Mother’s Day: Not-So-Great Expectations

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Mother's Day \ Image: Pixabay
Mother’s Day Image: Pixabay

Hey, you! Yes, you. The one reading this. I see you. I do. You’re the mom looking at all the social media posts about kids making breakfast or flowers being brought to moms in bed and thinking, “why not me?”

Why Is Mother’s Day Difficult?

Maybe you’re the mom who’s spending your morning at a sports activity. Is it cold and drizzly? Possibly. You’re probably thinking, “why don’t I get pancakes in bed and mimosas?”

Maybe you’re the mom who hates this day because you’ve lost children, a miscarriage or a way-too-early death. I don’t actually know what you’re thinking right now, but I know it’s a difficult day.

Maybe you’re the mom whose mom died, and despite passing time, you hate this day because you miss her so much. That’s totally ok, too.

Maybe you’re the mom who never had a mom. You’re the one trying to be a parent but don’t have the role model everyone else seems to celebrate today. That totally sucks, and it’s totally difficult.

Why Mother’s Day Expectations Are Difficult

For the last week, I’ve seen people resharing past Mother’s Day memories on Facebook. They’re beautiful reminders of when kids were younger, times were simpler. Truthfully, all those posts are making me feel pretty terrible.

Ever since my kid was born, I had these images of having a day where we all just crowd together and celebrate those nine months of bloat, backaches, and work I put into gestating my kid. After all, don’t I deserve a little recognition for that?

And yet, every year, the day comes and goes with my having to do the same things I do every other day of the year. I cater to my kid’s needs and wants (y’know, with regular parenting boundaries). I end up feeling like the leftover meatloaf that everyone enjoyed yesterday but refuses to touch today.

Not getting treated special for one day feels like The Worst.

Even worse? All of these expectations come from the constant reminders on television and social media to “treat mom special.” “Get her a gift from (insert name here)!” “Show mom you love her by (insert commercialized something or other here)!” When our families don’t meet these expectations, we feel devalued.

Why We Want to Be Celebrated for One Day

I don’t know about you, but for me, the idea of celebrating motherhood comes with a whole attic of baggage. Motherhood is a club, and, sometimes, one to which we don’t want to belong.

For those of us who carried our children in our bodies, we were the ones who underwent the physical stress of everything before, during, and after. For those of us who had fertility issues, we were the ones who felt like our bodies let us down. For those of us who had to go through in vitro or decide to adopt, we were the ones that people questioned, not knowing our struggles.

Our club comes with the internal and external judgments that most dads don’t get. Moms get judged by other moms for breastfeeding and bottle feeding decisions. Moms get judged by society for staying at home or going back to work. Moms get judged.

On Mother’s Day, however, all of those judgments seem to go away. People seem to just revel in the joy. Maybe, despite the overcommercialization of yet another greeting card holiday, this is why we feel so deeply hurt when our families don’t seem to appreciate us.

Celebrating Mother’s Day Your Way

I’ll tell you a secret: it’s totally ok to be upset, hurt, angry, or sad. You can feel however you want to feel. Go ahead. Have a good mope. Have a good cry. Take those emotions and let them loose. You know why? Because it’s Mother’s Day, and you can do whatever you want to do to show how it’s making you feel.

Maybe today I’m going to ignore social media; I don’t know. Maybe today I’m going to grump a little bit. Maybe today I’m just going to go quiet and not really say anything.

What I Want to Tell All You Disappointed Moms

I see you. I do. I see all that laundry you do. I see all those carpools you drive. I see those dinners you make. I see the financial sacrifices you negotiate.

I see it all.

To all of you out there feeling just a little disappointed or a little hurt, for all of you out there feeling a lot disappointed or a lot hurt, you are doing an amazing job. Even if you don’t think you’re doing an amazing job, you are.

To all of you out there feeling a little or a lot sad today, I want to send you the hugs or karma to get you through this.

To all of you out there feeling angry or frustrated, I’m sending you a mental pillow so you can pound on it and scream until your throat goes raw.

We are moms. We are stronger than we think, smarter than we know, and more valuable than the world can ever recognize.