Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Mother's Day: Posh Face Cream and PEAS

I’m never quite sure what to make of Mother’s Day. On the one hand, it always seems like a lot of fuss over what inevitably turns into a normal Sunday with the added bonus of a CD and/or a Toblerone ‘from the kids’ thrown in. On the other hand, there is something heart-warming and pretty smashing about a handmade card and the promise of a lie-in (even if the card is 99.9% the work of nursery and the lie-in is scuppered by the sound of an actual physical fight breaking out over the Power Rangers Dino Charge downstairs).

Regardless of whether you are a ‘WAHOO it’s Mother’s Day!’ family or not, there’s certainly no escaping the build up to the day as ‘Make your mum feel special!’ advertisements kick in. Mother’s Day is everywhere: on the telly box, online, in magazines and newspapers (and, apparently, when you’re shopping in ASDA and an advert for some book called The Unmumsy Mum comes on approx. once every 20 minutes, sorry about that…)

“What do you really want for Mother’s Day?” I was asked by somebody this week and I reeled off my textbook response: “Oh you know, a lie-in, time with the boys, possibly some posh face cream where you don’t get change from a fiver.”

And do you know what? I would be happy with all (or any) of that. If Henry draws me a mess of crayon squiggles I will display it proudly and explain to visitors that is obviously a picture of a Ninja Turtle battling a Lego Nexo Knight. If James produces the CD I’ve been hinting at (Justin Bieber – yes I’ve converted to Belieberism and I fancy The Biebs a little bit, I’m not hiding it any more) I’ll be genuinely quite chuffed.

Growing up, I always bought my mum a load of tat for Mother’s Day and she either quite liked it or pretended that she did. (After she died, I kept the ‘No.1 Mum!’ Mother’s Day bear I’d bought her years earlier from our local newsagents – she had displayed it proudly on her dressing table, even though as bears go he was a bit shit). 
The 'No. 1 Mum' badge has worn off, sad times.
Are you wondering when the peas are going to feature in this post? Well, right about now. I’m not talking mushy/garden/green peas, I’m talking about the charity PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools). Bit random? Hear me out…[As I typed charity I couldn’t help but wonder how many people would groan and/or press the back button on your browser as if the page was on fire, which I totally understand – you have probably seen a gazillion other charity posts already today].

So why am I banging on about PEAS? It probably won’t come as any great surprise that I am inundated with fundraising/petition sharing requests each and every day and I struggle to even read them all. I have always known that if I shared every charity/appeal request I receive that before long you would become pissed off with my gentle nudges to donate ‘just £1’ (All those ‘just £1s’ mount up, right? You cannot give £1 to everybody). On top of that, I always face the same dilemma: which one to share? How can you possibly choose one worthy cause over another? It is for that reason that I started the week with absolutely no plans to highlight the work of a charity for Mother’s Day…

…And then, as I started contemplating my posher-than-usual face cream and daydreaming about time alone in the car with The Biebs (not like that), I changed my mind. I changed my mind because something I had read about PEAS inspired me.

I am a lucky mum. Not just because I own two nutty and hyperactive bright and healthy boys but because before I became a mum I had the privilege of an education. Year upon year of primary, secondary and eventually University education. I took all of that for granted, not because I am knobheadishly spoilt but because an education is the norm here. You go to school because, well, because that is just what you do. And usually, by the time you have children, you have some kind of education under your belt.

In most schools across Uganda – where 1 in 10 adolescent girls (aged 15-19) are mothers - childbearing marks the end of education, full stop. This is a sad (and avoidable) state of affairs, not least because a girl who progresses beyond primary school and further into secondary school is three-times less likely to contract HIV in her lifetime; will earn
over 150% more income in her career, and; any child she has is three times more likely to survive beyond the age of five. Pretty staggering figures.

PEAS are on the case. They build and run secondary schools to ensure that girls (including those who are mums) see the benefit of continued education. They have also created ‘Girls Clubs’ at many of the schools which focus on providing menstrual hygiene kits and management advice, lessons on female empowerment and encouragement to believe in their potential to achieve. 

