Mothers’ Day: Thank God it’s Over

A Long Ago Mothers Day

As I write this, Mothers’  Day (Mothers? Mother’s? I never know) is, thankfully, almost over. I hate Mothers’ Day.

It’s not that I don’t think mothers matter or  that I don’t like being given breakfast in bed, or beautiful gifts (Missoni from Loehmann’s!), or handmade cards that really mean something.  I like all of that. It’s not that I don’t appreciate my own mother. Hey, my mother went back to grad school in her early 50’s, got a Masters in Fine Arts, and has since written four books, two libretti, and won two major literary prizes…one of them a Guggenheim. And she still rocks a creative, hip look. I appreciate her plenty.

My daughter pointed out that I shouldn’t mind Mothers Day – after all, she said, it doesn’t mean you’re getting older.  True. And yet I still hate Mothers’ Day. Let me count the ways:

1. When your child whines on a normal day, it’s annoying.  When she whines on Mothers’ Day, it’s a personal affront.

2. This year, people spent $18.6 billion on Mother’s Day. That’s kind of horrifying.  I mean, it’s great for the florists, and bakers and card shops.  Bully for them. But $18.6 billion? That’s more than the gross national product of lots of small (and not so small) countries.  That money could change public education as we know it. Feed the hungry. Clothe people. Provide health care for thousands upon thousands.  Instead it was spent on greeting cards? Ugh.

3. The dog does not know it’s Mothers’ Day.  Today, he had a particularly barky day.  Which was annoying. It’s supposed to be my special day. He is not supposed to bark all day at nothing.

4. There is too much emphasis on EATING on Mother’s Day.  I have spent the last few weeks drinking Isogenix shakes in a not all that successful effort to lose some weight.  This holiday is all about eating.  Breakfast in bed.  Lunch with my Mother In Law.  Dinner with my mother.  Three weeks of shake-drinking, eradicated by one bogus holiday.

5. I miss my friend.  This Fall, I lost a close friend to Ovarian cancer.  And all I can do is think about her husband and son today.  How this holiday, dreamed up more than 100 years ago to help mothers of sons on either side of the Civil War come together, has become a giant merchandising machine. A machine that makes the holiday inescapable, and must have made their day hell.

It’s selfish, I know, to hate a holiday that celebrates all Moms just because my friend’s son will now face all of his Mothers’ Days alone.  But if it’s still so raw for me that I was fighting back tears much of the day…I cannot imagine how it made  my friend’s husband (who is also my good friend) and son feel.  It’s hard to love a day that makes you feel like that.

6. Lastly, I hate Mothers Day because I hate any holiday where if you aren’t incredibly happy, incredibly pampered, perfectly praised by the people you love –  you feel you’ve failed.  I don’t feel all that festive today (see above).  My daughter whined.  My son complained.  Even the dog barked. So now I feel like I’ve failed at Mothers’ Day.  Failed.  At a holiday.


Ah well.  At least I have a whole year until it comes again.


  1. says

    My daughter had an especially rough day yesterday too – and even though my husband tried hard to handle it, I was entirely required. She also woke up whining because my husband was out running, with “But I want DADDY!” … So yeah.

    I’m sorry about your friend and that memory. That is definitely a damper and rightfully so. I remember spending father’s day with my best friend the year after her’s passed; it was hard to call my dad and feel happy when I had to witness her pain. So, I feel ya.

    These days can be so joyous in the right circumstances, and so painful in the wrong.

  2. says

    Every day is Mother’s Day.. but it’s that one calendar day that businesses make profits by the motherload (ha ha, get it?).

    I completely understand your mixed feelings, from family to friends. For what it’s worth, you deserve to be pampered every day…. Coz you’re gorgeous, like totally.

  3. Alli says

    Thank god I’m not the only one out there who is not too fond of this holiday. It feels forced and manufactured and I dislike that I always feel a bit disappointed, even though I should know better. Thank you for voicing this!

  4. SelfishMom says

    I love you so much Nancy. So well said. I’ve never been a huge fan of Mother’s Day either. I think it was appropriate that I was sick this weekend.

    We never go out to eat on Mother’s Day, because I hate crowds. My kids aren’t great cooks and breakfast in bed is so much better in theory than in practice, so they know I don’t want that. And while I will never turn down nice gifts for any reason, I found it immensely special that the only gift I received yesterday was a home-made jewelry box from my son, who absolutely hates crafting; in other words, I know he didn’t enjoy making it, but did it for me, which meant so much.

    It was a day where I could do no wrong, where I bitched at my husband for flooding the bathroom and he swallowed and smiled (he told me it was killing him inside, but he shut up for Mother’s Day), where I laid around all day in my pjs and was not allowed to be criticized, and where my husband offered to get me Chipotle (which I totally would have taken him up on if I weren’t getting over a stomach bug).

    I say Mother’s Day, to really mean something, should be however the mother actually wants it. I can see indulging kids when they’re tiny and don’t understand, but by the time your kids are in elementary school they’re old enough to understand that a gift is supposed to make the recipient happy, which in turn should make the giver happy.

    Sorry for monologuing on your post, but you hit a nerve. 🙂

    • says

      Your day actually sounds pretty awesome. (aside from the stomach bug part.) I told my husband EXACTLY where to go and what to buy. So I got exactly what I wanted, gift-wise. But my best gift was from my son – not on Mothers’ Day. My surly, pre-teen who cringes at every kiss gave me an unsolicited “I Love You.” That was pretty awesome, too.

  5. says

    You just said everything that I would have said on my blog if I knew I wouldn’t get grief from my entire family for it. I can’t stand Mother’s Day and the only real reason I even go through the motions is for my own mother who would be devastated if I just ignored the whole day. You are so right… whining kids any other day is annoying enough, but on Mother’s Day it’s downright horrifying… and insulting… and intolerable. All I really want for MD is to have my kids get along and not complain. Unfortunately, I’m pretty convinced this will never happen. I think next year I’m just going to take myself to a spa for the weekend.

  6. Yaya says

    I think it is very important for our current economy that people buy things. Including greeting cards. Those people in the flower, food and card business deserve to eat as well as you did on Mothers’ Day. Just saying.

    • says

      Absolutely. I just think the magnitude of the spending is over the top. But I do realize that restaurants and florists and card stores benefit from it. And I find that comforting, actually. At least there’s that.

  7. Jean says

    Wow! I think that is a horrible thing to say about Mother’s Day!!! Mother’s need a day when they are not waiting on the husband and the kids and the pets hand and foot! If the husband would help the kids to prepare and serve their moms, then it would be better for the mom. Also, a wife should not have to treat her mother in law on Mother’s Day!!! That is the husband’s job to treat his own mom. That is why the wives feel so much stress on Mother’s Day!! Wake up world and take off your blinders!! You see on Father’s Day it is great for dad because the mom is not selfish like the dad and she helps the kids to make the Father’s Day an enjoyable day for him. He should clean up afterwards so that his wife does not feel stressed. Why won’t wives get their husbands to see this. If only these men would not be so selfish and lazy and help the kids to make Mother’s Day for his wife! Am I the only one who sees men for what they are? I guess so!!.

    • says

      What do you mean a horrible thing to say? It seems to me you agree with me!! Mothers Day could be great –if only those around us would make it so! Just like you said.

  8. Jean says

    I may have chosen a harsh word and gone in the wrong direction, but I agree with you Nancy. I am just so concerned about the way we make it so uncomfrotable for women to enjoy their day.

    • says

      Exactly! It’s not that I hate Mothers Day…I just hate what it really is as opposed to what it’s supposed to be!! Here’s to Next Year!

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