Holidays

Boycotting Mother’s Day Is The Wrong Battle To Pick

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shutterstock_128554451Being a mother can be really hard, and I will not give up my day of glory that comes but once a year on Mother’s Day. Believe it or not, there are mothers who hate Mother’s Day—similar to people who refuse to celebrate honest-to-God fun holidays because of “commercialism.”

I’ve heard this rant about Valentine’s Day and often Christmas every year of my life. But now you’re trying to take Mother’s Day from me too?

One blogger explains her reasoning behind boycotting Mother’s Day:

All throughout my childhood I felt like Mother’s Day was forced down my throat like liver and onions. It was as if my mother’s entire existence depended upon how much praise and pageantry I could heap on her during one awkward and seemingly rehearsed Sunday in May. This contributed to my belief that Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day) are ridiculous made-up holidays. They are a farce perpetuated by card companies, florists and chocolatiers.

Still, I want to hold onto the idea that I celebrate being a mother every day. I am eternally grateful for being blessed with three lovely children, and I am honored and humbled by the privilege and responsibility of being their mother. I am a mother each and every day, and I want to celebrate it like the daily gift that it is.

I want to give this blogger all of the respect she deserves; this is not an attack on her character. She sounds like a great mother, and she is entitled to her own point of view. But I absolutely hate this anti-commercial attitude that sucks the fun out of cheesy holidays that are “forced down our throats.”

I’ve only had two Mother’s Days, and so far, I am enjoying them. This year will be my third. I haven’t done anything amazing to celebrate, but I’ll take flowers when they are given to me and well wishes from family members via Facebook and text. It is one day of the year. Even in light of this blogger’s reasoning, I can’t think of one good reason not to enjoy it.

In the parenting world, there are many, many battles to pick. Boycotting Mother’s Day is not one of them. As a parent, and especially as a mother, you’re likely to get tangled up in the mommy wars at least once in your life, and you’ll also have to make tough parenting decisions. One holiday is not going to make a difference either way. Enjoy the day for what it is, even if you claim to cherish your children every other day of the year (very similar to the argument of couples who don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day). At least on Mother’s Day, you get to sleep in.

(Image: Sunny studio/Shutterstock)

52 Comments

  1. JulySheWillFly

    May 7, 2014 at 9:08 am

    You get to sleep in on Mother’s Day?

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 7, 2014 at 9:10 am

      Maybe…. I suck at sleeping in now. 🙁 I need more practice!

    • Obladi Oblada

      May 7, 2014 at 10:19 am

      If I get to sleep until 7, I feel like a queen.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 7, 2014 at 10:21 am

      YES!

    • keelhaulrose

      May 7, 2014 at 11:23 am

      My husband and I went away for the weekend this past weekend and were all about sleeping in. We got up at 8 and thought we did a good job of it.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 7, 2014 at 11:33 am

      That is super late!!

  2. Kay_Sue

    May 7, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Much like every other holiday, I don’t really care what your opinions on it are as long as you aren’t forcing them down other people’s throats.

    You don’t like Valentine’s Day? Okay, that’s cool. I can see your point. You imply that celebrating Valentine’s Day somehow means that I don’t take my relationship seriously every day? Not cool.

    My view on Mother’s Day is the same: You don’t celebrate? That’s nifty. I’m pretty anti-commercialism myself. You imply that somehow it makes you a better mother and/or that I don’t appreciate being a mother every day? Not cool.

    • pixie

      May 7, 2014 at 10:26 am

      I’ve seen the “shoving it down peoples’ throats” from both sides, and both sides make me want to hit my head against a wall. My family’s pretty “meh” about holidays like Mother’s Day, etc, and I do show my appreciation to my parents every day, but I don’t think that someone who goes all out doesn’t do the same; they just prefer to celebrate things differently. I also get put off when it seems like someone’s sense of self-worth hangs on a holiday and how much attention they get. Enjoy the appreciation and love you do get, but don’t be demanding and expect people to shower you with praise and gifts. (using the general “you”, not meaning you, Kay_Sue in particular, because I don’t think you’re super demanding like that 😉 )

    • momjones

      May 7, 2014 at 10:41 am

      When I was growing up, Mother’s Day was a big thing because when you put it into perspective, you have to realize that mothers in the 50s and 60s didn’t really have jobs outside of the home, so historically, a day honoring them made sense. We celebrated the day with my grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins – it was a wonderful day with family and lots of food (which the women made, of course). When my children were growing up, we went to both my mother’s and my MIL’s homes. It was simple, and of course, there was food. I really never made any demands on my own children or my husband on the day – my son’s tradition is to get me a variety of sweet potato plants, my daughters do things in their own way (and most likely I will be making dinner for my daughter with the children). My husband does things like get me a pick up truck full of rocks from our property. Once, when asked by his colleagues what he was getting me for Mother’s Day, he replied, “rocks” and when they asked him what type of stone, he answered, “Literally, rocks.”