 I have a strong enough following to help raise awareness of the work PEAS does so I'm giving it a shot!

Are there other worthwhile charities you could donate to?
Absolutely there are. Loads of them. This is simply the charity (and the mums) I have decided to support this Mother’s Day.

Is this a direct plea asking you to donate
No, not really. You will donate only if you feel inspired to and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (I did check that you can donate 'just £1' though, you know, just in case).

Happy Mother's Day for Sunday. I will let you know if all comes good on the face cream and CD front.


You can donate to PEAS here.


  1. I heard the ad in Asda, and chuckled :)

  2. I work for Asda and hear it every 20 minutes lo,

  3. I asked for your book for Mothers Day, fingers crossed :)
    Happy Mothers Day, thanks for making me feel normal and making me giggle x

  4. I asked for your book for mothers day, fingers crossed :)
    Thank you for making me laugh so much and realise I am not alone in loosing the plot on a daily basis. Happy Mothers Day.

  5. My 4 year old, watching the telly. excitedly exclaimed "let's get mummy this daddy! It looks so pretty and they said it smells nice!" Look up to see the latest Lenor fabric conditioner advert... 😂

    1. Haha - I read this first time as 'let's get mummy this daddy' as in they were getting you a new man!!

  6. I love your blog and your book. It's like you are writing straight out of my head at times! I also think you have a bit of a responsibility to use your talent and audience every now and again for things just like this, so you can count on my quid!! I also have a Cockwomble papercut...You can be sweary AND lovely. X

  7. I bought your book for myself for mothers day as hubby works seven days a week so won't have time to get me anything!!! I have also just realised that I fancy Justin Beiber lol xx

  8. It's my birthday on Sunday so it'll be extra special as it's my first Mother's Day with my 7 month old son. I told my husband that I'm expecting two present from our son as he loves his mummy lots! 🙂

  9. I bought two copies of your book for mothers' day - one for myself and one for my sister who is a new mum (yay!) in Uganda, who is also working to help girls stay in school. She and her husband started a social business making (washable) cloth menstrual pads which are quite possibly the ones PEAS give to their schoolgirls. Thank you for highlighting the issue! The lack of access to sanitary products is such a basic problem with such huge reprocussions. Girls without pads often stay at home while having their periods - that is 25% of the school year! I have included my sister's website in the url above if anyone wants to read more.
    Thank you for the attention to the cause. And Sonia is already excited about reading and then no doubt sharing your book. You see Unmumsy, you will touch the effort to keep Ugandan girls in school in multiple ways!

  10. True words. I lost my dad, same age and same reason. Somehow when you say my dad died people say 'oh' and carry on. As if losing a Dad is not as important as a mum. My mum is amazing and I am blessed to still have her but I still look at my children sometimes so sad inside that they can't ever meet him as he would make them laugh. Also achingly sad he didn't get to meet my children.i know how heartbroken he would be to have missed out. So mum, dad,brother, sister, whoever is missing the pain is the same. Xx

  11. How very sad. Loads of comments referring to your book but not one on the good work of PEAS!

  12. A Father for The Children

    Nurture is the mother
    that makes life so sweet,
    an angel of endurance
    with wings on her feet.

    The armor of kindness
    worn when life is unfair,
    Where there is trouble
    there is one who care.

    She speaks with a tone,
    reassurance is clear,
    Aware of your feelings
    she shares every tear.

    When mother is absent
    her work is still done,
    It is the father chosen
    with love for his son.

    He blesses his daughter
    who needs someone there,
    Without her mother
    one to brush her hair.

    Alone a loving father
    can take mother’s place,
    Understand every need
    bring a smile to her face.

    Be their one and only,
    raise them to get along,
    lead responsible lives
    and feel that they belong.

    It is not just a mother
    who can be their light,
    Children need a caretaker
    and a father’s insight.

    © Shelley W. Williams -2016