There. I said it.
I’m sure this is an offensive statement to many. But it’s true. I don’t like this day.
I could say I hate it because it’s commercialized, which is true, or because it excludes a huge group of women who aren’t moms in a rather painful way, which is absolutely true.
But that’s not it. What is it?
I love my kids and I love being a mom. It’s the one job I want to have until I die. And yet, to me, that doesn’t mean that we need to make such a grand production out of one day to the exclusion of all others.
Mothers are so important, and I loved mine. Grandmothers are so important, and I loved mine. But a day that forces us (once a year, as if that is enough) to recognize this role out loud is manipulative. And hypocritical. And forced.
Do not buy me flowers. Do not visit me because it is “the day.” You can take me out to eat, but, please, not on “the day!”
I know, I know, I’m insane, negative and obviously flawed! All the more reason not to recognize me for mere existence as a mother. I must be a terrible one anyway, right?!
Seriously, I know this reveals my inner dysfunction, one that is not new. I’ve always disliked this day.
Truth is, I hate certain kinds of recognition. I don’t reveal my birthday for the same reason. Because I don’t want you to know how old I am? Nope. I’m 49 and I don’t color my hair, so everyone knows I’m not passing for 32. I simply don’t want to have people recognize me all day for existing. There is something possibly unchristian about that stance, I fear; because I exist, I am loved as a child of God. And yet, it doesn’t feel right or good to me to make a production out of this day, or to demand that others do so.
And in Christian-land, it’s even more intense. You will be wished “Happy Mothers’ Day” at least 250 times on Sunday morning at church. You might get a flower or a candy or some other token of no one’s affection. Indeed, Mothers’ Day holds churches hostage in a special kind of way. Pastors, do not fail to highlight mothers (at least) as much as Jesus on Mothers’ Day. If you fail to do this, arrive at work a few hours early on Monday to triage your email and develop a crisis management plan.
I’m not kidding. It’s a day of Christian hostage-holding.
To be fair, when kids are little, Mothers’ Day is bearable because of the awesome gifts. One year, my daughter Katy gave me a rock. From the front porch. She wrote “paperweight” on it. I still have it. My youngest Devon always made spectacular cards, mostly to show up her sister, who never traveled further than the front porch to shop. But with time, this day (let’s admit it, folks) feels so obligatory–especially perhaps for those moms who have moms. It’s a crazy, American trap of guilt, overpriced food, uncomfortable church attire, and stress.
Love your mom everyday, not just on a particular Sunday in May. Go to church with her, but not just on a particular Sunday in May.
Even as I write this, I’m not convinced. It feels wrong to dislike this day so much. In that sense, perhaps it has a special place in my own growth; perhaps I have to learn to be OK with this day.
But please, this Sunday, just wave to me.