Scenes From A Marriage: That time he completely ignored Mother’s Day (oh yes, really)
A loud and proud, serial-ignorer of hallmark holidays, Sophie White was left (irrationally) incensed when no mention was made of her achievements in the field of mothering last week
Every now and then the other half does something so antagonistic that I genuinely wonder if he is setting the scene to frame me for his (faked) murder? Is he attempting some real-life reenactment of the plot of Gone Girl?
Usually this kind of outrageous behaviour would centre around going to play golf for 19 hours on a Sunday and leaving me to parent my own kids. On my own. All day.
Or announcing that he ate the last Magnum.
Last week, however, he took it to a new place of cruelty. He completely and utterly ignored Mother’s Day. And I mean totally ignored. No card, no lie-in, no helping the kids to bring mummy breakfast in bed, no even uttering of the words ‘happy mother’s day’.
My mother’s day started with a bang at 4:40 with aggressive chanting of ‘Paw Patrol” from the older loin fruit and some light screaming from the one-year-old. The Man was doing the best faux-sleeping I’ve ever witnessed, complete with hyper-realistic sighs and subtle snoring.
(Sidenote: We are both exceptionally good at pretending to be asleep – as all parents of young children are – so a part of me was impressed with the effort. An effort that paradoxically kind of impedes the faux-sleeper from actually getting any more sleep. Faux-sleeping requires such force of concentration that by the time your other half has accepted that they have lost in the fake sleep-off and gotten up with the kids, you, while victorious, are too awake to fall back to sleep. An irritating catch-22.)
I trudged downstairs to enjoy some pre-dawn whinging and consoled myself with the fact that I would be rewarded many times over for my sacrifice later on, especially as it’s, ya know, Mother’s Day.
Breakfast time came and went with no mention of this special day. No flowers appeared. He knew the day was happening. He rang his mother to wish her a happy mother’s day. He even asked me what I’d got for my mother. But still not even a little verbal acknowledgment of me.
I started down a deep, dark hole of resentment – helpfully powered by Instagram stories.
Every mother in the land, it seemed, was getting the 5* star treatment. Pancakes, me-time, chocolates. The resentment was intoxicating, I was becoming high off the raging as the day progressed. I almost didn’t want him to redeem himself, I was living my best life seething at him. You know the kind of prolonged rage that feels so potent, you think: “I must be burning calories on this fight’? That’s where I was at.
Around noon, I embarked on a campaign of extremely loud passive-aggressive cleaning. “This is better than cardio AND the house is getting clean.” I thought jubilantly.
Once I’d sweated out a good bit of rage at the kitchen floor, it was time to head to my mother’s for lunch and gifting (we’re heavy gifters in my family, a fact that The Man has stubbornly refused to grasp in over ten years). She had been pre-warned of the utter failure to acknowledge Mother’s Day by a series of vitriolic (and on reflection, I admit, borderline psychotic) WhatsApps and the feminist ire was strong in her at that point.
She launched a crusade of not even thinly veiled comments directed at The Man for the duration of lunch.
“Have you been spoilt rotten by your menfolk, so far? Any nice presents?” She began. The Man had located the bread, was munching happily and appeared unaware of the remark.
“Mothers,” she continued pointedly, when this first gambit produced no reaction from The Man. “They sacrifice so much for their children. Think of you, Sophie. Barely able to sit down for the first four months after having the second baby.”
The Man looked unruffled, in fact, he was sniggering slightly. My rage.
“Yeah,” he piped up. “D’you remember the little pillow you had to bring around everywhere to sit on.”
He was laughing away now. My mother looked furious.
“When I think of how Kev used to make such a fuss of me on Mother’s Day, he was such an incredible person,” she flung this emotional grenade evoking my late father down the table towards The Man. The big guns, I thought, admiringly. She’s actually playing the dead dad card.
But still nothing.
Finally, at 7pm, after the loin fruit had been tucked in and wine poured, he announced: “I know you’re expecting an apology and you should know, it’s not coming.”
“You don’t even believe in this crap, I got you flowers on Valentine’s Day and you complained that they weren’t right. And finally, and most importantly, you’re not my bloody mother!”
Oh dear, he had a point. Crap. Previous trends have shown that I hate these hallmark holidays. And I’m not his mother. Damn. I could feel my righteous upper hand slipping away. He’s a very good co-parent and pulls his weight with the loin fruit when not golfing or hiding in the loo on his phone for 45 minutes (which we all do).
And maybe I actually enjoyed my little rage, let’s face it marriage with kids and debts and boxsets and weak pelvic floors can be kind of vanilla. Maybe, it’s a good sign that he still has the power to piss me off – it means we haven’t slipped into complete apathy, just yet.
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