Things I’ve Learned From Mother’s Day

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Mother’s Day is a funny kind of day. It means different things to different people and can be a day of happiness and fun, a day of obligation and pressure, a day of disappointment, or a day of sadness.

These are the things I learned from Mother’s Day this year.


A Mother’s Day card comes in so many styles. Flowery and affectionate, brightly coloured and funny, simple and elegant. What you picks tells your mother how you think of her, and what you write in side it tells your mother how much you love her. The Boy’s mother showed us photos over Mother’s Day dinner, not of her flowers and gifts, but of the cards her sons had sent her. One amused her, made her smile because the son who chose it obviously chose it to make her laugh. The other was pretty and full of love, chosen by a son who wants her to know how much she is valued. Ours was handmade with a heartfelt message of motherly love inside. Cards carry the message of love we feel.

Photo credit Wok AndAPix

Photo credit Wok AndAPix


Whilst I don’t subscribe to the belief that Mother’s Day is all about the gifts, I equally think what you do choose says a lot and can make the special mother in your life feel appreciated. The Boy and I did a swap. He bought for my mum and I for his, and the results were fabulous. Both mothers recevied very different gifts, both mothers felt thought of and cared for, and The Boy and I exchanged high fives for our successes.

In equal measure, the ridiculously sized bar of chocolate which was one of my gifts from Miss Rose was enjoyed by The Boy and myself as well as the two children, which meant pleasure was spread round our house and that is a fabulous thing for a gift to do.


The Boy’s ex-wife and I could be in a very difficult position, especially with days like Mother’s Day. There could be competition, resentment. There wasn’t. For one of her gifts I helped Z make a handprint canvas for her, which she loved, and she turned up with Mother’s Day flowers for myself, which surprised and delighted me. Perhaps generations of painful divorces have left modern mums with a desire to avoid it all and just put differences behind us, but I know that when Z was with his mum, Miss Rose was with me, and The Boy was hovering between the two of us there was no quarrel, no resentment, just smiles and chatter and happiness. Two mothers on Mother’s Day, respecting one another, and enjoying one another’s company.

Photo credit Unsplash

Photo credit Unsplash


The Boy is not Miss Rose’s biological father and, as she has one, I was anticipating that he would not be responsible for her tokens of Mother’s Day love. As I didn’t even get a text message from The Ex-Husband and The Boy and Miss Rose together presented me with a lovely card and gifts, I realised that love really does stand for a hell of a lot more in the parenting stakes than biology ever could.


Mother’s Day carries a weight of obligation. For small children husbands must step up, for grown up children they’re required to present the value and size of gift required to keep their mother smiling. Not in every case, obviously, and for most of us it’s just nice to have been remembered. But for some the competition over who’s husband loves them most, or which child provided the best gift, is a way of shaming others and boosting egos. Give it a rest girls, just be grateful the people in your life love you and got you anything. It’s about your family not who’s Facebook photos got the most likes and “wow” comments.


For those of us who’s mothers have passed, the pain is never more prominent than on Mother’s Day. The streets, restaurants, social media and shops are filled with children and families celebrating their mums. That one special person who nobody can replace, and who when they’re gone leave a hole in your life that remains forever in shade. There is no escaping, no avoiding, you just have to confront the images of people having that one thing you would love more in life than anything and know you will never get; a hug from your mum. Grudges, old arguments and irritations don’t matter. All you want is a hug from your mum on Mother’s Day. For these people my heart goes out.


At Mother’s Day Dinner last night there were three mothers. Me, my mum, and The Boy’s mum. There was wine, food, laughter, chatting. We celebrated having children, being children, raising children. We were toasted by the husbands and fathers, and we ate and drank ourselves proud. Ultimately Mother’s Day for me doesn’t come down to the gifts or the cards, it comes down to who you celebrate with and what they mean to you. I am proud of the child I raise, adore the two mothers I admire and respect most, and feel loved by the man I help raise my baby girl with. At dinner last night I felt blessed and I felt lucky, and I felt distinctly well fed.

Photo credit Rachel Bostwick

Photo credit Rachel Bostwick

Whether you are a mother, will be a mother, or love a mother, I hope you had a wonderful day. Motherhood is exhausting, time consuming, body ruining and hard, but it is the best thing I ever did in my life.

You can check out all my contact info an links on, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!



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