Mother’s day is the holiday that most inspires me to scream obscenities at greeting card companies.
How can a single holiday make me want to tell an entire industry to fuck off? There are 4 reasons.
- Reliving heartbreak
I mostly hate mother’s day because of the flashbacks I have to when I was 17. Of the first mother’s day I spent without my mom. When everyone was celebrating and I was mourning. When I had to somehow simultaneously celebrate my (step)mom who was still alive (and I loved very much) while remembering my (biological) mom who died just months before.
There was no joy on that mother’s day. Only deep, penetrating sadness that I can’t shake 18 years later.
I hate Mother’s Day because it always has an undertone of sadness.
- Feeling torn between what I want and what I need
What I want
- To be alone.
- To be with my family.
- To withdraw.
- To be with all the moms in my life.
- To celebrate.
- To have space.
- To reflect.
- To laugh. Or cry.
- To spend time with my family. Or not.
- To spend time with a lot of people. Or none at all.
- To feel whatever I am going to feel, whenever I am going to feel it. And for it to all be ok.
- To be surrounded by love.
What I need
- To release my sadness.
- To enjoy the time I have with the people still in my life.
- To reconcile what I want with what I need.
If you noticed how contradictory my list is, try living inside my head. It’s not possible to accomplish everything I want (let alone what I need) in the 24 hours the greeting card companies call “Mother’s Day”.
I hate that I can’t predict what I’ll want, what I’ll need and how I’ll feel.
- It’s unavoidable to the moms who want to escape
I hate this day because it’s unavoidable. The fierce marketing blitz that surrounds Mother’s Day feels like a punch in the stomach to those of us that wish this day was just another Sunday.
The moms that suffer the most are the ones that have lost children (a horror I cannot imagine) followed by motherless daughters (of which club I am a two-time member). I don’t care how many happy memories you have. Or how positive your outlook is. Mother’s day sucks ass for these moms especially.
I hate this day because it traps me.
- Every man for himself; every woman for herself
They’ve got to hate this holiday. Especially the men that have to honor their mom and the mother of their children. A battle no man should endure. And few men can win.
Recall the confrontation between Izzy Mendalbaum and Morty Seinfeld. They argue about who is the World’s #1 Dad. (Episode: the English Patient). If two senior men come to blows over a t-shirt claiming “#1 dad” what chance do a bunch of women have in sharing a holiday?
What a lot of moms want on Mother’s Day is to be the only mom celebrated on mother’s day.
Even worse, many moms feel ordinary. It’s hard to feel special and unique on a day that is shared.
As I write these two sentences they seem wrong. Like it should be totally possible to feel special, happy, and celebrated whether you have a small gathering, a big one, or none at all; whether your celebration includes an army of moms or just one patriarch.
I hate Mother’s Day because so many moms are disappointed when they have to compromise their vision of a perfect day with someone else’s vision.
There are 2 reasons I am kind of fond of Mother’s day.
Despite my hate of this holiday that should not exist (because we should honor and celebrate our mom’s EVERYDAY) there are two reasons I am fond of it.
- Surrounded by moms.
I have a lot of amazing moms in my life.
Some have passed. I try to reflect on those warm memories.
Some are still alive and I am honored to share a day with them (though I do wish it could be one lovely day where all the moms in my life get along and celebrate the way Hallmark intended).
- Surrounded by kids.
Marlee and Lila Pearl have done everything imaginable to make me feel special on mom’s day since they have been alive (ok, since they could grasp what mom’s day symbolizes). They are genuinely excited about the day (thank you, school & JOSH for talking it up). They wake me up brimming over with love and sunshine (since they apparently didn’t get the memo that I want to sleep in on mom’s day.).
My girls make me (almost) look forward to mother’s day. And I cherish every day I spend with them.
I get through Mother’s Day by reminding myself it’s just another day. And that my soul is forever joined to the souls of all that have passed.