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The best Mother’s Day gift ever…

A contribution by Melanie Dowling, the mother of four teenagers/young adults, including Informer reporter, Francesca Dowling

Unless you’re one of the privileged who have cooks, housekeepers, gardeners and nannies, which are few and far between, us mothers tend to be run ragged each day with all the responsibilities of bringing up a family, managing a home and, in most cases, working a job too.

Although a new pot plant, box of chocolates or scented candle are always welcome, time from our offspring is the most welcome Mother’s Day gift of all, in my opinion.

The sound of the vacuum cleaner being put round, the clatter of the dishwasher being emptied and the noise of the lawnmower going is absolute bliss to a busy mother, especially if you haven’t had to nag for several days beforehand to get it done, often with all sorts of threats and consequences if it’s not done.

“Put your feet up Mum,” they say. “Take the day off Mum, it’s Mother’s Day,” they say. That’s all very well if, while you’ve got your feet up, taking the day off, all the jobs that you would normally be doing, are being done by someone else, aka your kids. How wonderful it would be to have dinner cooked, the washing pegged out, the loo scrubbed (that job always seems to be reserved for us mothers) or the “family” dog walked (another exclusive job of ours).

For those of us mothers who would struggle to sit around all day on the justification that it’s Mother’s Day, how about a project or a family team effort? Like getting the veggie garden done before it’s too late and another year has gone by on Watties frozen peas and carrots. My wish for a Mother’s Day gift this year is “Team Dowling Housework”. I did get a little bit of resistance when I floated the idea with my kids, the eyes got rolled, other commitments got mentioned and then “how long is that going to take” got asked, quite a few times.

“Two hours of your time, kids, that’s what I want for Mother’s Day,” was my answer. And that is what I’ll be getting, but I’ll also be getting a nice clean house and all the jobs done, ready to start the next week off organised and happy.

I’ve written a list of all the jobs that I want done (the eyes got rolled again). Then the fun started for me watching my kids argue over who got which jobs. The quickest ones got snaffled up first, like the dishwasher, next was the vacuuming and dusting, the bathrooms, washing, window cleaning and recycling followed and, surprise surprise, last on the list was who got to pick up the dog poop. My son, Vincent, got that one.

I’m secretly hoping I can make this a more regular event. Maybe I could mention that every Sunday needs to be Mother’s Day, not just once a year.

Maybe, I could also mention that candles, chocolates and pot plants are welcome too, after the jobs are done.

Happy Mother’s Day ladies. I hope you all get some time on Sunday, 8 May from your lovely, supportive, helpful family.

“Team Dowling Housework”. From the left: Vincent, Francesca, Scarlett and Rhiannon Dowling.

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