Fine! I’ll admit it! I HATE Mother’s Day! I would be first in line to vote for taking it completely out of the calendar and forgetting we ever had one! There is no other celebration – not my birthday, not teacher appreciation week – that has caused me so much personal pain and mental anguish.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? After all, Mother’s Day is all about recognizing the most beautiful aspects of motherhood! It’s a day set aside to honor those day-to-day sacrifices that make women so special! Why would I hate Mother’s Day?
Let me share how a typical Mother’s Day goes for me:
- I begin a few days beforehand — by avoiding any and all blog posts, videos posted on social media, and anything else that is aimed at celebrating motherhood. I’ve already learned that those things are either going to come off as being completely glitzy and fake attempts at making motherhood sound like something the writer doesn’t even believe it is, or it’s going to be something that simply turns the screws and reminds me that other people get something closer to the “ideal” life than I ever will. Either way, I don’t want to hear it.
- The night before, “Mother’s Day Eve,” I go to bed reminding myself that tomorrow is, in its true reality, just another day. There’s no reason to hope for anything special and no reason to be upset if nothing special happens.
- I wake up on Mother’s Day, trying to treat it like any other normal Sunday, but secretly hoping that my son has remembered and will at least wish me a “Happy Mother’s Day” when he wakes up. He gets in the shower like it’s any other Sunday — he’s just barely a teenager and is pretty typical.
- We’ll arrive at church mostly on time, and get ready for the sacrament meeting (worship service). After the hymns, the meeting will begin with a young man or a young woman listing all the ways his or her mom is by far the best and most perfect woman ever placed on the earth. This will be followed by a man who talks about the lessons he learned from his mom and another who will tell us all that his wife is by far the kindest, most understanding, generous, and loving person he has ever known. During this 70-minute block, I will get to sit in a pew with my son — without a husband and knowing that neither daughter will see me (and probably not even call) on Mother’s Day. I will get to listen to the tape in my head that reminds me that I’m the loser that screwed it all up, and that God wouldn’t have put me in this position if I shouldn’t have been able to handle it. If the tapes change, I’ll get to listen to the one that tells me that I should be grateful to be the proverbial man with no feet, so that all the other women sitting in the meeting feeling bad can take solace that their life didn’t turn out as badly as mine.
- At the end of sacrament meeting, I will be handed a cut flower whether I want it or not. If I try to resist, I will be given funny looks like I’m some sort of Grinch. At some point, a well-meaning church member will notice that I don’t have a flower and go get me one — making a big fuss about the whole thing. So, I really don’t feel like “celebrating,” and cut flowers are already dead. What’s the big deal? I grow vegetables, and don’t have a lot of use for flowers. (Unless they’re from my fiance — that’s different.)
- Sunday School is usually a bit of a break and gives me a chance to breathe and maybe gather my shattered feelings back together. There should be a quick mention of Mother’s Day, and then we’ll get right on with the regularly scheduled scripture study.
- Finally, there is Relief Society — that’s what we call our weekly women’s meeting. Usually, the lesson is about mothers and how wonderful we are. The teacher, being sensitive to the fact that some of us in the class have histories that cause us to not exactly relish the topic, will still eventually work back around to how good we should feel about ourselves as women and mothers and how happy we should be to be so blessed. I, however, have been blessed with a brain that can turn all of that into something that will feed the feelings from earlier about being the ultimate loser at motherhood. I will probably be the first one out of the parking lot when the meetings end.
- When we finally get home, I will probably get the hug and “Happy Mother’s Day” from Robert, with an apology for having forgotten about it. If that’s all I get, I will be o.k. — he’s my son, and I adore everything about him.
- I will spend the rest of the day distracting myself with “Sabbath activities,” go to bed early, and go to work Monday — hoping that I can forget the whole thing ever happened.
How Could You Write Such a Depressing Post about Mother’s Day?
In short, it’s easy. I’ve felt for a long time that I am NOT obliged to live by the same mindset as everyone around me. I’ve been fine with that for years.
But, I have two real reasons:
- For those of you who have an intact family, haven’t suffered losing a child (yes, I’ve done that, too), enjoy healthy relationships with your extended family and know that you will be appropriately celebrated (and then some) on Mother’s Day, remember that there are women around you who are hurting. They have buried children, lost husbands, tried to have children and failed, and suffered things that you cannot truly understand. Give them an extra hug and let them know that somebody cares.
- For those of you who experience a Mother’s Day like mine, take heart. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We’ve made it through before, and we’ll make it through again. Give yourself the gift of freeing yourself from the guilt of not liking the day. It’s o.k.
In the end, all women are beautiful.
Celebrate the special women in your life by expressing your gratitude to them daily, instead of making a big show once a year. Look for the good in them, and be amazed at all you find.