Even The Mother Of Mother’s Day Hates Mother’s Day

wilted-rosesI love learning new things! A woman named Anna Jarvis spearheaded Mother’s Day as a way to honor her own badass mother who cared for Civil War soldiers and taught Sunday school. She spent an inordinate amount of time and energy convincing Congress to recognize it as a national holiday, which they did in 1914. But then when it got commercialized, she was all like, oops, just kidding guys! Changed my mind!

Nicole Russell of The Atlantic sheds light on this crazy irony:

In a press release, [Jarvis] wrote florists and greeting card manufacturers were “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations.” She went door-to-door collecting petitions to rescind Mother’s Day and spent the rest of her life trying to abolish the holiday she founded.

I’m not crazy about Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day, for that matter) but it’s not because of the commercialization. It’s more because I just have no idea what it’s supposed to be about. Do I spend time with just my mom on Mother’s Day? Make it all about her? Am I competing with my sister to demonstrate who loves mommy more? Or should I actually put all of my focus on my mom’s mom, the matriarch of the family? Or do I just hang out with my own little family because I’m a new mom? Mother’s Day, to me, feels like everybody talking at the same time and nobody listening.

And then I have my own personal reasons for being weird about the holiday. Call me lazy and selfish and whatever, but my mother’s birthday is May 3rd, which falls so very close to Mother’s Day. This happens every year but somehow STILL, after nearly three decades of having a mother, manages to surprise me.

As a kid, we would just ask my dad to buy something nice for mom. When I got a little older, I would make my mom some lame homemade gift for one of the two holidays, and then I’d buy something a little nicer for the other one. But now I’m a new working mom with postpartum depression and I can barely keep my own shit together, and I feel like an ass but I didn’t even call her on her birthday and I still have no idea what (if anything?) I’m going to do for Mother’s Day.

I see what Jarvis wanted to do when she created the holiday: she wanted to honor one of her greatest role models in a really big way. But I don’t think that’s something we need to do culture-wide as a holiday, I think we need to honor our role models frequently and shower them with love daily because they freaking deserve it. And bring them flowers and breakfast in bed just because.

(photo: S.Wacharaphong / Shutterstock)

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  • Amanda

    I’ve always hated Mother’s Day. My mother has severe schizophrenia, so I have always been more of a mother to my sisters (& even her) than she ever was to us. We are not close, we never have been close. She was violent and angry with me my entire life. I’ll buy her something small like candy or flowers, sure, but I always hated trying to pick out a card because they’re all like, “Thanks for making me into the person I am today!” or “Thanks for being my best friend” or whatever, and I don’t feel that way at all about her. I love her because she’s my mom, but it doesn’t really go much more than that.

    I’m always jealous of other women who have had mothers to talk to, vent to, cry to, bond with, etc because I’ve never once had that.

    • gen

      ((((((((HUGS)))))))) to you sweetheart!!

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Amanda Low

      I am so sorry :-( This is exactly what I’m talking about, I have friends with abusive/absent mothers and this holiday does nothing for them but make them feel like they’re missing out on something. Truth is, role models come in all shapes and forms, and this culture puts way too much emphasis on the importance of the mother. It’s bad for everyone!

  • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

    You are so totally right, Amanda! I have to work 12 hours on Mother’s Day. While I was lamenting that I didn’t get to spend any time with my son, my husband told me that every Sunday should be Mother’s Day, and that it didn’t matter where I was on the Hallmark holiday. So my son, my mother, and I will celebrate the day on Monday by just spending time together and it will be just as special without the flowers, cards, and ridiculous gifts.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Amanda Low

      Thank you Valeri! And that sucks you have to work today, blech :-(

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      Working today sucked!!! I am a waitress, and you know how that goes. It’s all about the tips. Well, my baby has been sick the last couple of days and even though I’ve been scheduled to work, I’ve opted to go home early and give the other servers my sections so I could be with him…. I just assumed I would make up for the money today because we are always so busy on Mother’s Day. Well….. Epic fail. My bosses apparently don’t appreciate the extra shifts I’ve been pulling (and the other jobs I’ve been doing) as much as I’d hoped. I keep getting stuck in crappy sections. While the other servers walked out of there with $3 and $400, I came out with $80. :(

      Sorry…. Had to vent about that.

  • Lady Unemployed

    I came acros this post after googling “my mom hates Mother’s day.” I had a day trip planned and it tuned out my mon didn’t want to go at all. I was able to get the tickets refunded but all I ended up with was a card to give her. It’s funny because my mom and I are really close but these holidays are completely crapy, to be honest. If anyone has thoughts on how to fix that, I’m open.