By the left ...
May 13, 2023

Mother may I? Yes, absolutely! Happy Mother’s Day to the moms in the circle

Editor’s note: Mother’s Day was invented in the UK as “Mothering Sunday.” It’s traditionally celebrated there on the Sunday three weeks before Easter, while most of the rest of the world celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. We thought piping-humourist Laura Mullin would be an excellent choice this year for some choice thoughts on what it is to be a mother in the competitive piping and drumming game . . . and we were right.

By Laura Mullin

Believe it or not, some pipers and drummers are mothers, too.

As rare as it may seem, we do indeed walk among you. You just might not know it, because sometimes we don’t mention our kids at all.

For some mothers, competitive piping and drumming is that thing we do that is our thing. It lets us remind ourselves that we are more than mothers. As rewarding and fulfilling as that part of our life is (or isn’t), it is not the sum total of who we are.

We are individuals, too. And if we have embraced the world of competitive piping and drumming, we might be somewhat strange individuals.

Or, in the words of my own children, “cringey.”

No, I can’t sew your button on your shirt.

Be that as it may, this Mother’s Day, it would serve all of you other pipers and drummers well to remember a few things about the piping and drumming moms around you:

  • I might volunteer to make sandwiches and bring snacks, but never, ever, ever assume it.
  • Even if I’ve worked a full shift and taxied multiple children to multiple sports, I will be on time for practice.
  • Bathroom breaks matter.
  • No matter how many prizes you’ve won, Mr. Pipe-Major, if I think you need advice . . . you’re getting it.
  • No, I can’t sew your button on your shirt.
  • No, I don’t have a Kleenex in my sporran (oh wait, yes, I do . . . but it is well-used and I have no idea how long it’s been there).
  • Yes, I do have a tampon in my sporran . . . and a spare just in case there’s a friend who finds herself short.
  • Yes, I will say it out loud . . . ” tampon, tampon, tampon, tampon . . .” Get used to it.
  • Yes, I can blow tone and that is not my D we’re all hearing in the circle.

Navigating both is often tricky, but motherhood and competitive piping and drumming should not be mutually exclusive. Playing competitively (with a band or solo) is doable if you prioritize it, schedule it, and believe that you deserve it. There might be guilt (from inside and out) but those voices, as near and dear as they are to us, aren’t correct.

If piping and drumming is a family affair, that’s terrific. But if not, so what? Doing something you love – something just for you – is good for your family as well. You will return to them with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

Happy Mother’s Day from one piping and drumming mother to all the others. Here’s hoping that next year there are even more of us in the circle.

Originally from Inglewood, Ontario, Laura Mullin now lives in Everton, Ontario. She was taught piping first by Wilbert McCormick and then got instruction from John Walsh, and has played with Sandhill Pipes & Drums, the Georgetown Girls, the Grade 1 Toronto & District Caledonia and the Grade 3 8 Wing Pipes & Drums. She is now a member of the Grade 2 St. Andrew’s College Association Pipe Band, which made its competition debut in 2022. She’s the mother of two pretty-much-grown-up kids of whom she’s incredibly proud. When not at band practice, she spends a lot of her spare time in her specially-built she-shed . . . practicing.






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