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.