Mothers’ Day is sure to be different this year

“Zooming”, “Facing Time” and “The video computer thing” – I call it the “The Zoomer” It seems like Mum has a pet name for her new favourite thing. It is the way we get to see our beloved offspring.

My children have all grown, left home and are contributing to the economy in their chosen fields. I moved interstate 30 years ago (originally from Melbourne) and my parents, and my husbands’ parents all remain in Melbourne. In these times of ‘Lock Down’ we feel so very far away.

For us Mothers’ day would come and go most years, and important time to get together, but this year is different. Family time seems even more precious because we cannot take it for granted.  We must make an effort – a big effort or we simply don’t connect.

We have set up video sessions every Sunday morning, with my parents, our kids, and my husbands’ family. These family ‘events we have set up one after the other, we dial in – have a laugh, find out what is going on in their worlds. And share what is great about the world. (We have a bit of an agenda so everyone gets a turn at speaking). A highlight from last week, and something they are looking forward to.

In some ways we are more connected in ‘lock down’ than we were when we could choose to be together anywhere any time. We have had to be intentional and set time aside for each other.

I look forward to our Sunday morning catch ups…

I started RedBalloon twenty years ago, with my kids racing around and me trying to get work done. And I know many of my colleagues are experiencing the same now. Home used to be a place to get ‘deep work’ done – now it is so hard to separate the work week for the weekend.

People ask me ‘how did you do it’? In reality life was a bit of a blur – some days I got it right and some days I did not. One thing I did do though was create a ‘workspace’ where the children were not allowed to come without being invited. And I took turns with my husband with who was ‘on duty’ – I usually had mornings and there was a never ending game of monopoly. He had the afternoons.

I always used to talk to my children about ‘why I worked’ and I talked about the difference that my work had on others. Originally the purpose at RedBalloon was about ‘changing gifting in Australia forever’ and I explained why the gift was so important for us culturally.

That a gift represents a relationship and it is a moment of gratitude for that person. And of course Mothers’ Day is one of those important occasions.

We were not so distracted with digital devices then. But I do reflect that what my kids wanted then (and what I want now) more than anything was my time – and being truly present. And they were happy with an hour as long as I was truly theirs. I read the entire Magic Faraway Tree to them, a chapter each night… we all looked forward to that quiet time.

I asked people to complete a poll last week to find out how other Australians would be celebrating Mothers’ Day this year.

The answers are clear:

  • Two thirds will celebrate with Mum virtually, whilst 20% will see Mum but from a distance.
  • Just under half will send Mum something via mail or email, and a third will book something to share with Mum later
  • But nothing has changed when it comes to asking Mum ‘what do you want’ – the answer is either ‘nothing really’ or equally ‘time with family / shared acitivy’.

In all these years, and despite lock down. The Mums of Australia need some attention and love for all that they do to bring family together. And all they want is time with the people they

I’m pretty proud of the team at RedBalloon who have moved heaven and earth to create experiences that can be shared with Mum on 10 May, and experiences that can be shared over ‘The Zooming’

PS here is a list of the best video conferencing software.

Also published on Medium.

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