Mother’s Day

Did anyone celebrate Mothers’ Day last weekend? It certainly is a made for America holiday- setting up expectations for gifts, phone calls and fancy brunches or dinners. All the ads featuring perfect family moments made me emotional. I  knew those were fantasies for the movies; yet I secretly wished something similar would happen to me.

I remember my first Mother’s Day. My baby was 10 months old and still nursing. I was home with her every day. The first three months were the toughest, but we had gotten to a point where she had a more predictable routine and I was enjoying playing with her, taking her for walks and making baby talk. My husband knew how hard I was working to take care of her and he made me hand-painted card with the most wonderful words of praise and appreciation of what a good mom  I was. The flowers and gift card were nice tokens of his admiration, but the love and respect he had for me were priceless. I realized that even though being a mom is tough, I was doing my best and my efforts were recognized.

Over the next few years, the kids started to give me cards and gifts they made at nursery school. I would get hugs and kisses and some presents my husband helped them pick out. This cute little celebration was fun and we often attended the Tulip Festival on the afternoon. It was a great family activity to do together, complete with kiddie rides, crafts and fair food.

By the time the kids got to grade school, they started questioning the fairness of Mother’s Day. Why wasn’t there a son or daughter day? Didn’t they deserve recognition too? We tried to start our own holidays for each of them, letting them pick a restaurant or activity and giving them a few presents. However, when they decided they didn’t want to return the appreciation the following year, we dropped them all.

No mom wants to force her child to give her gifts or praise. We are too good to make them lavish attention on us. Besides, forcing them to follow the protocol would result in something that doesn’t feel right because it is not given out of love. At that point it is better to ignore the holiday and remind ourselves that it was concocted by retailers.

Instead I turn my attention to my own mother or mother-in-law. I try to show them my love and respect year round- not just on one day of the year. Mothers deserve that every day and by the time the children are adults they should not need commercial reminders to show appreciation or affection for their moms.

I did send each of my moms a card around Mother’s Day, but the words I wrote were probably more meaningful than the token gift. So while I admit I fell into the trap, at least I know that these exchanges happen randomly throughout the year, as they should- and not just on a dictated day.

To all the moms out there whose children are at that age of defiance between dependence and maturation, hang in there and keep doing your job. When they are adults with children of their own, they will finally appreciate all you have done for them.  And now that Mother’s Day is over, I can go back to watching tv without all those touching commercials.