It is the day we mothers have been looking forward to for months and months. In the galaxy of all-important dates it is easy to get confused, but I am not talking about...

a) All Fool's Day, when our beloveds will perform tricks on us such as waking us up at three o' clock in the morning and telling us that we have been picked to appear on Who wants to be a millionaire? Or, even more exciting, that we have won tickets to a Cliff Richard concert. Or,

b) Our birthdays, which are normally festive occasions but tinged with sadness as we realise that we are getting on a bit. Oh no, this is a special day which means we can get presents and not have to worry about being a year older. In fact it's...

Mother's Day! Though I am normally against any kind of commercialisation (where would all those card/flower/chocolate manufacturers be without the endless cycle of events?) I feel that Mother's Day - which falls this coming Sunday if you are an alien and have not seen the huge placards in town - is different.

Mother's Day is the opportunity for busy souls to take time out of their hectic lifestyles to say 'thanks' to the people who brought them into the world. And I'm not talking about the doctors and midwives here. Unless, of course, your mum is a doctor or a midwife.

What does it mean to be a modern mom? For years being a mom meant you were dowdy, just a housewife, the personification of domestic drudgery. Being a mother was what you put off as long as you could until you had no choice, after you got sick of holidays and promotions at work.

But now it is different. Celebrities such as the Spice Girls and All Saints have turned babies into must- have accessories. In other words, if motherhood is being valued by our depraved, debauchery-loving pop stars then hey, it must be good. (Obviously, they too have realised that there is something very appealing about lugging around an obese six- month- old dressed in Baby Gap as he/she gurgles and dribbles away to his/her heart's content.)

In our culture mothers are supposed to be three times more important than fathers. But when you're little your mum is someone to rebel against. She made you wear a balaclava in the winter and everyone laughed at you. She wouldn't let you play out if it was a little bit late or dark and you were not allowed to eat raw vegetables or watch ITV. Well, I wasn't.

But it was mum who tended to you when you were sick/frightened/upset. When you were a baby she fed you, clothed you, wiped your bottom and missed the ending of numerous episodes of Dallas to clean up your posset (baby sick).

Despite mum's insistence that you wear the most hideously unfashionable clothing because it would keep you warm, she never laughed at you in your glasses, or made fun of the fact that you were supporting Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest, or indeed that you were watching it at all.

When it comes to giving you lots of love, even when you are 45, mum is the word. Now please can you pass the sick bucket?

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.