I really hate Mothers Day, the lamest holiday ever invented. I have awful memories as a child of my dad ranting about how card companies and restaurants invented Mothers day and my mom longing for him to honor her. He frequently would give her old cards that she had given him and cross out the birthday greeting and write in “Happy Mother’s Day”. He thought it was funny but it hurt my mother. The reality was my dad was too much of a narcissist to give anyone else the spotlight. I also think he was a misogynist, charming as he was, so it was a way for him to punish two moms at once.
When I became a mother I swore I would never do that to my husband or kids; expect them to honor me for a job I had freely chosen. Yet I do remember feeling let down if my husband had not planned something for that day and ended up annoyed. Is it too much to ask for one day that someone make a big deal about my job?! I would then get annoyed with myself because my husband was annoyed with me for giving him mixed messages, and he was absolutely right.
I grew up with a generation of women who didn’t have the choices we do now. They could vote but had very little say in whether to work, go back to school, have children or get married. There were a set of rigid, social pressures that sent most of them in the same direction. My mom was very smart but didn’t live up to her potential, she already had two full time jobs being our mom and my father’s handmaiden. I don’t think my mom really cared about Mother’s Day, she just wanted to be seen. She was invisible to most of the men in her life. Mother’s Day is often about whether the men in our life “see” us and it starts way back with dad, for me anyway. My husband (now former) carried a lot of baggage that wasn’t his and I grew out of the need to have that acknowledgment on that one day. I realized (with some help) it was my job to celebrate who I am and that released me from putting that burden on others.
If men don’t acknowledge who we are in a positive way we can transfer that burden to our children. God help the kid who forgot Mothers Day! And yet it’s really not their job to fill those holes. Kids are pressured to make cards and gifts for mom in school so it’s hard for them to avoid. I told my kids it was optional and was not required for me to love them. I told them all bets are off though when it comes to their own spouses and in-laws.
My son emailed me and asked me for my address (for about the fifth time) and then ended with “Boy… Mothers Day cards really suck”. I reminded him I disliked Mother’s Day cards. My daughter made me one. Classic. I don’t expect them to worship me this Sunday. Being a mom was the best job I’ve ever had. My children are kind and loving and having them is gift enough.