• Fri, May 11 2012

Mother’s Day Fail: When My Husband Kindly Informed Me That I Was Not His Mother

mother's day“So, what are you getting me for Mother’s Day?”

I should have known better than to have asked. I shouldn’t have asked. But I did.

Mother’s Day, 2008 was a big weekend for our family. Really big. My oldest was turning eight that weekend. He was also making his First Holy Communion on Sunday morning (Mother’s Day). His two younger brothers were getting baptized Sunday afternoon. Since my mother, my mother-in-law, her husband and her sister were going to be staying at our house to attend the First Communion, I thought I might as well get the biggest bang for my buck by coordinating the baptisms for the same weekend. It sounded reasonable at the time.

I spent the week cleaning the house to prep for our out-of-town guests, planning the meal, ordering the cake, working part-time, helping with homework, shuttling the kids to/from school and preschool, and taking my middle son to an emergency trip to the doctor for what the preschool director was convinced was pink eye (only to be told it was just severe allergies – curse you, Spring-time pollen!). Yep, just another beautiful week in the neighborhood for me. Oh, and I purchased cards and gifts for both moms and, since my husband’s aunt doesn’t have any children of her own, a “like a mom” Mother’s Day card and gift for her. I would say I went the extra mile for everyone that weekend. And I would say my “What are you getting me for Mother’s Day?” question was quite reasonable.

What wasn’t reasonable? My husband’s response. My heart rate quickens still, as I type this, nearly four years later. My stomach turns, my shoulder kinks, my heart hurts. My husband responded to my question with “Nothing. You’re not my mother.” NOT YOUR MOTHER? No, I’m not your mother. But I’m the mother of YOUR children, you inconsiderate bastard, you. I’m like a mother to you since I launder your clothes, cook most of your meals, track down your lost keys/cellphone/shoes, schedule your doctor and dentist appointments, reschedule your dentist appointments when you have a conflict, make sure your car is serviced, pay the household bills…you know, all the things a mother does?

“You’re not my mother.” No, no I’m not. And you know what else? Your mother is not my mother either. So from now on, she is your responsibility. I’m not buying her a Mother’s Day card. I’m not buying her a birthday card or gift, either. ‘Cause, you know, she’s not my mother. Two can play this game, mister. And I’m a competitive bitch when it comes to games. GAME ON, jackass!

I used to feel guilty about no longer buying my mother-in-law a Mother’s Day card or birthday gift. Because did I mention I’m also a bit passive aggressive? I didn’t tell my husband I quit buying the cards and gifts for his mother. Not my problem, I say. But, I felt guilty. Then, finally, this year, I gave up guilt for Lent. I started letting guilt go. And it dawned on me. Why should I feel guilty? She raised him, not me. She taught him the values and ideals that she felt was important. If motherhood isn’t important to him, that’s not my problem, it’s hers. And I feel so much better now.

I still hate Mother’s Day though. Every time I see some stupid, sappy Mother’s Day commercial, those words echo in my head. “You’re not my mother.” No, thank God I’m not, because if you were my kid, I would have raised you better than that.

This is a reader submission for “Worst Mother’s Day” stories. Please send your story of about 600 words detailing your sucky Mother’s Day to entries[AT]mommyish[DOT]com.

(photo: esquire.com)

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  • Andrea

    But I have to know more!!! Then what happened???

    Yes, I am a nosy bitch. Forgive me. But you posted it! ;)

  • Lisa

    I buy my own Mother’s Day presents now – they are much better anyway:). And we are still married. 25 years this August.

    • Andrea

      Do you still no buy presents for your MIL? How did that work out?

      And good for YOU!!!!

  • Michelle

    My husband expected me to make the same thing for his mom what I made for my mom. I printed out a picture from our recent wedding of my brother and myself and put it in a pretty frame (we’re broke, that’s as good as it’s gonna get mom). He got all pissy and asked me what I was making for his mom. I told him nothing, she’s not my mom! Thanks for sharing, it’s hard not to feel guilty that I’m sticking to my guns over this one.

  • Somnilee

    Awesome, you make a valid point and I’m (retrospectively?) proud of your actions :) Because random internet commenters are there to make up for crappy situations.

  • Ali

    My heart rate quickened when I read this too! Did he ever say sorry?!?
    Bastard!!!

    • Vini

      Really? Bastard?
      I don’t see what was wrong with the husband’s response. It is Mother’s day, so she will get gifts from her kids if they are old enough. Why would a husband buy gifts for his wife on Mother’s day when I am sure he already does special things for the wife’s birthday, Valentine’s day, the anniversary and Christmas.

