You know what, kraken-lovers? Since Kraken Junior clawed her way out of my abdomen via my shredded love tunnel I’ve learned a lot about motherhood. I’ve learned that midwives only ever re-stitch vaginas to make them look like tortellini and that babies are one per cent solid matter,11 per cent panic and 88 per cent fermented mucus. I’ve also learned that you never get used to having a conversation through the bathroom door while taking a shit and that you should never explain death to a child immediately before bedtime. However, there is one thing that I have learned more than any other, and it is this: I utterly fucking despise Mothers’ Day cards.
Now, I’m not talking about the cards that Kraken Junior brings home from school, even though they display as much artistic prowess as a donkey with a paint brush shoved up its left nostril. I’m talking about the kind of Mothers’ Day cards you buy in the shops. You can’t have missed them because the sickly fuckers are everywhere, what with Mothers’ Day hitting the nation between the eyes this coming Sunday. Go on, nip into Tesco, Asda, Cintons or Paperchase and get your fill of what looks like a dissected cervix. I shit you not, you’ll find enough shades of pink to make a smear nurse weep into a speculum and that’s even before see the designs that are allegedly synonymous with modern womanhood.
You see, if Mothers’ Day cards aren’t festooned with flowers and tea pots, they’re infected with image after image of cupcakes, dresses and shoes in what I am assuming is some barely disguised attempt to convince womankind that we still live in 1946. They are one photoshop blitz away from telling women how to gravy-brown their legs. And even if I alight upon the least stereotypical card the chances are that the message inside will make me punch a kitten in the throat. That’s because it’ll no doubt tell me to forget the ironing and put up my feet or it’ll thank me for making endless batches of cookies, both of which are unhinged because, as Conjugal Kraken says, the only time I’m ever in the kitchen is when I’m walking through it to get to the back door.
It’s seriously as if there is only one mother in the whole of the nation – like the heroine of some dystopian novel – and all of the cards in production are written for her. Yeah, OK, she likes Earl Grey, pansies, Victoria sponge and Laboutins but what about the rest of the women in the bloody country? At what point will we get Mothers’ day cards that represent us? If Kraken Junior were to buy me a honest card for Mothers’ day it’d thank me for pinching her arse, mastering the microwave, teaching her to say gusset and laughing so hard that I’ve actually pissed my pants. At no point would it suggest that I’m a connoisseur of loose-leaf fucking tea. That’s exactly the card I’ll get, though, because that’s the only type of card there is. Thanks, Hallmark, for using distilled meaninglessness to celebrate the one day of the year when I get thanked for shearing my vagina from my perenium during childbirth.
Fact is that I don’t want a Mothers’ Day card that is the cardboard equivalent of the Chelsea Flower Show. I want a card that reflects me, a woman battling her way through 2014 by holding down a career and a family while taking fistfuls of anti-depressants and watching her social life slip away. Is that really too much to fucking ask? Well, if you check out the supermarket shelves it’s the equivalent of asking Stephen Hawking to star in Riverdance. It’s not going to happen.
And in all fairness, it’s not just women who suffer. It’s men too. Seriously, every Fathers’ Day I buy Conjugal Kraken a card on behalf of Kraken Junior and am faced with a similar wasteland. The cards are all blue instead of pink – natch – but have images of beer instead of cake and football instead of shoes. Oh, and if I’m lucky I also get to choose from cards that display, for inexplicable reasons, golf, cricket, TV, tractors or classic cars. It’s like the creative industry’s version of The Twilight Zone.
That’s why this Mother’s Day I will beseech Kraken Junior to make her own card for me. Not because I have an adoration of scribbling, shit handwriting or her insistence of giving every portrait of me a beard but because it will at least avoid shades of fuscia, icing sugar and vintage bloody crockery. Yup, it comes to something bleak when my six year old is more capable of understanding the needs of the modern woman than an entire industry that’s apparently dedicated to it. You want to light up my Mothers’ Day? Then do me a favour and set fire to Hallmark.