Why we’re celebrating all the mothers out there

Why we’re celebrating all the mothers out there

Have you asked your mother how she is recently? Has anyone asked you how you are feeling? Has anyone even made you a cup of tea? Chances are, if you are a mother – or a carer – you’re ready for a holiday. Or breakfast in bed and a bunch of daffodils, at least. A day off from the daily routine would be more than welcome, as would a chance to win our Mother’s Day Gift Pack – with treats from Chocolate and Love, Liz Earle, DAME, and a gift voucher from us at Ninety Percent.

We know that mothers have had a particularly heavy load to carry over the past twelve months. They’ve been juggling even more than usual. As Heather Chauvin, a recent guest on Zoe Blaskey’s brilliant The Motherkind Podcast discussed, it’s time to rethink what a ‘good’ mother means. ‘Are you living or just surviving?’ she asked. Chauvin herself did not confront this issue until it was almost too late, after she had been diagnosed with stage four cancer. That personal challenge puts the Covid 19 pandemic into perspective, but for many women, this has been a time to reassess priorities, and for mothers, and carers too, it’s been a period of just surviving, an endless cycle of routine cleaning, cooking, home schooling, working, worrying, coping. While key workers and NHS staff have been the heroes of the pandemic, so too, have mothers. Nobody has been clapping for them though. Their work and their ability to hold not just families but societies together, often goes unseen, unpaid, and undervalued.

The past year has left mothers feeling burnt out, guilty, anxious and exhausted. They’ve been trying to work from home, meet the constant snacking, technical and wellbeing needs of their children, looking after the house, ensuring they are providing three healthy-ish meals a day, trying to sound as though they understand algebra, finding Pritt stick and art materials whilst trying to hold a Zoom meeting together with work colleagues, finding time to read with their kids, taking them for run around the park for some fresh air and exercise, doing the laundry, putting the clothes away, and then starting all over again next morning. It’s been relentless. Even with partners who share the load, it seems that it’s mothers who somehow shoulder the emotional burden.

The pandemic has highlighted huge inequalities that still exist between men and women. Things have not moved on quite as much as we thought since our mothers’ generation, or even our grandmothers. An ONS survey last year showed that women took on 78% more childcare than men during the first lockdown. A more recent ONS survey found that 67% of women compared with 52% of men were taking on the responsibility of teaching their children at home.

At Ninety Percent, we don’t underestimate the mothers we work with. We are fully aware that when they’ve finished a day’s work – whether running the company, designing the collection, sourcing the yarns for our knits, organising our PR, managing the production, or working on a sewing machine – they will go home to carry on their work as mothers. We know that they care for their children and families, and sometimes care for their own mothers, and grandmothers too. At our Echotex factory in Bangladesh, they offer all their employees a hot lunch, a creche, an onsite healthcare clinic, free sanitary protection. They work with the non-profit organisation Phulki on the rights of women, children and vulnerable people, including family planning and help with parenting. We know as a responsible brand, this is the least we can do. But we also know that mothers never stop, and they need looking after too.

Mother’s help:

Go for a walk with a good podcast:

The Motherkind Podcast is a great support network if you are feeling a little low, or want some inspiration or food for thought from other mums to “become the most alive, joyful version of you”

Write a letter:

Our friends at DAME (have you seen our interview with entrepreneur and mother Celia Pool) have some very useful and creative ways to take a break and ease anxiety, including writing an unexpected letter

Feel alive again:

Heather Chauvin’s book Dying To Be A Good Mother: How I Dropped the Guilt and Took Control of My Parenting and My Life will transform the way you think. It has just been published by Page Two Books.