Photo by Paul Holloway
Aren't mums great? They got fat and threw up for nine months just so we could kick back in their stomachs (or whatever) and consume nutrients and grow. Then they screamed in pain while they grunted us out and, as if that wasn't enough, they spent the next couple of decades teaching us to shit in a toilet, comforting us when our bones or hearts got broken and loving us even when we hurt them. For today's Question of the Day, we went out to ask strangers precisely how they had hurt their mothers.
Andres, nurse: Not being there when her father died.
When was this?
So this is your grandpa?
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, man.
Thank you. It’s fine.
Was it your fault you couldn’t be there?
No. I’m a nurse, so I couldn’t get out of work. I had to take care of a patient.
How is your mum feeling?
How any child feels when their parent dies – horrible.
Are you going to be able to get out there at some point and support her?
I will soon.
Good, my condolences.
Sarah, film director: Told her to shut up. That's just terrible! I think that’s pretty bad.
That’s really the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Or just disappeared without telling her where I was going, I guess.
How old were you when you were disappearing on her?
And how old are you now?
So you and your mum are cool now?
Sorry I didn’t have a more in-depth answer.
Mia, social media manager: Well, I did this one thing when I was 16. I wanted to go out for New Year’s on my own for the first time and my mum wouldn’t let me. She was reading the newspaper when she told me no, so I took the newspaper from her, wrapped it around her head, ran upstairs and got dressed. Then I went out. I don’t know if that was the shittiest thing I’ve done to her, but it was a very shitty situation.
What was her response when you came back home?
She cried and cried. It was terrible.
What did you go out and do that night?
Oh, I went out to the party that I wasn't supposed to go to! [laughs]
Did you get wasted?
I did get wasted. And then I spent the night at a friend's house for two days. So my mum worried about me for two days.
When you got back did she find out that you'd been drinking on top of what you'd done in the first place?
What did she do?
At first she was really mad, but then her coping mechanism wasn’t good at that point because we were fighting all the time anyways. That was sort of like my declaration of independence. She got it. She was like, “OK, do whatever the fuck you want.”
Where were you living at that point?
In Istanbul. We’re from Turkey. It’s mad unconventional to go through something like this there.
Jui, music composer: Not love her enough.
Why is that?
I don’t think you can love your mum enough.
I guess that’s true. But what do you mean by that specifically?
I mean, the womb is the essence of where you were created. That’s where it all starts. It's where you take your form, you take your process. That’s how God planned on creating you to be in this world. You can never be closer than that to God until you leave this earth.
Do you try and express your love for your mother?
Of course. I try all the time.
What would you do for your mum on Mother’s Day?
I kiss her on the cheek, just like I would when I was younger. Just give her a hug. Of course, I buy things, too, but it’s the little things that my mum appreciates the most because she’s up there in age now. It’s the little things that remind her of your childhood, her raising you and growing up and appreciating her. Cooking for her, or even just telling her that her food tastes great. Telling her to rest. Just sit down with her. I go and visit my mum every weekend.
You're very sweet.
Mike, attorney: Probably when I threw a huge party at her house when her and my dad went to Hawaii when I was in high school. They left us home for a week.
What was going on at the party?
A lot of drinking, and some smoking pot in their house.
What was their response?
Nothing, actually. The house was spotless when they got home and they didn’t find out until like a week after the fact.
And then what happened?
Nothing [laughs]. I didn’t get in any trouble at all.
David, singer of the Dead Exs: Oh man, that’s hard. Probably the worst is when I went out on my moped when I was 14 and got in bars and drank illegally.
And then drove the moped drunk?
And then she found out?
She was waiting up for me when I got home.
What was her response?
Oh man, she was pissed. I got grounded.
How long was the grounding period?
I think I got, like, two weeks.
Did the cops or anything ever catch you when you were driving the moped wasted?
No, not in those days.
Stacey, actress: Well, apparently I may have stolen her engagement ring. I used to wear it in bed when I was a kid and then I'd fall asleep. Because I was living in Johannesburg, South Africa, I thought we’d get burglarised quite a lot. So I took it off my finger and put it under my carpet under the bed.
It wasn’t until I got married that my mum said, “I’d like to give you my engagement ring, but it isn’t the original engagement ring.” So I said, “What happened to that?” She went, “I think someone stole it or it went missing.” And all of a sudden I had the realisation.
So you didn’t purposefully steal it?
Well, I used to wear it in bed just to play with it. But I thought that, in case the robbers came in, I better hide it under the carpet.
So the ring is gone for good?
It's gone. I did eventually pluck up the courage to tell her, though.
Did she freak out?
She absolutely freaked out. But she also said, “I asked you, 'Do you know where it is?' And you said no and if you told me it would have been fine.” So she is actually convinced that it wasn’t me. But it could have been.
Are you and your mum OK now?
Yeah, we are absolutely fine.
Matteo, who wouldn't tell us what he did: I told her that her black coat looked “fucking uncool”.
How did she respond?
She stared me down and told me it was none of my business.
That doesn’t exactly sound like the worst thing to do to someone. Maybe you’ve treated your mum pretty well over the years?
Yeah, I guess I’m pretty nice to her, sure.
Previously - Would You Eat a Family Member to Survive?