Dreading Mother's Day? 5 Reasons It Needs to Be Gone for Good
Why Mother's Day Should Be Abolished
I guarantee on this day, a mother you know is faking a smile, hiding her tears, or torturing herself reading hundreds of sappy sentiments on social media about other's wonderful mothers. She dreads this day every year. Let's not forget her or the other amazing women who've taught and guided us; especially when our mothers couldn't or wouldn't.
1. Mother's Day Was Never Meant to Be Commercialized
Before I dive into the grit of this topic, I'd like to share the origin of Mother's Day, as cited by Wikipedia, and explain my motive(s) for writing this piece.
Many people, myself included, have never taken the time to learn why such a day exists in the first place. We follow the masses and fall prey to societal traditions without knowing why we do it. My life goal here is to remove the stress and pressure brought on by society and to challenge topics such as this one.
"The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St. Andrew's Methodist Church now holds the International Mother's Day Shrine. Her campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Anna Reeves Jarvis, died. Anna Jarvis was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother's Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and set aside a day to honor all mothers, because she believed a mother is "the person who's done more for you than anyone in the world".
In 1908, the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday, joking they would also have to proclaim a "Mother-in-law's Day". However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all U.S. states observed the holiday, with some officially recognizing Mother's Day as a local holiday (the first being West Virginia, Jarvis' home state, in 1910). In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother's Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother's Day cards. Jarvis believed the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother's Day, and the emphasis of the holiday be on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother's Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers' convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother's Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace".
2. Mother's Day Is Often Stressful
While birthdays and Christmas rank high on the list of forced indulgences, there's something even more irritating about Mother’s Day. It’s the idea that one day should make up for all the other days that weren't so great.
I've never been a fan of Mother's Day but didn't give it the introspective thoughts I do now. I did my best to enjoy it when my kids were little because it was adorable watching them fight over cleaning toilets and who picked out the prettiest flowers for me. I didn't mind it because I was distracted by my four little joy bombs, who loved on me with sweet innocence and genuine good intentions. I didn't have to think too hard about not having those same fuzzy feelings of grandeur as a daughter myself, which is another story.
As a child, my father, a loving and protective man, insisted that my sister and I be on our best behavior that day. Mom and I were always at odds (I was high energy, had a voice, and asked questions, which didn't bode well). I was instructed not to talk back, fight with my sister, to clean the house, and sit quietly during church. It was always a day of tension and expectations, and I hated it.
Year after painful year, many of us who can relate, go through the same feelings and emotions. Sometimes, we have other things we'd rather be doing on the second Sunday in May. It forces us to plan something with our mothers that we should randomly be doing, because we WANT to, not because we HAVE to. For some mothers, it might be the only day for months to see or talk to their kids. That isn't right in my opinion. I’m not saying it’s not enjoyable to see my kid's faces or hear their voices on Mother's Day, but I want to see and hear from them any day, more days in fact, because they miss and want to spend time with me, not because the calendar says they should.
3. We Often Neglect Our Mothers
I couldn't wait to have babies. I love helping women to become mothers as a delivery nurse. I love the tiny joys that come with being a mother. Who doesn't enjoy baby snuggles, that short period of total dependence, kissing boo-boos, being a mom taxi, comforting their failures, and watching them excel?
Unconditionally loving moms want nothing in return, other than to have a strong bond with their kids and to be remembered from time to time. We want them to ask about our day or our lives and to not always be about them. These are the little things that children, young and old, should remember to do for their mothers. We take for granted the unconditional love and extraordinary things they did for us. We can thank them by merely being present and genuinely interested in their lives.
4. Many Will Never Be a Mother or Have Lost Their Mother
Mother’s Day can leave a bitter taste and reminder of what's no more or never was. Many special women have longed to be mothers, but couldn't be. How does this day make them feel about the baby they never held, the children they may have abandoned, the ones they aborted, or the child lost too soon?
What about the children whose mothers have passed? Some too soon or some just recently? What about the mother who can’t love, can't be pleased, or is estranged from their children? There are no cards, flowers, gifts, or words to honor or console them on this day.
5. Mother's Day Fans the Fires of Expectation
It's the second Sunday in May, and so it begins. As moms of youngsters, we lay in bed extra long because we're probably getting breakfast in bed (admit it; you want it, and it's pretty damned adorable). If our kids don't do it, we might expect our spouse to do it. Wrong! You aren't his mother, so stop there. It's not his job to ogle over you today unless he's helping the kids do it. He likely has his own obligation and guilt with which to contend.
Next, we anticipate a full-on house-scrubbing, top to bottom because you "deserve" one day of the year to not ask a thousand times to empty the dishwasher or take out the garbage. After all, it's Mother's Day; a day of obligation for every child, young and old.
Next, we hope to walk into a room full of flowers and home-made cards. But what if none of these typical Mother's Day things happen? Automatically, your day becomes ruined, and "no one loves you". You no longer feel special and then, OMG! You forgot about your mother, who's sitting at home wondering where her card, phone call, brunch, and flowers are! You forgot to do a single thing for her! Now you've come full circle, you look at your kids, hug them, and go about your day as if it's any other...because it is!
No one twisted our arms to be a mom, and we don't earn a Ph.D. in motherhood. If you boil it down to basic science, it's what women are biologically programmed to do; to reproduce. So why do we need a set "day" to over-indulge and put undue pressure on ourselves and those we love?
Heartfelt Gifts You Can Give To Make Any Day Special
As a mother, and a sentimental one, I think about the day-to-day things I could be doing for others to show them I care. They say "life is full of surprises," so why don't we create more of the pleasant surprises, especially for our mothers? Even if you don't have a living or present mother, think of the special women who've influenced you and do something beautiful for them. These are just a few suggestions any of us could do for our mother, or a mother-figure, on a random day.
- Study and learn about your family tree. Most kids don't appreciate where they came from until later in life. I study my ancestry faithfully now and it would've been so fun to share all I have learned with my parents. Why not buy her a subscription to Ancestry.com and work on it together?
- Write her a special letter thanking her for all she has done and what she has taught you--be specific and point out the special moments and how they shaped you into who you are today. Moms are usually told many ways to Sunday how they've failed, but rarely how wonderful they are.
- If she rarely does anything for herself, treat her to a spa day of pampering or buy her a wine club membership; something that she likely wouldn't spend money on for herself. I personally love the that's accepted at thousands of spas nationwide. Spafinder Wellness Gift card
- Make her a personalized gift. One of my most treasured gifts is a set of wood flatware hand-carved by my son and engraved with my maiden name.
- Make her a scrapbook showcasing your favorite memories of her--or-- make it about her life and the things she's accomplished. You may need to solicit help from her spouse, her siblings, her friends, or other family members to compile this keepsake. You may be surprised by what you didn't know other people can share with you about her!
- Give her a basket of YOUR favorite things! Let her get to know what she may not know about YOU by sharing some of what you love. Include your favorite products such as foods, snacks, wine, coffee, perfume, toiletries...anything you personally love or enjoy. It'll help her feel close to you knowing what makes you happy day-to-day.
These are just a handful of examples of how you can knock her socks off when she least expects it. If you want your mom to feel extra special and loved, trust me on this advice. It'll mean more to her than any obligatory gesture on a compulsory day.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Debra Roberts