Mother’s Day is coming up next Sunday in Ireland, the UK and a few other countries. The US, of course, has its Mother’s Day in May. For most livestock farmers, having Mother’s Day in March means that it’s the busiest time of the year because even if calves and lambs aren’t being born that weekend, there’s usually lots of them to be cared for. Therefore, time tends to be short in terms of women getting time to relax and for husbands to have time to organise something nice – although being busy is always a handy excuse of course!
We have gone out for lunch occasionally but sometimes usually goes wrong so we end up being late. Everywhere is packed and then it’s a rush back for the evening milking and feeding of calves. When the children were smaller and they made lots of things in primary school, I used to come in to a breakfast table decorated with cards, school-made gifts, bunches of daffodils and pancakes. I’m not sure what I’ll get from them this year! A couple of years ago, Brian wanted to bring his mother out for dinner but there were two cows starting to calve. I elected to stay at home and I really didn’t mind a bit. I think I cooked myself cheese on toast, lit the fire and read a book with one eye on the calving camera. I might have consumed a lot of tea and chocolate too. Brian and the kids brought me back a black handbag. I’m not really a bag person but thought it was fine. I probably wasn’t grateful enough as what has amused me since is that I use this bag for about six months of the year every year and the number of women who have admired it is extraordinary. It’s fine, it’s black, it’s a bag, but I obviously haven’t got the “bag appreciation” gene in me.
I decided to ask some other farm women what they would like to receive on Mother’s Day and the good news is that most of the choices don’t involve much money or even that much time so if you haven’t got around to doing anything for your wife / mum yet, don’t panic.
- Maintenance Day – Just remember that what you’d like to do on a lazy day off might be very different to what she would like. While you might see a day pottering repairing a tractor without any interruptions as pure bliss, she might prefer a massage or a day at a spa or an afternoon with a book. Work out what she’d like and give her time to do it.
- Cook dinner – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy and to be honest, a roast is about the easiest dinner there is so just roast everything – the meat, the potatoes and the veg. But even baked potatoes would probably go down well as long as she didn’t have to cook them.
- Wash up after the dinner, light the fire and let her watch her favourite movie.
- Cake / chocolate – it doesn’t have to be a fancy box of chocolates either as long as it’s a big slab of her favourite chocolate, it will go down well. And make the tea/coffee to go with it – in her favourite mug.
- Time on her own – yes, she loves you all dearly but even an hour or two of uninterrupted time to do something she wants to do would be hugely appreciated. It might be potter in the garden or go for a run or read a book or soak in a bubble bath.
- Cuddles – from you and the kids
- If buying a gift, it doesn’t have to be expensive. A book with a promise to give her peace to read it, something for the garden or even something to make her life on the farm easier – if you know she’d like it!
See, farm mums have to be the most undemanding mums there are. Amongst the ladies I asked, I don’t think anyone mentioned going out for lunch, an expensive gift or flowers. But of course, if there are daffodils growing in your garden, it wouldn’t hurt to pick her a bunch!
And of course, if you do want to get her something small, it’s never too late to show her that you think she’s the perfect farm wife!
Oh, and I wrote a short article for Farmland magazine about Mother’s Day too if you’d like to have a read.