    • pixie

      May 7, 2014 at 10:56 am

      See, I think that’s sweet. And I do understand the historical viewpoint.
      Like you said, you didn’t make demands and your kids figured out their own way to celebrate you being their mother and you celebrated with your whole family when you were growing up. I can get behind that, and I think that’s what the day should be about (with varying degrees on how it’s implemented, depending on the family’s preferences). It’s the two extremes of “everyone do this for me or else and if you don’t shower your Mother with love and praise on this day, you’re a horrible person” and “boycott all commercialized holidays and if you don’t, you’re a horrible person”. My boyfriend’s grandmother was incredulous when she found out that my mom doesn’t sleep in and get made breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day, even though my mom wakes up at 6am without fail on weekends no matter what and isn’t a breakfast in bed type of person.

    • Kay_Sue

      May 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      I very much agree. It’s like people that jump in to defend Valentine’s Day. It *is*, in fact, a made-up holiday. It doesn’t need to be defended. If you are going to celebrate, go ahead. If you aren’t, don’t.

      I approached it from the one point of view because of the column, but you’re right–it comes from both ends.

    • K.

      May 7, 2014 at 10:44 am

      I’m with you–to each her own.

      I also find the backlash against Mother’s Day (as opposed to say, Christmas, which has religious meaning to some and therefore I feel the offense regarding its commercialism is slightly more understandable) a little…weird. I mean, you can always celebrate any holiday as you please (seafood stuffing for relatives in the South on Thanksgiving; barbecued turkey for us in the West), but it’s not like Mother’s Day has a litany of traditions and rituals that are “standard” to begin with. My BFF apparently forgoes breakfast in bed at 10am for “martini-in-bed” at 4pm.

      I mean, I guess in that sense, if getting her panties in a wad over Mother’s Day is this lady’s thing, then so be it.

    • Kay_Sue

      May 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Yeah, I don’t get the hullabuloo either. It *is* a made-up holiday. Make-up what traditions you want and go with it. I, personally, feel like I am going to go for a daiquiri-in-bed now that you have put the idea in my head.

  3. Ursi

    May 7, 2014 at 9:27 am

    This is so stupid.

    Look, all holidays are made up holidays. All holidays are full of fake lame commercialism. I’m not too invested in non-religious holidays, days that aren’t holy days of obligation on the liturgical calendar and whatnot. That doesn’t mean I want to put an end to Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day and Sweetest Day (whatever the heck that’s about). Let people have their days.

    Honestly, I don’t get why a mother would be so down on it. Obviously you’re supposed to love your mother 24-7 but why not pick a special day to show it? Humans are not as organically conscientious as they pretend to be. People who say, “I don’t care about Valentines day because every day is Valentines day with my partner!” Hah. No it isn’t. You could pick another day to do something special together but most people agree it’s nice to have a calendar reminding them that it’s time for affirmation.

    If Mother’s Day means something to you then it means something period. That’s all there is to it. I always do something nice for my mom for Mother’s Day because it means something to her, not because it means something to me.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      May 7, 2014 at 9:41 am

      What in god’s name is “Sweetest Day”???
      It’s weird cos Mother’s Day is long gone here in Ireland…

    • Ursi

      May 7, 2014 at 9:44 am

    • JenH1986

      May 7, 2014 at 10:26 am

      It’s the fall Valentine’s Day! I’m pretty sure it’s regional because we celebrate it here, but most of my friends who live elsewhere are like WTF??

    • Zettai

      May 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      I totally forgot about Sweetest Day! I think it is regional stateside too because I haven’t heard a word about it since I left the Midwest.

    • JenH1986

      May 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      I can say the hubs and I ignore that one altogether. We celebrate Valentines Day and our anniversary (even if it’s just something small) but…we skip Sweetest Day because it’s dumb. Plus candy goes on sale at the end of October anyway.

