What’s the secret about Mothers’ Day?

Mothers’ Day is May 14.

That’s the Sunday after tomorrow. I’m telling you because you probably didn’t know. And you probably didn’t know because it seems there’s no one out there who’s prepared to tell you.

Oh, they tell you it’s coming. The posters are everywhere. But the actual date is a closely guarded secret. Clearly, the posters are designed by women. They deliberately leave the date

off in the hope you’ll miss it, giving them license to make your life hell for the next 12 months, and ensuring that every other anniversary is not only seared into your brain with a hot poker, but is also very expensive.

Or they do it to save money. That is, leaving the date off all the posters is an economy because you can use them again next year. Except that no one will. The bloody things will sit in a box wedged in corner somewhere growing more dog-eared and forgotten, and they won’t be seen again until 2045, when the building is demolished.

It frightens me, this secrecy. If people kept from me the date of Christmas or the end of the tax year I could take it like a man. But not knowing when Mothers’ Day is can make strong men weep.

And it’s not even my mother I’m frightened of. It’s my wife! Wives are mothers, too (well, quite often); and they’re the mother of your children (well, nowadays, quite often) and you need to remember that – on Mothers’ Day!

Forget at your peril. Never mind that there are times in your life when forgetting would be a blessing. Like when they (your children, not your wife) borrow the car, or give up washing, or get into drugs.

On Mothers’ Day you have to say thank you – to your mother, naturally; but also to your wife. And you have to buy her a present, and it had better not be motherly.

There’s some weird psychological law that says: never mind that it’s Mothers’ Day – if you buy me something I can use in the kitchen or for breast feeding, I’ll ensure you are never again responsible for making anyone a mother.

I think they’re in denial. On Mothers’ Day children can make, buy or give anything. The most successful present I ever bought my mother was when I was 12 years old. It was an ironing board. It was very cheap and it was very big. Being 12 I thought everyone appreciated big presents the same way I did. My Mum certainly did. She used to show it off and tell people how I gave it to her for Mothers’ Day. Maybe there was irony in her tone, but I never noticed it.

You can do that when your 12 and the woman you love gave birth to you.

Your wife, however, needs cosseting with all those little trinkets that say to her: “To me you’re as sexy and desirable as the day we met.”

Naturally this is going to lead to a certain natural affection arising between you both and before you know it you’ll be in bed together.

One of two things will happen.

The first is that the kids will come hammering on the door wanting to know if they can borrow $50, or where their clean underwear is, thus popping your foolish dreams that you are actually 25 years younger than the wrinkles say you are.

You may not think so at the time, but this is a Good Thing.

The second is that they won’tIf this happens take my advice – go to sleep.

Not going to sleep is how the whole problem started in the first place.