While perusing Facebook lately I’ve noticed something surprising over the past few days…the Anti-Mother’s Day Trend. There are several blogs, comments and rants all based on the wrongness of celebrating this day. Why? For a multitude or reasons—like the pain it brings to those who have lost their mothers, or to mothers who have lost children, or because some people had horrible, selfish mothers or because some seem to think it put’s Mothers on a pedestal and discounts the relevance of women who are not mothers by choice or circumstance. I say, “Lighten up, people!”
To me, Mother’s Day is not “All About Me,” and it’s not “All About My Mom.” I sent her a card, I gave her a call. She’s an amazing and inspiring woman who I cherish every day, no more, no less on Mother’s Day, than any other day of the year. And what did I do today? I worked my butt off. Did my family wait on me hand and foot? No. I was the cook, the maid, the nanny and nurse all darn day just like I always am. My husband did projects around the house and frankly, I was glad he did because being in a new house means there are still about 100 projects left. Sure, I got some home-made cards and an extra hug and that was enough. Maybe our family is missing out on a new sort of Mother’s Day that is like an all-day holiday celebration where Mom is pampered and lavished with gifts. Maybe other families were bathing their Mom’s feet in precious oil, fanning them with peacock feathers and feeding them grapes while they lounged on a chaise…but not here. I was just a mom and my kids were still kids. They still bickered a little, they still whined a little and I never sat down once.
Maybe the problem, for those who don’t like Mother’s Day (and I imagine they don’t like Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day either) is that it is simply a day that they feel brings attention to something that is painful for them. The Mother-Child relationship, be it healthy and loving or toxic and abusive, is something every human being on this earth has. You might not have a child but you most definitely have a mother. Do you need to celebrate her? Only if you want to. Or maybe they are sick of the blatant commercial consumerism involved in yet another holiday that involves cards, gifts and flowers. But I wish they wouldn’t make the mistake of reading too deeply into the fact that others celebrate this one day.
Most of the Mothers today, who were given cards and flowers or chocolate (or burned scrambled eggs and pancakes in bed), aren’t feeling like Motherhood has made them into some sort of Superior Beings or that Women Without Children are Missing Out. We’re really not. What we’re feeling most of the time is a mixture of being exhausted, overwhelmed, under-dressed, anxious, insecure and guilty because we’re trying to live up to a standard that isn’t realistic. We’re too busy worrying that we might get fired for being pregnant or taking off work when a child is sick too often. We’re trying to fix lunches, do laundry, break up fights, clean poop off the floor and deal with tantrums because “we cut a sandwich the wrong way,” or “put juice in the wrong color cup.” If a child is a pill in the grocery store, we get glared at or told to “control our children.” We get criticized for breastfeeding in public and we get criticized for not breastfeeding. Mothers don’t really feel superior– EVER. So for one day out of the whole year, frankly, I think somebody noticing all that we do is NICE. That’s all. It’s nice. It’s not necessary. It’s just nice.
I’ve said many times to my own competitive daughters “Just because I said something nice about your sister doesn’t mean I don’t love you too.” Just because someone else is celebrating a mother, it doesn’t make it a statement about you, or your mother, or your children, or lack thereof. If the day brings you pain, I am sorry. But I imagine seeing mothers and their children in the grocery store, at family reunions, at school and everywhere else you might come across them in life, is painful too. One day, I will lose my mother. And, though I can barely type the words, it’s possible I might lose a child. I can’t see into the future. But I vow, that no matter how much Mother’s Day might feel bittersweet or painful for me some day, I won’t ever shame others for celebrating it. It’s just a day.
Have you noticed the Anti-Mother’s Day Trend? What do you think of it?