    • Tiffany

      Yes, definitely the definition of a bastard!

  • Renee J

    What about Father’s Day? I hope he didn’t expect something from you.

  • Vini

    As for ” I’m like a mother to you since I launder your clothes, cook most of your meals, track down your lost keys/cellphone/shoes, schedule your doctor and dentist appointments, reschedule your dentist appointments when you have a conflict, make sure your car is serviced, pay the household bills…you know, all the things a mother does?”..

    Isn’t supporting your partner part and parcel of a marriage? Why would anyone require additional appreciation for doing things which a person would do in any relationship? Maybe it’s just me, but the ‘I do so many things, I am special, give me gifts’ attitude really throws me off. Especially when I think of all the sacrifices so many mother’s have been making for years around the world without any of these entitlements.

    • Lisa

      Hmm…just to be clear, I’m not looking a “give me gifts” kind of girl. I was mostly just looking for a “thanks for being an adequate mother to our childen” not the Hope Diamond or a week-end at the spa.

      For the record, I think Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day are completely overhyped holidays, I don’t want to be showered with gifts and affection on those special days and ignored for the rest of them. I just wanted to feel a bit appreciated and his curt response really didn’t have me “feelin’ the love”.

      Also, many, many, many of my friends have spouses who take care of their own dry cleaning/car maintenance/etc. My motto for my family is that we are a team and we work together for the betterment of our family. I work hard to take care of my family and am definitely not looking for entitlements.

      The fact that my husband and I have been married for nearly 25 years and I can now laugh at the fact that he continually “forgets” birthdays, anniversaries and all these Hallmark Holidays should be testimony to the fact that I’m not a spoiled brat looking for gifts and entitlements.

    • Molly

      “The fact that my husband and I have been married for nearly 25 years and I can now laugh at the fact that he continually “forgets” birthdays, anniversaries and all these Hallmark Holidays should be testimony to the fact that I’m not a spoiled brat looking for gifts and entitlements.”

      Then why did you even bother asking him what he got you for Mother’s Day, and get pissy because he said you’re not his mother? You contradict yourself.

    • Vini

      @Molly..thanks for that! I do think she is contradicting herself now that everyone commented on the article.

  • badbadwebbis

    First, I congratulate you on realizing that one of the thankless and unconscious expectations of husbands is frequently the idea that the wife takes over being thoughtful towards and purchasing gifts for the husband’s relatives. My ex had that attitude for many years. He also had the idea that I should do all of the cooking, the childcare (although he deigned to ‘babysit’ once in a while) and the housework. It sounds like you married his close relative.

    He is correct, however, that you are not his mother. My mother always expected gifts from my father, which I thought was weird. His real responsibility on Mother’s Day is to assist the children with their gifts for you, if necessary. That’s what my current husband does. He also remembers his own parents’ birthdays and anniversaries and special days.

    Give him the responsibility of getting gifts for his mother and female relatives, and allow your children to experience the delight of doing something for you, or of making or buying you gifts.

    • Eileen

      ^ This.

      Although, if you’re personally close to your mother-in-law, I don’t see anything wrong with giving her a card for Mother’s Day, too – but from you, not your husband.

  • Molly

    I find it rather disturbing that you feel it’s okay to humiliate your husband in an article and call your him an inconsiderate bastard and a jackass simply because he said he didn’t buy you anything for Mother’s Day. You say you hate the holiday, but yet you want him to buy you something. Which is it? You want to be appreciated as a mother on Mother’s Day or not?

  • victoria

    I think it’s a brilliant plan. And you are a brilliant mother and wife. You deserve to be celebrated. Happy Mother’s Day!!

  • Rural Life

    Sounds pretty inconsiderate and insensitive, hopefully he makes up in other areas because I certainly wouldn’t put up with 25 years of being treated this way…sounds like a jerk!

  • Amy

    As a Brit, this just seems insane to me. Do other countries really expect a husband to buy their wife a present on mother’s day? I’m pretty shocked by the expectation of the author that her husband would buy her something, and even more shocked that the comments are backing her up! Talk about cultural differences…

    Also, quit whining that you’re essentially acting like your husband’s mum. You chose to marry a man child, and only stopped because he refused to buy you a present. So much for your claims in the comment that you’re not a spoilt brat demanding gifts. If you didn’t let him act like a child, he wouldn’t.

    Also, your oldest child is eight, and this hasn’t come up before? Your husband presumably buys you gifts on your birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and your anniversary. You can’t let his actual mother have a non-birthday or christmas related day to herself?