    • Snarktopus

      May 7, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      I live in Iowa, and I’ve never heard of Sweetest Day, so I don’t think it’s a Midwest thing…

    • Zettai

      May 8, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Hmm… now I’m just confused.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      May 10, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      I have never once heard of this lol!

  4. gothicgaelicgirl

    May 7, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I’m a very lucky stepmom, the kids every year have been sweet enough to get em cards and have a “Mother’s Day Dinner” with me.

    I do get people saying the usual “O well it’s not like you’re their REAL MOTHER” and I just reply- “No, but I AM a parent”

    I always got my stepmom gifts and cards too, she was and still is, too important in my life not to acknowledge, after ten years of caring for me

  5. jendra_berri

    May 7, 2014 at 9:44 am

    You get to live on the planet for X number of unspecified years. Most of those days for long stretches will be the same for most people. A handful a year will be different and most of them likely will be holidays.
    Don’t grump the holidays. Major peeve of mine. If you don’t like a specific day, I consider that a personal problem and one you can have the good grace to keep to yourself– which if you’re trying to pretend the day doesn’t exist, makes more sense anyway.
    And speaking of reasons why someone truly might struggle with Mother’s Day, my mom has been dead since 1999. My Grammy had been gone for years and my Grandma, who I lived with after my mom died, died in 2000. Until 2013, I had no one to celebrate and I often felt very sad. My reaction was not, I can assure you, to shit all over other people’s joy.

    • K.

      May 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

      I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your moms and grandmothers. They raised a really articulate lady!

  6. LadyClodia

    May 7, 2014 at 9:49 am

    What happens when/if her kids want to do something for her on Mother’s Day? Does she let them? Does she give them a lecture about commercialism?
    At my son’s preschool they definitely talk about Mother’s Day, and make special projects for their mothers. He’s already been told that it’s something important, so even if I didn’t like Mother’s Day, I certainly wouldn’t discourage him from wanting to do something nice for me.

    (Also, disqus keeps eating my comments, grr.)

  7. Ashley Austrew

    May 7, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Mother’s Day is a day of acknowledgement. Maybe she’d like it more if she weren’t so consumed with how it feels to HER and what it means to HER, and she actually attempted to celebrate someone else without complaining about it. Mother’s Day is shoved down your throat like “liver and onions” as a kid because your parents are trying to teach you about appreciation and giving. You don’t have to put on awkward displays of pageantry for your mother anymore if you don’t want to, but maybe consider that there’s more to the day than celebrating yourself and your own motherhood.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      May 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      if its been “shoved down” like “liver and onions,” that does not indicate a mother who’s simply trying to convey a sense of appreciation and giving. If it actually were about a gesture of acknowledgement, the blogger’s mother would have been happy with some flowers, a card, breakfast, etc. and not needed the full-blown pageant. If you really want to demonstrate your appreciation, a simple but thoughtful gesture should do nicely. if the recipient is a total, demanding ingrate, as this blogger’s mother seems to be and as my mother definitely was, the giver starts to feel that too effort is worthwhile, since it will never be enough. So I’d say appreciation, at least, is a two-way street.

  8. momjones

    May 7, 2014 at 10:14 am

    More sanctimonious “I’m a better mom than you are” bull shit. “Look at ME, I am blessed, BLESSED, I tell you, to be the mom of ‘three lovely children’ I tell you – I’m honored, humbled, I’m the BEST, and I don’t need a special day to talk about my LIFE – because I give LIFE to my special babies every moment of my existence…and YOU? You want chocolate, and flowers, and breakfast in bed (WHAT? You’re not getting up to make your precious babies, babies I tell you, their individual breakfasts? That’s what REAL moms do!), and those ‘hands in plaster thingies’ that your kids made for you!!” http://media.giphy.com/media/6Nv7BdrUl6Psc/giphy.gif

  9. pixie

    May 7, 2014 at 10:14 am

    My family isn’t huge on Mother’s Day or Father’s day, or any other holiday. I give my parents cards, but we don’t make a huge deal out of whatever day it is. That’s cool if you have brunch, lunch, or dinner to celebrate, that’s just not how my family is and I honestly do acknowledge and make my appreciation for my parents known every day. I can also say that if it felt like my mom’s sense of self-worth relied on how much acknowledgement and praise she got on Mother’s Day, I’d be pretty turned off as well (which I think is the biggest problem that woman had with it, and it developed into anti-commercialism from there).

