I guarantee that someone you know is faking a smile, hiding her tears, or sitting in her silent home, dreading this day beyond words, so let’s not forget them. Also, lets not forget those amazing women (many are non-mothers) all around us and throughout our lives who have taught us about love, life, and motherhood.
If I may be real for a moment, without judgement, I want to reach out to those who wish that Mother’s Day would just freaking go away…forever. I want to reach out to those who hate this annual pressure to celebrate, to buy, to spoil, to flatter. I know you are out there, because we have spoken, I have read your stories, or I know your imperfect situation.
Although birthdays and Christmas rank high on the totem pole of forced indulgence, there is something even more irritating about Mother’s Day. It’s this one day that is supposed to make up for all the other days of bad behavior, wasted food, refused chores, homework battles, hidden grade cards, unanswered texts, post-phoned visits and the endless worry and anxiety that comes with being a mother. It doesn’t make up for it, so why do we even bother? It’s called real life. Real kids. Real Moms. Real challenges. No one is an exception. In that case, we need more than one day, we need an entire week or even a month if you want to really “make it nice for us.”
Honestly, this day has never sat well with me…even before I had kids. I recall our Dads (and I say “our” because I KNOW you know what I mean if you are from my generation) lecturing us to be overly nice, not talk back, clean the house, buy a corsage, sit through church while all the moms got praised and recognized, go out to eat etc. for this one day, after which we would resort back to our regular bratty (normal kid) selves until this time next year. As I got older, I quickly realized that I should respect and appreciate my mother (and my father) every day of the year, not just because some card or flower company decided that one day out of the year, we should trip over ourselves to cater to our mother’s when we had other things that we wanted or needed to do. Instead, there was the guilt of knowing that our moms or we, if moms, anxiously awaited the handmade gifts and special attention that was forced from our children by the powers that be. Year after painful year, we go through the same feelings and emotions. We put on a happy, cheerful face. We listen to our co-workers argue and barter to have the day off (because we are nurses and it’s not a recognized holiday, but we can’t possibly work on Mother’s Day)! Everyone seemingly wants to be a part of the excitement, the flowers, the lunches, the dinners, the gatherings–or do they really? What it really does, is force us to plan something with our mothers that we should randomly be doing in the first place, because we WANT to, not because we HAVE to. I don’t ever want my children to feel that pressure. I’m not saying that it’s not wonderful to see their faces or hear their voices this day, but I want to see and hear them anyways and always know that they love and appreciate me–because they miss me and want to spend time with me, not because the calendar says so. A random “I love you, just thinking of you” text or a “hey, can you meet for coffee or lunch” phone call means way more than some forced, society-driven obligation. One day a year has turned it into a marketing ploy. A way to make money off the guilt of people who should be more appreciative, more often, at least that’s how I see it.
Then there is another side of the Mother’s Day coin. The disappointment of the day is even more real; and for just cause(s). Now, before anyone thinks I’ve lost my mind or judges my thoughts on motherhood, please do not misunderstand what I am saying. Being a mother to four beautiful and successful kids (now adults) is one of my greatest accomplishments and most enjoyable times in my life, but it’s also what we are biologically programmed to do, so we really aren’t all that unique or special. Like most women, I could not wait to get through college and have babies and is no doubt, in part why I chose the profession I did (delivery nurse). I love helping women become mothers. But we mothers are not unique or special because we chose to have, or were able to have, children. There are many special women who were never able to be mothers for one reason of the other and many special women who are like a mother to us. How does this day make certain women feel about the baby they never held, the children they may have abandoned or aborted, or the child that was lost too soon? What about the mother that was lost too soon, the mother who can’t love back, the mother that can never be pleased, or the mother that died who is painfully missed and this day brings that pain to the surface with all the pomp and circumstance? There are no cards, flowers, gifts, or even words to honor these mothers/children. There are no Hallmark holidays to celebrate them, yet they are special and important too. It’s too late to make this day go away and no doubt, the majority would never want or hope for that; it’s stuck with us now and forever and all we can do is adjust the way that we view and celebrate it.