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Why I Am Not A Fan Of Mother’s Day

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For my entire motherhood career, I have lived in a place where the local large university graduates its students on the same weekend as Mother’s Day.

I know no other configuration for this day. Every year, the notion of making reservations for brunch is paralyzing. The competition for seats to enjoy the stereotypical Mother’s Day celebration that oftentimes includes a mimosa is steep. Mind-boggling gymnastics are required to score a coveted chair at the better outdoor venues. 

Brunch – Not So Fun:

Mother’s Day, without another adult to actually plan it for you, isn’t all that much fun or relaxing for the first 12 or 13 years.”

In all honesty, when my son was young the notion of brunch seemed daunting. Not sure how your two-, three-, four-, or enter-single-digit-here-year-old, child did over long, luxurious meals, but mine did not enjoy them. Not on Mother’s Day – or any other day, for that matter.

It sure didn’t help the cause that for nearly all of my son’s early childhood I was a single parent. Turns out Mother’s Day, without another adult to actually plan it for you, isn’t all that much fun or relaxing for the first 12 or 13 years. Sure, the day evolves, year over year, from the very first ones of cement glitter handprint stones, to the “breakfast in bed” days that left a massive cleanup for you, to an actual drinkable cup of coffee; each year seemed to inch closer to actually being about me.

Anyone Really Like Breakfast In Bed?

I remember clearly one year, forcing myself to stay in bed way past the hour I usually rise, overhearing my son and my goddaughter in my kitchen. Her parents were out of town that year and I was hosting both my godchildren over for the weekend. By my sixth Mother’s Day, I knew the drill – like it or not, some iteration of breakfast was on its way.

“What does your Mom usually like to drink?” asked my then-nine-year-old goddaughter. “Coffee,” came my son’s quick response. “But we don’t know how to make coffee,” she retorted. Water it was.

It sucks to clean an entire kitchen propelled by the power of non-caffeinated tap water. Let me tell you.

The Early Days Of  Motherhood:

Those early days were never about me. Instead, it often involved my child making a mess or creating something handmade, which was certainly cute and heartwarming, but not necessarily enjoyable for me as a mother. I often found myself cleaning up after my child’s artistic endeavors or attempting to find a place to display his artwork, which could be a challenge at the time, given our limited living space of 900 square feet.

To me, it felt like a cruel joke to not have a mother when I finally understood what it meant to be one.”

Moreover, as much as I appreciated my child’s efforts to show me love and appreciation on Mother’s Day, I often felt like the holiday was more about fulfilling some societal expectation than truly celebrating motherhood. It felt like there was this pressure to make a big deal out of the day and to demonstrate how much we loved and appreciated our mothers, even if those feelings were present all year round. Or, for some, never present.

My own mother passed away years ago. Worse than that, she spent the last 10 or so years of her life suffering from Alzheimer’s. To me, it felt like a cruel joke to not have a mother when I finally understood what it meant to be one. An irony I could live without, honestly.

Of course, I recognize that not everyone has a positive relationship with their mother, and for some individuals, Mother’s Day may be a time of sadness or disappointment. However, even for those who have a loving and supportive mother, the holiday can still be fraught with expectations and pressure.

The Commercialization Of Mother’s Day:

I also think that the commercialization of Mother’s Day is a major factor in why I don’t particularly enjoy the holiday. It often feels like the day is more about buying things than truly celebrating motherhood. Retailers promote Mother’s Day sales and encourage people to buy gifts and flowers, and while I certainly appreciate the sentiment behind these offerings, I think it can take away from the true meaning of the holiday.

The holiday becomes less about expressing love and appreciation for mothers and more about fulfilling an obligation”

Moreover, the emphasis on buying things can also contribute to feelings of guilt or inadequacy for those who are unable or unwilling to spend money on gifts. The holiday becomes less about expressing love and appreciation for mothers and more about fulfilling an obligation to spend money and show off one’s generosity.

Alone Time My Ideal Mother’s Day Gift:

Ultimately, my lack of enthusiasm for Mother’s Day comes down to the fact that I prefer to celebrate motherhood in a more personal and meaningful way. Sometimes, to me, nothing feels better than being alone. Doing whatever I want – whenever I want – sounds like a pretty perfect day. Or now that my son can and does enjoy long luxurious meals, the over-the-top antics needed to score a coveted brunch seat seem less burdensome to make happen.

This year I will get the full-on sunny, outdoor brunch experience. Despite the crazy graduation shenanigans all over town, I scored a table for that Sunday brunch that eluded me for all those years. If all goes according to plan, this Mother’s Day will find me, mimosa (sans orange juice) in hand, indulging in eggs benedict, all the while grateful for my designated driver — my son. Rest assured a designated driver beats anything with glitter on it – any day of the week.

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