    I had a friend growing up who was raised by a single mom. Her mom insisted that her two kids get her something and spoil her on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and would go absolutely insane if one of them forgot or would get mad if she didn’t feel appreciated enough. My boyfriend’s mother also makes a huge deal about Mother’s Day and practically demands to be showered with attention.

    I’m all for showing your mom, grandma, or whoever, some love and appreciation on Mother’s Day, but I don’t think it should be forced upon everyone. Doing something nice for someone for the sake of being nice is where the true appreciation and gratefulness lies, not in feeling obligated to do something.

    • Tina

      May 7, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      Totally agree, it being expected or forced defeats the purpose. Also, now as an adult, I love to spoil my mom a bit on Mother’s Day exactly for the reason because she has never asked for or expected any attention or gifts in return just for being a mom and doing her best. But she’s amazing and deserves to have that reassurance that her efforts do not go unappreciated even years later.

    • pixie

      May 7, 2014 at 11:37 pm

      I honestly wish I could spoil my mom more, so with lack of funds, I try to spend more time with her or doing activities with her that she enjoys. My mom’s a runner so I asked if she’d like to do a 5km race with me next month and I think she’s excited that I’m trying to get interested in things she likes. And she leaves for a business trip pretty early Sunday morning, but I’m totally willing to haul my ass out of bed to see her off at the airport even though I know she wouldn’t blame me for sleeping a bit longer instead.

  10. Paul White

    May 7, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I think some people just don’t like excuses to celebrate unless there’s no possible way anyone at all is offended or left out.

    To those people: Go piss up a rope.

  11. Brooke

    May 7, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because it “forces” me to slow down and think about how grateful I am for my mom and dad and how much I appreciate that my husband is an equal partner in parenting.

    I am a little sad though because every year since I had a baby, my grandpa would bring me flowers to “thank me” for his great grandson and this will be the first year without them. So maybe that’s the other lesson – these holidays give opportunities for memories after the people are gone.

  12. TwentiSomething Mom

    May 7, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Sheesh, its one day out the year where you stop and reflect on how much this person means to you and do something nice. If you allow Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day to stress you out, you’re missing the point and going about it all wrong.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      May 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      It sounds like this blogger’s mother was the one missing the point. Pro tip: if you have to *force* people to acknowledge your meaningfulness in their lives, you probably don’t want to know what they actually mean to you.

  13. keelhaulrose

    May 7, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I get that a lot of people buy cards/gifts and go out to eat, but our family treated it more as a day where we weren’t allowed to be selfish and make demands of our mother, and to appreciate the hard work my mom did every day by not making her do all that work. My mom much preferred someone else scrub the house or make a nice meal over getting gifts. That’s the vein we’re following now. I don’t need stuff (though I don’t say no to the framed photos I get every year), but I do like a day off that’s really a day off, and where I get to choose what we do instead of constantly having to give in to the kid’s demands.

  14. Butt Trophy Recipient

    May 7, 2014 at 11:29 am

    They should also boycott food, because it’s so commercialized!

  15. Guest

    May 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I have a friend who says she hates Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, even her Birthday, etc. because they don’t matter, no big deal, blah blah blah….but I feel like she says these things because her husband makes ZERO effort for any of them (it’s pretty sad actually, especially with her birthday) and now her kids have learned to make no effort for anything because she doesn’t return the favour for his days. I get that Valentine’s and in a way Mother’s Day is a “made up” holiday but I’m pretty sure if her husband came home with a bunch of flowers and chocolates she wouldn’t be throwing them away and telling him he wasted his money on a fake celebration.
    I personally make a big deal of my husband’s “days” so that I get the big effort in return as I love my birthday….and any excuse chocolate.

    • Guest

      May 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      My coworker was in a fight with his wife last Valentine’s and asked her if she wanted anything. She of course said no. We told him he still needed to get her something and in the end both of them would be happier. He ordered some cheap chocolate covered berries to her work and she was ecstatic. Made his life a whole lot easier because she was in such a good mood after that. Little things make a big difference.

    • Rachel Sea

      May 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      I used to hate celebrating my birthday because of baggage, but my wife and friends like birthday parties, and I like hanging out with my friends and eating cake, so I’ve learned to shut-up and enjoy it.

