried you, no charge,
For the nights I've stayed up with you, doctored you, prayed for you, no charge,
For the ties, folding clothes and for wipin' nose, there's no charge
When you add it all up, the full cost of my love is, no charge"
At this point, the kid looks up at the mother with big old tears in his/her eyes, takes the previously proferred bill and writes "Paid in full" on it.
A bit like the kid by the end of the song I tell you - since having had a kid my understanding of motherhood has changed. In the vein of walking a mile in someone else's shoes/penny dropping/lightbulb over the head moment I have realised how hard it was for some of the mothers out there. I've written before about my amazing mum who moved continents, the second time on her own with three brats under 6 to deal with. I see both my sister-in-laws in a new light - one again living in a foreign country and raising her kids without much help from us the "family", and the other raising an autistic son. Amazing I tell you. And I think that partly what the song is about is appreciation for all mothers.
I admit when my little one was being a right little madam, I told her how much I regretted giving up work, independence and general freedom to stay at home and deal with her annoying habits. She's four, I'm an idiot. She didn't ask to be born and I don't expect her to pay for it. She's at the stage where she knows she needs me. One day, probably when she has her own kids, she'll appreciate what being a mum is and so big blowy raspberries to the "no charge". And in the meantime, if by any chance she does a chore, I will be probably be so gob-smacked that I'll just hand over all my debit cards. Now that will bring a tear to the eye, no charge.