A lot of tough emotions come up around Mother’s Day. Many people have a really difficult time when Mother’s Day comes around, for very good reasons. They can have lost their own mother, or one or more of their children – or lost the ability to be a mother. Some women have struggled with fertility issues for years, so mother’s day really pokes them in a sore place, emotionally. They may have a strained relationship with their own mom, or have faced abandonment from her. It is my utmost intention to be as gentle as possible to all people on Mother’s Day, knowing that it can be a dark day for some people, a day when they need gentleness, a day of mourning. For some, Mother’s Day is a bittersweet day, full of complex emotions. They may have both things to celebrate and things to mourn. Perhaps they have some children here on earth, and some in heaven, so they only get to hug half of their children on Mother’s Day.
Thus it is a complicated day, for many, many people, and I want to be sensitive to that. As someone who is estranged from my own mother, yet blessed with two beautiful kids, I am one of those for whom Mother’s Day brings up complicated emotions, and I struggle on Mother’s Day with where I fit, but also how my mourning and/or celebrating makes others feel. I don’t want it to seem, through my posts on social media or in my conversations with others, that on Mother’s Day I should be celebrated to the exclusion of other women. I also don’t want it to seem that when others celebrate their mothers I am not having a hard time with that, because my own mother is not in my life. And I don’t think that Mother’s Day should be a day to dishonour people. But I do think, in light of all this, that it should be okay to honour certain people on Mother’s Day. Specifically, mothers.
Sometimes I think we swing to the opposite end of the spectrum and say to one another (with the exception of the florists and greeting card companies – they never do this), “We can’t celebrate mother’s day because it’s exclusionary, and we don’t want to exclude anybody, so let’s not bring it up AT ALL, for fear of offending somebody.” At many churches I know there has been controversy around how to honour mothers on Mother’s Day without others feeling excluded. I know that some churches will ask mothers to stand up so others can acknowledge them, a difficult moment for many non-mothers that is addressed very well in this blog post. I think that instead of going too far to either extreme we just need to keep having these conversations, keep being sensitive, and keep sharing our feelings, so we can keep making sure that we are not actively dishonouring those who feel especially forgotten, especially invisible, on Mother’s Day.
Having said all of that, here is my plea, as a mother in the thick of parenting small children which (and research will back me up on this) is a REALLY HARD TIME OF LIFE. Many days it is a thankless job with long hours, terrible pay, and a lot of de-humanizing activity. The “managers” are completely irrational, small people who don’t understand logic AT ALL, and have no ability to consider how you might be feeling on any particular day, nor would a consideration of that ever cause them to modify their behaviour. Also, they hate everything you make for dinner. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, or any other parenting blog, or have experienced this yourself, you will see that being a mom is really, really, really hard. Now this is NOT TO SAY that being a mom isn’t also wonderful, or that non-mom people don’t have it rough – I hate the idea that because I’m saying it’s hard, other people in other life situations might hear me saying that their life is not hard, or less hard than mine. We have a tendency, which I really hate, to compare ourselves to others CONSTANTLY. PLEASE don’t hear me saying that your life is not hard, only hear me saying that life as a mom of young kids, I have found, can be difficult.
So. Please. Let me have Mother’s Day, and let me be excited about it on social media, and in my conversations. In the midst of the other, very exhausting 364 days, Mother’s Day is a shining light for me, as the mother of two children who are too young to understand the importance of regularly expressing appreciation for their mom. Because on Mother’s Day they appreciate the heck out of me. They make CARDS for me, they sing adorable SONGS to me, they have a Mother’s Day tea at their little school where they put on a performance for me and serve me tea, and they tell me they love me and let me sleep in and cuddle me and give me kisses and hugs and bring me breakfast and try to be on their best behaviour, and IT IS HEAVEN. I don’t need much, but I DO NEED THIS, as I have realized. And my husband gets in on it, too, and it’s awesome. It’s so awesome, you guys. Somehow we can celebrate someone on their birthday, and just make them feel a little bit special and appreciated, and those around them don’t feel personally excluded, so can’t we do that for moms? We also have international women’s day, for all women to be appreciated, and to those who say “but we don’t have an ‘everyone else’ day!?”, let me just be a little bit cheeky and say, “but EVERY DAY is ‘everyone else’ day”! If you weren’t pooped on today, then it’s kind of a good day… I’m just saying.
Again, I completely agree that we need to be sensitive. Be sensitive to others in whose shoes we have not walked, always, absolutely, as a rule. But let’s let Moms have ‘Mother’s Day’, and make it the ONE DAY out of 365 that they (I) can spend some time NOT FEELING GUILTY, but just feel awesome, and appreciated, and a little less pooped on than usual.