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05 Mar 2013

“Oh God!” I muttered. “It’s Mothers’ day soon isn’t it?”

“You’re OK,” Clare, my wife, answered, “It’s not until Sunday the 10th.”

“Good,” I responded, relieved, “That gives me time to do some arts and crafts with the kids so they can make Nan and Granny a card.”

“Yeah, that would be great,” said Clare, “I gave my mum a card when I saw her last weekend but to be honest what she really wants is a home-made card from the grandkids.”

I took a moment to reflect and nodded quietly. My mum is the same. Given the choice between an hour with me and an hour with the grandkids, I know that I come a distant second. I have to face facts: since Arun and Meri arrived I have been relegated in my mothers’ affections.

I suspect that it is a common experience for many dads. The person who used to dote on you, hang on your every word, wait breathlessly for your next visit, really isn’t that interested in you any more. Maybe because we have served our function and procreated to pass on the family name (not to mention gene pool), our work is done. We are to all intents and purposes invisible.

However, before I drowned in a pool of my own self-pitying tears, I had a moment of clarity: perhaps it’s my fault. Now I know I can’t compete when it comes to cuteness (little toddler smiles and big brown eyes win out over five-o-clock shadow every time) but that doesn’t affect my behaviour.

When I see my mum I do not jump up and down in a manically excited fashion; I don’t run towards her at full pace and envelop her in a huge hug; I don’t cover her in sloppy kisses and I don’t tell her that I love her fifty times a day. Instead, I grunt, “Hi mum. You alright?”

Which would you prefer?

So here’s a challenge for all us tired old sons out there. Perhaps we should learn something from our children and treat our mum’s like they treat their Nan and Granny. You never know, we might just get promoted for just one day.

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