Mother's Day weekend in the Bay involves last-minute buying of cards, chocolates and flowers, plans for pikelets in bed or a walk up the Mount.
I still have handmade cards from past Mother's Days with inscriptions like, "I love you, Mom. Thanks for being the best mom in the world."
The mementoes help to freeze time, reminding me of the satisfying, heart-rending moments of motherhood. I keep these in a metaphorical back pocket to re-visit when I feel like strangling the not-so-little buggers.
It's part sugar, part saccharine, this commercialised holiday.
On the one hand, mums are nearly guaranteed an annual thank-fest for being jack-of-all-trades 365 days per year; on the other hand, we're the first to get blamed if our offspring turn delinquent, lazy or rude. Most of us chose this path - none of us knows where it'll lead.
As important as motherhood is, another group deserves recognition for their gifts to the planet: child-free women.
While men also choose not to procreate, they remain mostly unjudged. No kids, no problem.
It's different for women, often painted as selfish or non-nurturing if they don't have kids.
Here's the thing: people who don't reproduce are doing more to save the environment than you, me or our children ever could.
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Child-free couples didn't necessarily plan their lives in the name of sustainability, but nevertheless should claim their achievement.
My child-free friends contribute to nurturing children by being stand-out aunts and uncles; by mentoring young people; by volunteering as coaches and helpers for those of us who occasionally need a break from parenthood's relentless demands.
Non-parents will also leave an exponentially smaller carbon footprint on the earth than me.
A United Nations report this week said one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, with alarming implications for human survival.
Nature's current rate of decline is unparalleled, and the accelerating rate of extinctions "means grave impacts on people around the world are now likely".
The warming climate is a major driver exacerbating the effects of overfishing, widespread pesticide use, pollution and urban expansion into the natural world.
Is it wise to celebrate childbearing while we and our offspring choke the planet?
It took until the early 1800s for the world population to reach one billion.
Now we add a billion humans every 12-15 years. Global population has tripled since 1950.
The UK-based Population Matters group reports, "Global population is expected to exceed 11 billion people by 2100 unless actions are taken to stabilise population growth. Healthy diets from sustainable food systems are possible for up to 10 billion people but become increasingly unlikely past this population threshold."
The group points to a 2017 study claiming the single most effective long-term measure any individual in the developed world can take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions is to have one fewer child. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden found having one fewer child per family can save "an average of 58.6 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year ... A US family who chooses to have one fewer child would provide the same level of emissions reductions as 684 teenagers who choose to adopt comprehensive recycling for the rest of their lives".
Biology has wired us to reproduce. Hormones, sex drives, intentional and accidental synthesis of sperm and egg got us where we are today.
Our species will continue multiplying. But knowing tiny baby feet will eventually stomp out large carbon deposits could lead more humans in the future to choose dog-rearing over child-rearing.
Dogs don't drive, build homes, take trailer loads of rubbish to the tip and most don't travel by air.
Their four paws tread more lightly on the planet than our progeny ever could.
This Mother's Day, thank the child-free people you know for their gift to the earth. Then enjoy those pikelets and handmade cards.
Dawn Picken also writes for the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend and tutors at Toi Ohomai. She is a former TV journalist and marketing director who lives in Pāpāmoa with her husband, two school-aged children and a dog named Ally