      I bet if your friend and her husband had an honest conversation about it, they’d lighten up and do a little celebrating.

  16. Zettai

    May 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I think some people take holidays too seriously, whether you’re into it or not. Acknowledging an unofficial (not government-mandated) holiday like Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you have to spend tons of money or effort on chocolates, dinner, the whole nine. And NOT acknowledging it doesn’t mean you have to use a bullhorn to tell the whole world what a commercial ripoff it is and how much you LOVE your partner EVERYDAY and by the way fuck Hallmark!

  17. Kelly

    May 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I kind of hate mother’s day because my mother abused me but I just quietly ignore it for the most part. My husband and son will do something sweet for me and I appreciate it but more than anything I just want to have a few drinks and get through the day.

    I don’t get judging other people for celebrating holidays because that’s stupid but the Valentine’s day judgers irritate me more than anybody. I always want to say if people like me can get through mother’s day and father’s day without being raging cunts to everyone around us, single people can get through Valentine’s day with the same courtesy.

    So, I’ll be putting my money where my mouth is again this year and enjoy an uneventful and drama free mother’s day without saying anything nasty or condescending to anybody. It’s really not that hard.

    • Paul White

      May 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Honestly, even as much as I don’t, and never have, cared for Valentine’s day, the people to go on and on and on about have surpassed the holiday itself as far as annoyance factor goes. It’s like people that won’t stop bitching about hipsters.

  18. Layla

    May 7, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I think sometimes some people’s feelings are affected by their childhood. My husband doesn’t like any of these holidays bec his mom would make it so stressful with all demands and expectations. And then cry about it when it didn’t go her way. It sucks for me bec for holidays like Christmas I get all excited and he is a bit scroogey about it (in terms of decorating and stuff not gift wise). I should write his mom a “thanks a lot” letter lol

    • Andrea

      May 7, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      I’ve actually written that letter, although I did not mail it. I blame that woman for stealing the joy out of every holiday for my husband. He’s getting better now, but it was slow going.

  19. Emily A.

    May 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Seriously. Keep things in check, and don’t sweat it. You’ll survive unscathed. If I get a card and whatnot, that’s awesome. But otherwise: it’s a Sunday. Don’t expect otherwise. The commercialism actually only gets in the way when you pressure your family to participate.

  20. Rachel Sea

    May 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    So her parents stressed her out over her execution of the day. That just means that her parents are wankers, it doesn’t mean there is anything inherently wrong with Mothers’ Day. I bet deep down she enjoys putting her feet up with a fruity cocktail just as much as anyone else, and if she could separate the idea of pressure to perform from the idea that it’s nice to have a day acknowledging you, she’s be quite content with it.

  21. SA

    May 7, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Blah, blah, blah. It is nice to have special days…they help add excitement to the year. How dull would it be if we had 365 days of days. I don’t feel like you have to go all out, but it is nice that I have a day where I can make some fun plans and we have to do them no matter what! For me it is going for a hike and out for burgers. We’ll be having my mom and MIL for dinner on Saturday night. For me it is nice to have a day to reflect on how I love being a Mom. Not that I don’t reflect on other days, but it is nice to have a day dedicated to that.

  22. NotTakenNotAvailable

    May 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I get where this blogger is coming from. My mother made such a huge stink over holidays (Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, her birthday) that no amount of effort my dad or I made ever measured up to whatever fairytale ideal she had running through her head. So it is very hard for me to perceive these holidays as a time for simple appreciation, when “appreciation” in my family really meant “fear of passive-aggressive consequences if we don’t spend at least $1000 on this one occasion.” And while I haven’t read the entire original post, I also don’t see where she’s condemning all celebrants of Mother’s Day–this excerpt, at least, simply states why she, personally, would prefer to ignore the holiday, and I certainly have no qualms with her for doing so, especially for the reasons provided.

  23. Drea

    May 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I have yet to meet a mom who hates Mother’s Day. For my mom, we always made her breakfast in bed (when we were younger, it was toast and milk, but it got better as we got older), gave her a craft from school, and cleaned the house. She didn’t have to lift a finger and got to enjoy her shows that day.

    We don’t have an actual Mother’s Day in my house (don’t have a kid yet), but my husband does do something small for me, since I take care of a geriatric cat who was abused in his past (before he met me and chose me as his human).

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