    • Frances

      I know this is difficult for a Brit to understand, but the article was a JOKE. Probably based in truth but meant to be taken as tongue in cheek.

    • Vini

      Amy, please do not think everyone from across the pond are as rude as Frances. Maybe her insult was also meant as a joke?

  • Salvar

    This article is a little over the top. If you’re so woefully unappreciated in general, that’s a general issue, and a present on a predetermined holiday is not the solution. As for the holiday in general… he’s right, you know. Punishing him for a literal understanding is just furthering the same old tired gender stereotypes. So he thinks “Mother’s Day” is about giving presents to one’s mother–that is an entirely valid interpretation. Your interpretation, about being nice to the women in one’s life, is also valid–but not the be-all end-all. Your question was not unreasonable, but neither was his answer.
    But since you’ve been married 25 years, I suspect this wasn’t as big a deal as you’re making it out to be. In which case I’m just kind of annoyed that it’s being presented so over-the-top… it really just sounds like the same old I Love Lucy stereotypes, and I don’t think those do either gender any good.

    • Frances

      The piece was meant to be tongue in cheek and FUNNY. Please take the stick out of your ass and lighten up.

    • Vini

      @Frances, was in tongue in cheek? I did not get that from anywhere in the article. Felt quite a serious rant to me.
      Lisa, were you really joking? If so, I would be glad to take the stick out of my ass since this article really poked me the wrong way.

  • Frances

    I’m sure you’re getting flamed for this, but I love love LOVE this! This is probably my favorite thing I’ve read on this site ever. You are my favorite person of the day.

  • Shelly

    Well it looks as if the mommy wars are still on. Lets all tear each other up because some moms like to get a little something extra from their spouse on Mother’s day.

  • Amber

    My husband says the same thing!! I don’t expect gifts and Mother’s Day is just another day around here, usually, but could you get your awful children out of my hair for a few hours? Or, when he’s gone (which is quite often), maybe a card. Hell, I’ll even take an ecard.

  • Melanie

    I honestly believe that women, wives, mother’s should be respected, appreciated and treated nicely (as should husbands/father’s). This doesn’t have to mean an expensive gift, but a considerate husband would have shown some sense of appreciation or at least acknowledged the mother of his kids on Mother’s Day. It’s just nice and respectful. I think we’re entitled to a sense of entitlement sometimes, otherwise we let ourselves become under appreciated doormats.

  • Olivia

    Why don’t you just talk to your husband and explain why it’s so important to you? Seems like a rather simple solution.

  • Mary

    I’m more than happy to share the entitlement banner with you! You sure had a rough go with this! I love your post and hope you have a peaceful, relaxing Mother’s Day full of celebrating you! Enjoy!

  • Shan

    Thanks for this post! I was bumming out until I read this. You made me laugh!! I am going to plan a wonderful day alone with my daughter and just focus on us today. Thanks for the smiles! Happy Mother’s Day! (If you were my wife, I would buy you a big bouquet of flowers and serve you breakfast in bed – that’s all I would have wanted today and I wish that for all mothers).

  • Diem

    Every needs to stop bitching about how ‘mean’ her aarticle is. I’m sure her husband READ this article and laughed because he know’s it’s true. Or he at leaast pretended ti read it and said ‘that’s nicce, dear’.

    • vini

      Well, if we don’t debate her point of view it would negate one of the biggest ways Mommyish draws people right? The way I look at it, this blog is meant for people to post their radical or at least somewhat different personal thoughts (I am sure Lisa knew her point of view wasn’t exactly universal) and then for people to discuss it.
      If some of my comments were too harsh, I apologize for having gotten too much into the heat of the debate.

  • Sasha

    He should have at least helped his kids pick out/ make something for their mom.

  • Pingback: I’m glad I’m not your mom « everything livia

  • Jennifer

    I can’t believe how many people are giving the author a hard time!! Mother’s Day is just that to celebrate all Mother’s!! I think her husband is being very insensitive!! Yes she is not his mother but she brought his children into the world and it is his responsibility to celebrate her for being a good mother! At the very least make sure his kids get her a card or make her something! My feelings would be hurt too! It’s supposed to be a special day for ALL Mother’s!! I wouldn’t hold it in though… I would speak with him and explain how much that hurt you. It’s not good to keep things bottled up! I hope he comes to realize that you deserve and need to be loved on Mother’s Day too just as much as his own mother!

