Is Mother’s Day a Farce?

There are 365 days in the year. When you are a young kid, they all blur together. The seasons change. Whether you wear boots and a hat or flip-flops and a swimsuit changes. But the day or the month or the year is largely immaterial. It’s lovely.

Then as you get older, you assign meaning to days and months. Anniversaries matter. Days of mourning matter. Rites of passage – marriage, birth of a child, getting engaged, graduating from college. These all matter. They have hype. They have build up. You anticipate them. You imagine what they will be like, what you will wear, if the day will meet your expectations.

Then there is Mother’s Day. The MOTHER of all hyped up days.

I ask you this:  If you had to decide which day ultimately #fails more – could you decide between Mother’s Day or Daylight Savings, when you don’t get an extra hour of sleep, instead your day begins at 5am instead of 6am?

They’re kind of neck’n’neck for moi. At least one of those days you are supposed to get a card or two – so if you don’t even get a card – then you’re probably even more pissed off than you are on Daylight Savings when the day feels 100 years long because it starts so damn early.

Though we try to ignore it and pretend it isn’t so – Mother’s day is any given Sunday for young kids. They don’t care that you have earned a moment. That of all the days of the year this is supposed to be your day. Along with millions of other women across the country, of course.  Why should they care? Just like they don’t sleep in on weekends. Or on daylight savings Sunday. A few years ago, my eldest asked me this, on Mother’s Day:

“Mommy, what day is dedicated to just kids?”

Umm….EVERY damn day, kiddo.

So instead  on Mother’s Day, you have this glaring reminder in your face, filled with cards and miserable crying over-crowded brunches, that this is the day your children are SUPPOSED to cherish you.

But each time they act out, you ask yourself WHY – WHY can’t they just give you this ONE DAY – is it really so much to ask? And what have you done wrong as a parent that they can’t respect you enough to give you peace and quiet on ONE DAY?

And your husband falls into one of two camps- he indulges you with a gift or flowers because you are the mother of his children OR he points out that you are not, in fact, his mother, and it’s the kid’s job to give you something (that don’t fly chez WM, FYI).

Either way – you’ve got something nagging at you that reminds you that somehow, somewhere along the way, this day just doesn’t seem to be about YOU and you angrily wash a dish or make some lunch wondering who the hell is enjoying Mother’s Day.

Is Mother’s Day a farce? Would we all be better off without it? Just as I firmly believe we’d all be better off without the torture that is daylight savings?

Me & my mom - at Disney World last year over Mother's Day weekend - with the most appropriate character of all from the Incredibles.

Me & my mom – at Disney World last year over Mother’s Day weekend – with the most appropriate character of all from the Incredibles.

Setting aside the sarcasm and snark, I think it’s important to acknowledge what is awesome about us Moms. Frank Bruni, in an op-ed in the Sunday New York Times two years ago, tied it up neatly with a bow in his oped “Muddling Through Mother’s Day” when he wrote about his own mother:

“I was – I am – one of the four luckiest children I know, my siblings being the other three. We had a mother who held us in esteem and held us to account; told us we were magnificent and told us we were miserable; exhorted us to please her but found ways to forgive when, all too frequently, we didn’t; and made certain that we knew she was there for us until, unimaginably, she wasn’t.”

In two sentences he said everything I hope my children will think of me when they are adults. So on future Mother’s Day, in say 2050, when my children are adults, I hope it is a day that gives them pause to think not so much about themselves, if they are mothers, but about what kind of mother I was to them. Because my own mom successfully did for me and my three sisters exactly what Frank Bruni’s mom did for him.

Until that point, I just head to the hotel bar at the Ritz or the 4 Seasons, where you should join moi, we can order some champagne and talk about how freaking awesome we are as mothers.  And maybe even draft up some model legislation banning Daylight Savings Time in honor of Mothers everywhere.

Until next year….Photo Credit: Someecards

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8 Responses to Is Mother’s Day a Farce?
  1. Ali
    May 14, 2012 | 11:59 am

    For my first mothers day I was greeted with my twin babies in bed at 7, which I guess is technically sleeping in. One had a stinky diaper and the other milk-burped in my face. Awesome.

  2. NPRMommy
    May 14, 2012 | 12:13 pm

    i agree when my kids were younger, Mother’s Day wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. But it has gotten better over the years. They are now 13 and 11. The best moment yesterday was when we were getting ready for dinner and I got up to set the table and get drinks, and the 11yo said “Sit down, Mom….I got this.”

  3. Kristen
    May 14, 2012 | 3:41 pm

    Love your post! I was thinking the same thing yesterday. My mothers day started at 12:02 a.m. with my 8 year old waking me up to tell me she “threw up a little in her bed”. Um – a little?!? It was so disgusting, I’ll spare you the details. But I do LOVE the homemade cards which adorn my mantle!

  4. suburbancorrespondent
    May 14, 2012 | 7:33 pm

    You rookie! The Luray Caverns idea was great; you just forgot to stay happily at home while your husband took them there.

  5. Monica Sakala
    May 14, 2012 | 10:16 pm

    ah ha ladies! loving the comments. and about 3/4 of way to luray i wondered – why the hell didn’t i send them and stay home?!?!

  6. Bridget
    May 15, 2012 | 12:03 am

    “Though as for Dr. Sears, does anyone else find it HILARIOUS that a MAN conveniently invented this parenting technique that leaves all the work to the WOMAN exclusively for as many consecutive years as she buys into it?”

    Best sentence ever. Dr. Sears is a whack-a-doo! Or should I say, in honor of one cool sister, a Ding-dong!

  7. aimee @ smilingmama
    May 15, 2012 | 3:06 pm

    I am SOOOO joining you at the Ritz next year for Mother’s Day. I seriously lowered my expectations this year and found they still weren’t low enough!

  8. Sara
    May 16, 2012 | 3:17 am

    I had a great mother’s day although I agree with your points. Key for you for next year is to create some alone time. I escaped for two hours in the afternoon. Also, that Dr. Sears line is magic – you need a blog post just on that now.

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