I’ve been stomping around in a grumpy funk, stewing over small slights (did he REALLY just leave that coffee cup at the sink instead of putting it in the dishwasher?), cursing bad drivers, and gnashing my teeth in frustration over work. This afternoon, while writing my grocery store list, I finally realized the reason behind the stinky mood.
Conflicted Feelings About a Celebration
What’s not to love about Mother’s Day, you might ask? Families all over America gather on a spring morning to enjoy tasty goodies, give cards and flowers, and celebrate matriarchs, young and old.
So sweet and simple, right?
Yeah, right. Any therapist can tell you that Mother’s Day can hit a lot of buttons high on the familial stress list. Type “Mother’s Day conflicted feelings” into a Google search, and some 726,000 results pop up. According to a Washington Post article, Anna Jarvis, the woman who invented the holiday in 1908, eventually came to petition its repeal; she felt the day had gotten too commercial, too far removed from her original intent.
Maybe my funky mood means I agree with Jarvis. Commercialization has turned quality time with the immediate family into a production beast. And in the process of making sure all the mothers in my life are properly celebrated, I feel overworked and under-appreciated.
This isn’t about getting some swanky gift. I’ve never been one for presents at any holiday – what’s important is letting the people in my life feel loved and cherished. Seems I’d love Mother’s Day, then, with it’s focus on recognizing these dear women. Shouldn’t I be happy to have a day devoted to shining a light on my mom?
Yes, but….I’m a mom, too.
I casually polled my friends about their Mother’s Days, and many with multiple generations to fete opt for a special meal on the town. Perhaps I’d feel differently if my parents were willing to go out, but restaurants create anxiety. They don’t hear well (and forgo wearing hearing aids), so talking in a noisy public place is problematic.
So I’ve accepted that, for our extended family, celebrations mean staying in. I’ve become the default hostess, putting on happy hours, birthday shindigs, and holiday gatherings. So that our family can enjoy quality time together, I plan, clean, prepare, and serve.
This Mother’s Day, I will bring the Fisher clan together again to celebrate my mom. While I dearly love her and can’t imagine a day without Mama, how, exactly, is putting together a meal for a a large crowd anything like a special day for me?
Finding the Best Part of Mother’s Day
I miss the days when the most demanding activities on Mother’s Day were staying in bed until that special breakfast was ready and deciphering small children’s hand-lettered cards. I miss the days when I could expect my family to think up some simple things that showed appreciation for the mom at our house.
While I’m committed to this Sunday’s big group brunch, next year I’ll opt for a bye on Mother’s Day. When it’s time to organize, I’ll sit on my hands. Someone — or no one — will step up to produce the big family spread. Perhaps a better idea will get proposed.
If I don’t provide the opportunity, nothing ever will change.
Who knows what my grown kids and husband will come up with for Mother’s Day if I let them?
They sure couldn’t go wrong with breakfast in bed and a card.