  • robin

    my husband said the same thing this mothers day ..it ripped my heart out ..we have 6 kids , he has 3 and i have 3 but none together ..and i buy his mother her gifts every year and my grandmas and my moms i didn’t even get a card or nothing, i would of been happy with him cleaning out my van …anything just to show he cared and to show it was my day but instead made it the worst day ever and then when i was hurt and upset he decided to fight with me and make it way worse

  • leelee

    How can anyone be so rude to blame the writer in this! I very much agree with her. Hope he gets the same treatment on Fathers day as he gives. Sorry and Happy Mothers Day:

  • Valerie

    My husband used to say that every Mother’s day until I pointed out to him that despite the fact he is not my father, i still make father’s day great for him. He still made sure my son did nice things for me but the fact that he felt compelled to say that every Mother’s Day annoyed me. So I told him it was a buzz kill and undid all the nice things he orchestrated on the day. I too no longer send my MIL Mother’s Day cards. I still grumble, grumble buy her birthday gifts and have to have her every Christmas but I make my husband entertain her.

  • ksudeanna

    same thing happened to me many years ago…..wait till the hubby sends you flowers for your birthday and doesn’t pay the bill so being the good person you are, you pay the bill. Shouldn’t pay the bill. If the husband who is the father of your children doesn’t teach his children to respect their mother on mother’s day…it may lead to them being insensitive to their mom when it comes to mother’s day. Sad. Sounds like these guys that do this are thoughtless.

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  • Neha

    What’s more important? You winning this “game” against your husband OR you mother in law feeling loved and happy to receive some kind words?

  • Nom De Guerre

    No Idea how “real” this story is, but it’s interesting to me how much of the mother’s work is spending. Buying cards and gifts, ordering cake, etc. For the record, stop making such a huge deal of doing the laundry, etc. If you really feel good about becoming a housecow, sipping martinis and gorging on bon-bons, go ahead. I’m sure your husband will do just fine without your “services”, thank you very much.

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  • Time Out

    Wow, this level of angry needs some counselling or there’s going to be a divorce soon. Don’t care how long people are married, sometimes it’s necessary to see how harmful things have become. No joke. Especially with kids involved.

  • teaj

    Lol what a bitter bitch. I feel so sorry for your husband.

    • TMG

      I suspect you are either A) a man, or B) a women that is either unmarried or married with no children. As a (happily) married mother of a 6 month old, I am happy to say my husband has seen my sleepless nights, stressful days, change in identity etc etc etc that comes with being a mother. Endless sacrifices and giving to her family. The list goes on. As an over-achiever in life and someone who is currently vying for a Summa Cum Laude GPA at a highly ranked college for a scholarship to law school, and who has been a manager 7 of her 9 over-the-age-of-18 years, MOTHERHOOD (and also being a wife) is the hardest job I’ve ever had – and the pay sucks (but is totally worth it). And I had never known it until I lived it. I am LUCKY my husband appreciates my hard work and tells me so (and occasionally buys me over-priced gifts that I wish he never had spent that much on), just to let me know that the other 364 days of the year he recognizes how much I give. So no, I feel sorry for this momma. Sounds like she feels unappreciated, and this was the tip of the iceberg. No man born in this century thinks Mother’s Day doesn’t apply to the mother of THIER children.

  • Jodie

    My husband is also of this school, although he will deign to get a present and card for me. However, he won’t let my son sign his mother’s card because “she isn’t his mother.” I think this is d-bag behavior so I left my son sign my mother’s card very loudly to rub it in.

  • Katie

    I’m so sorry about that. You should not feel guilty for not getting her presents and cards. you’re doing more than you’re supposed to do. You’re the mother of his children and you should be more important to her than his mother because you’re not only the mother of his children, you’re also his wife and the love of his life!

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  • Michelle mcbride

    My husband tells me this every year..:,(

  • mthoneybee

    I love this, it hit the nail right on the head. LOVE!

  • Mystic51

    Great read!
    Wow!! In my lifetime, I have met two men that said what her husband said and I used the revolving door! Out!! He definitely has issues with “motherhood” and the woman that brought the miracles into this world. What a self-centered, inconsiderate asshole!!
    Just yesterday, I went to the station to pick up my usual electronic cig and the proprietor, who doesn’t even know my name said “Happy Mother’s Day”! Now that, is a real gentleman raised with the right values. It has nothing to do with whose mother it is, just, for once, give a mother… any mother… recognition that they exist, and that they have worked most of their lives as the caregivers for everyone in one way or another!!

  • Marm

    A better response would have been “then I guess you don’t expect anything for father’s day.” What a dick. How could you stay with someone that stupid?

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