I have a confession to make.
I hate Mother’s Day.
I’ve never liked it.
I feel a little guilty saying this, only because my own mother loves Mother’s Day. So every time I say that Mother’s Day sucks, I feel a little like I’m stabbing my mom in there heart.
But I’m not, mom. I promise.
I love my mom.
She is an amazing woman, mom, and grandma. I am inspired by her and grateful for her.
I love my 2 wonderful MIL’s. They are phenomenal women I am personally grateful for every single day.
I love the many moms in my life who are actual everyday heroines.
They deserve to be celebrated and appreciated and honored.
What I hate, is Mother’s Day.
I hate the commercialization of it and the excessive pressure to spend money.
Mother’s Day carries a lot of stress, too.
Everything on this one special day needs to be perfect for mom.
And then there’s the required appreciation. Even if it’s not really what you want.
Honestly, Mother’s Day feels like a representation of everything wrong with the way we treat moms in this country.
Basically, we’re being told:
“Listen we’ve got something really special for you.
Have a day for yourselves.
You deserve it.
In fact, you’ve earned it.
You have a whole entire day.
If you want, you can spa it up or just sleep in.
You might get breakfast in bed or some pretty flowers.
Maybe your kids will make you cards or paint your nails or make you a diorama of how awesome you are.
A day is enough, right?
Honestly, you should feel lucky to have an entire day.
Oh and don’t forget to feel grateful.”
Mother’s Day sort of feels like being told, “I know you’re drowning, but at least the water is warm. And that new bathing suit we got you sure looks pretty while you’re trying to stay afloat.”
This year, my Mother’s Day was super stressful.
My oldest daughter made me a card and a craft she’d gotten from the library. Both were so sweet and touched me deeply.
That would have been enough.
I told her as much.
Instead, she made a list of all of the things she wanted to do with me for Mother’s Day.
The list was as follows:
2. Play games.
3. Make cookies.
4. Be nice. Very nice.
We did exactly zero of those things.
Well. I made cookies, but my kids didn’t want to make them with me.
And the same daughter who made that list spent most of the day stomping around the house and fighting with me. She even told me 3 times that I am the worst mom ever.
It was about as fun as you can imagine.
I’m also not blaming her.
She just felt so much pressure for the day to be perfect.
And it couldn’t be.
For what it’s worth, while Mother’s Day sucked, the day following it was mostly wonderful.
We played Chinese Checkers, had an after dinner dance party, and cuddled on the couch for this photo.
That’s what life is. It’s full of ups and downs, good days and less good days.
I know my kids love me.
They tell me all of the time.
At least, when they’re not also telling me I’m the worst mom ever and they hate their lives.
That said, they shouldn’t feel like they have to make a single, arbitrary day, extra special.
I know I deserve a day.
I don’t need Hallmark to tell me I am worthy of it.
In fact, I am worthy of time to myself everyday.
And I am allowed to take it.
For what it’s worth — and this is worth a lot — all moms are allowed to take time for themselves every single day.
And not just for good behavior.
But because all human beings deserve time to take care of themselves and to do things that bring them joy.
You want to know what moms really want more than Mother’s Day?
Personally, I want a few hours of silence without feeling guilty that I am squashing my children’s joy.
I’d love to get a full nights sleep.
Affordable child care would be fantastic — even for those of us who are self-employed. I’d be 100% for government-subsidized childcare where I could drop off my kids for a few hours, know they’re safe, and not go bankrupt in the process.
Better postpartum care would be fantastic, too. Not just a 6-week check-up where the OB tells you that “you don’t have to make your husband wait anymore” for sex. I’m talking, regular visits talking about all of the things that can come up during postpartum, both physical and emotional.
Pelvic Floor Therapy covered by insurance would be super fantastic, too.
While I’m at it, moms would love paid maternity leave without penalty. That means 12 weeks (at least), fully paid and when you come back, you still have the same responsibilities you did before (if you want them). And you’re not held back from promotions or bigger opportunities just because you have kids.
Flexible work hours would also be great. More working from home, less hours each week. 40hr work weeks are toxic and ineffective. Plus, they are not particularly supportive of family life.
I’d personally love to see the daily labor of moms given more weight and respect. Not just a wink and a nod from reps or bosses or people without kids. But recognition that raising kids is actual work and it is not easy work. It is THE work.
Women everywhere, moms included, would love the right to do what they choose with their bodies. This means access to birth control, abortions, and tubal ligation without question or judgment or needing approval from their partners.
Equal rights under the law would be a basic and important step, too.
This is not a complete list. It’s a working list.
What would you add?
If you really want to support moms other than 24 hours one day a year, here are a few ideas:
Buy from mom-owned businesses. Bonus points for buying from businesses that are owned by moms who are also black, latinx, asian, or indigenous.
Support legislation that supports women and mothers
Refrain from judging another mothers’ choices (this one is hard for everyone, including me. Try anyway.)
Try not to make assumptions about mothers based on their actions
Support moms who want to go back to work.
Also support moms who do not want to work outside of the home.
Vote for women and mothers when they run for office (particularly if they align with your values)
Don’t make it a big deal when you offer to help a mom. Just help without any expectation for gold stars or payback.