Start Preparing Now to Cancel Next Mother’s Day

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Think about every Mother’s Day card, commercial, and free dessert offer you’ve seen. They all boil down to a few basic cliches: This is the one day a year when mothers don’t have to cook or clean. And you’re probably supposed to buy them flowers and chocolates.

While I’m sure many moms spent last Sunday getting breakfast in bed, foot massages, and adorable kindergarten art, let’s talk about the reality of the holiday for others.

Or worse.

And as for the flowers and chocolates part, even the woman who created Mother’s Day was so annoyed by the commercialization of it, she got arrested trying to make it stop.

The first Mother’s Day she organized was 110 years ago. That’s a pretty good run for any event. So with no disrespect to Ms. Jarvis, and perhaps to her delight, I propose that the best way you can celebrate Mother’s Day next year is to not celebrate it at all. But there’s only one way to make that work:

Appreciate the mom in your life every day. Share the load. The reason we give moms this “day off” is because even in homes with two working parents, not only is the woman doing the lion’s share of the work, but the man is more likely to say they share the load evenly.

If giving her a break one day a year sounds like a good idea, then obviously she needs it. So an even better idea is for the rest of the household to pitch in on the other 364 days as well. Preferably without marching orders from Project Manager Mom.

Don’t forget that pitching in doesn’t stop at a load of laundry, vacuuming once in a while, and taking your turn at the dishes. Who’s the one in your house who arranges and takes kids to doctor’s appointments, signs the report cards, cleans the too-small clothes out of the closet, checks the homework, chauffeurs to extracurriculars, takes care of the cupcakes that the class needs but nobody mentioned until 8 p.m. the night before, does the grocery shopping, makes sure teacher gifts are acquired and delivered, sends pictures to grandma, figures out summer camp schedules, makes sure you don’t run out of toilet paper, arranges play dates, fills out the forms and the other forms (and how many times do you need to write your address for the same school?!), negotiates holidays with extended family, sends money for the field trip, waters the plants, volunteers at school, notices all the towels are threadbare and need replacing, buys an appropriate present for every other kid’s birthday party, keeps everyone on schedule, and plans vacation?

(If you’ve never read the “You Should’ve Asked” comic on this, now’s a good time. And if you have, it’s still good the second and third time.)

Perhaps you’re reading all this thinking, Whew, glad that’s not me. I’m way better than all those spouses and children! And you might be right, in which case, high five. But just in case you’re wrong, ask that mom in your life if she agrees.

Of course, this is a blog with “mom” in the name, so there’s a good chance you’re just nodding along. Feel free to share this post “in case a friend needs to read it.” And if you got here because someone shared it “in case a friend needs to read it,” you should definitely go ask the mom in your life about it.

You have your mission and deadline: just under a year to make Mother’s Day obsolete. Get started.