Why Mother’s Day is a Bogus “Holiday”

Picture the movie Tommy Boy, with Tommy (Chris Farley) sitting in a diner talking to Richard (David Spade) about why he sucks as a salesperson. We should all remember that scene, right? (<<If not, click that.) Now picture me, talking to my best friend. It goes something like this…

“Best Friend, we’re both mothers. Let me tell you why I- SUCK- as a mother. Let’s say it’s Mother’s Day. Let’s say my family and I are supposed to have a wonderful day together. Well then I get all excited; I’m like ‘Susie, the Crazy Soccer Mom’ with a shiny new minivan. The minivan is my children. Aw, my beautiful little children, I love you! So I hug them and I rock them and I kiss them. And I love them; I love my little cute children, you’re CUTE! And then I take them for a ride in my shiny new minivan and I crash. {unrecognizable noises} I crashed it! I CRASHED MY MINIVAN!!!!! And that’s when I blow it.”

Okay. Maybe that was a horrible analogy, but it sounded like a splendid idea at the beginning, so I went with it. I thought about acting it out and putting it on Youtube myself, but I didn’t, so consider yourselves spared. Now, bear with me as I move on…

There are many, many reasons why Mother’s Day, and holidays like it, are bogus. I truly try not to be a Debbie Downer, but as I was on the floor in the fetal position in my kitchen bawling my eyes out around 9:30am this past Mother’s Day because it had already seemed like it failed miserably, I realized that I can’t possibly be the only one who feels this way. (Perhaps I feel this way a little more dramatically than others, but that’s how I {usually} roll.) So I wanted to write about it, because it’s true, Mother’s Day can sometimes suck.

The first reason that always comes to mind is this:

1. Too Many Mothers; Not Enough Time

I am a mother; I have a mother; I have a mother-in-law. None of us is more or less important or deserving of being celebrated than the other. (Though I tend to think the “youngest” or “newest” mother should get precedence, that might just be because, at the moment, that’s me. 😉 )  So how do you decide what to do for whom and when? Not many people really want to spend their entire Sunday on Mother’s Day rushing around from one mom to the other to quickly give them a gift and have a meaningful visit, only to move on to the next activity as soon as possible. You also don’t want to be the jerk kid or the selfish daughter-in-law who doesn’t do enough for the other mom and make them feel bad. So pressure’s on. Better find some happy-medium, and fast, because everybody’s bugging you about what you’re going to do.

Next, I think some of you can relate to this:

2.  Faking a Selfless Desire

It’s Mother’s Day. So the MOTHER gets fielder’s choice on the activities of the day, right? As moms, what are most of us going to “choose?” Something that will make everyone else happy. Nobody wants to be that high-maintenance, self-absorbed mom that requests a day completely alone at home reading a book or a spa day to get pampered or tickets to see her favorite band (which is NOT the Fresh Beat Band, by the way). Yet, that’s sort of what a lot of us want. But instead, we choose the zoo or a park or a kid-friendly museum for a family-fun day that we can all enjoy together. And in order to make this “family-fun day” happen, MOMS would typically have to make lunches, pack a cooler, pack a diaper bag, load the car, put on everyone’s sunscreen, deal with temper tantrums, change diapers, remind everyone to use the restroom, and break up fights. Great, just what I wanted. More work. (Unless you have a husband like MINE, and he helps you out with all of those things tremendously. But I’m speaking to the majority here.) Now, to be fair, this example is probably the least concerning of reasons why Mother’s Day is bogus. I understand ALL of us mothers find extreme joy in seeing our kids happy, so doing something they love reminds us what we love about being a mom. But nonetheless, it’s still work, and on “Mother’s Day” no less!

And here’s the last- and very crucial- reason(s), with many applicable examples:

3.  Unattainable Expectations

These unattainable expectations are what led to my demise on Sunday morning (and also what led to the fetal position). It’s Mother’s Day, right? The day where you are supposed to get waited on hand and foot and you look happy and radiant and everyone is quiet and respectful and does what their mothers ask with little to no resistance and needing no reminders. {I feel violently angry just typing that.} No one poops or gets chocolate on their clothes moments before walking out the door for church or talks back or “forgets” to brush their teeth despite being asked 17-and-a-half times. (Insert extremely high pitched voice>) Uuuuuuuuum, no. That DOES. NOT. HAPPEN. For me, it started out being bummed that my husband had to work the weekend. He was going to have to come home from 3rd shift and have to go to sleep while I got all 3 kids up, showered, dressed, and ready for church by myself, then be at church without him. On Mother’s Day. But who cares, right?! It’s just any other Sunday. But it wasn’t. Some jerk had to give this Sunday the name “Mother’s Day.” So I expect things to be different. Special. Speaking of special, I should probably *look* special. It’s Mother’s Day, so more people at church are going to be paying attention to me and wishing me a happy day, and I’m going to have to pretend that the world didn’t stop for 10 minutes this morning while I had a good cry on my kitchen floor. I should look put-together. I should wear a dress. But I didn’t have time to shave. And I’m working in the toddler room so I should wear sensible shoes. I haven’t done laundry in a week so who knows what’s clean. So I’m wearing some pants that were cool in 1999, shoes that my 89 year-old Grandmother wouldn’t be caught dead wearing to the senior center, and a shirt that’s missing a button. Now I’m bawling because I look ridiculous and I wish I could go shopping. So I change the shoes because- well, something’s gotta give, and the rest I leave alone. As I’m doing that, my boys have begun fighting, and my daughter climbed onto the counter and retrieved a Dum-Dum sucker and is sticky on 27% of her body. Oh no. Here it comes. It’s happening. Yup. I’m screaming. I’m screaming at my older boys for fighting, not listening to my instruction and not being ready to go, and I’m screaming at my daughter for getting into the candy. I’ve woken up my husband and he, half-asleep, comes out of the bedroom to check on World War III and lend a hand. At this point I’m also internally screaming at myself. It’s Mother’s Day. It’s only 9:30am. You’ve already made your kids cry and you’ve woken up your husband. This ENTIRE DAY is supposed to take place figuratively frolicking through a field of daisies and you’re flipping out on everyone. Your kids are actin’ a fool because you didn’t teach them well enough to mind you and now you’re yelling at them because you’re not fit to be a mother. I bet other mothers aren’t yelling at their kids right now. Why are you even a mother? You are a jerkface. And you are a jerkface dressed like a substitute teacher from a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode. You suck. Mother’s Day sucks. Everything sucks. (continue sobbing).  These examples collectively fall into the category of unrealistic expectations, which wrongfully steal my joy on soooo many occasions.

So there you have it. That’s why I think Mother’s Day should be banned. It’s kind of like Sweetest Day or Valentine’s Day when Hallmark makes you think life is like those horrible jewelry commercials, but really you end up fighting about the radio station on your way to a mediocre restaurant in your minivan with a husband who has gas. That was a made-up story, I swear. Just a hypothetical. But, what can I say, I’m a realist.

Now, for those of you who may be concerned about my well-being, or that of those around me, I will tell you that my Mother’s Day turned out pretty swell. Eventually we made it to a nearby historical village and saw some pretty cool things, got some delicious ice cream, and ate and a wonderful local, old-fashioned Mom and Pop diner. I love my kids dearly and I know they love me. Being a mother is a blessing. I don’t think I’m great at it. But aren’t we all just doing our best with what we’ve got? We are.

So, what do you think about Mother’s Day??? If you can’t agree with even ONE point that I made above, you are a liar. But enlighten me. Please comment! Even share if you wish!


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