Special occasions or not, the list of jobs is never-ending for mums.
Special occasions or not, the list of jobs is never-ending for mums. iStock

Old saying still rings true - a mother's work is never done

I AM writing this on Mother's Day. What started out with breakfast in bed (before my usual wake-up time) and some lovely gifts quickly descended into making them snacks, putting dinner in the slow cooker and beginning my usual Sunday shift from home.

I have also done laundry, dishes and talked to them all about their inability to share. It was a loud talk. There may have been a cuss word.

And right now, they're upset with me because I won't let them annoy the mum next door by playing with the kids over there.

It's boring at our house apparently.

I honestly don't want to be a sourpuss - I did enjoy the pancakes, cuddles and the gorgeous frames beside my bed - but let's face it, Mother's Day can become rife with unmet expectations.

Because as the saying goes, a mother's work is never done.

I realised this on the weekend when I went out for a night with friends - enlisting the help of a wonderful teen to babysit (a first for my children) - only to find myself busily texting and rescheduling as the night wore on.

The undeniably fun evening still came with a side of guilt and mild frustration on my part for not being better organised.

Knowing that connecting with other grown-ups is vital to one's mental health, I still struggled with the mental load required just to be away from my children. And today, I find myself struggling with the mental load required to be with my children.

This week, rather than celebrating my triumphs as a parent or indulging myself in wine and fun, I have become keenly aware that I live my days out between a rock and a hard place.

And the trap of things like Mother's Day is we begin to think we exist in a vacuum. That every other person is getting flowers, having a manipedi, or simply just looking at their sublime children and feeling grateful.

I'm over here about to tell mine to be quiet again so I can finish writing a column which is very likely going to resurface on a psych's couch one day.

I can no longer wish my own mum a happy Mother's Day, but I remember her joking once that she'd have done a better job, had she known I would be a writer. And while I would jest at her forgetfulness, or her inability to get anywhere on time, it would now seem that the joke is on me.

Peta Jo is an author, mother of three and apparently has the "best hugs”.