Tomorrow is Mothers Day. When I was a child, this day was mainly about a card for my mother, made at school or at Brownies and a silver foil wrapped bunch of daffodils given during the church service for me to pass, with clammy hands, down the pew to my mother.
Today, nearly forty years later, I entered a supermarket and was confronted with a full commercial "buy this stuff now or it is landfill tomorrow" sales push. Never seen so many pink and yellow chrysanthemum bouquets, so much cheap pink champagne. It was literally a bank of pastel, blocking entry to the main shopping area. In John Lewis yesterday, they were pushing the slogan "make her day special" or some similar thing - and most of the posters seemed to be grouped around sickly coloured sewing accessories and slippers. Next was pushing slogan-laden homewares - all in pastel colours.
How did this happen? I do not in any way object to the sentiment behind Mothers Day. But since when did it become pastel and 1950s style? I do wonder what our near ancestors would make of it. All the women who pushed for the vote, for job opportunities, for equal education. They could be forgiven for wondering if anything had changed at all if they materialised in some of the shops today.
One could argue that no-one is obliged to buy pastel stuff. But what does it say about our society as a whole, that this is assumed to be what is wanted by the masses? Bit chicken and egg, I think. Do supermarkets and others force people down this route or are they stocked to the gills because their research tells them it is what their customers want?
Of course, I am slightly bah humbug here. My husband is as likely as many to be in that customer base. Dashing to get a supermarket bouquet for fear of me feeling left out. So probably therein lies another whole debate - is this pastel vision of motherhood aimed at the male customer base? And if so, what does that say about men's true views? Is the traditional (and pastel!) thing just very comforting or is it just easy?
Of course, it is lovely to receive gifts and, pastel or not, it is the thought that counts. I can't help thinking it might be nice to have a less commercialised vision of Mothers Day though. Personally, I am hoping for breakfast in bed and children who don't argue for the duration. That's not much to ask, is it?!