“If you can’t be bothered with me any other time of the year, don’t bother coming round or buying me flowers on Mother’s Day!” C’mon, Moms. I bet there isn’t one of you out there who hasn’t felt this at least once, even if you never said it right out loud.

    Mother’s Day is tough for many women I know. For some, it’s the only time they get any attention from their families – the older they are, the more invisible they become. In seniors’ residences, the number of cards on the dresser is like a badge of honor and the main topic at the dinner table. Talk to any of the staff and you’ll discover who’s good to their mother and who only comes around on Mother’s Day.

    Dear friends have other reasons to have heavy hearts when this day rolls around – one’s oldest son was murdered at this time of year, the others have lost daughters and sons to drugs and alcohol and car accidents.

    It’s tough for kids, too. Some have mothers who mis-treated them when they were little and aren’t nice to be around. Should you still show her respect, even if you don’t feel much for her?

    My own mom has been gone since I was 17, so I transferred my attention to my grandmothers while they still lived, and now I have aging aunts and a stepmom whom I send cards to. But there’s still a little pocket of sadness inside because I can’t participate in the idealized Hallmark way.

    When my son was about three, I remember feeling so resentful on Mother’s Day because my husband forgot what day it was until mid-morning, then rushed to Safeway and brought home a pot of chrysanthemums – not a flower I ever liked.

    It was a tense, instead of a beautiful day, with him feeling guilty and me feeling hard done by. Then we talked about it. We talked about which occasions in the year were ones that we wanted to honor. My mother had placed a special emphasis on birthdays, so that was important to me. Our anniversary and Christmas were the two other days that had significance. We agreed to resist the commercialism of the other designated days and established our own family rituals.

    With the pressure off, we had more fun being spontaneous. Since I liked the ritual of breakfast in bed, my family would surprise me with memorable times of French toast and tea on a tray with them beside me. A homemade card from my son added an extra bit of delight.

    Paying tribute to all moms who work tirelessly and often selflessly throughout the year is a good idea, but why have we turned it into yet another commercial time of sappy cards, wilted roses and long waiting lines at restaurants? Phew! Got that over with – now let’s get on with our lives – Mom will understand how very busy we are!

    Here’s my question – do we use this day as an excuse to ignore our mothers the rest of the year? My grandmother once said, “All I really want is some of your undivided attention.” We don’t need all the hoopla of one day if we already feel special because of continuous regard and contact. A regular phone call to check in or an unannounced drop-by means so much more, especially to seniors dealing with health and mobility issues.

    As for me, I like to pamper myself on Mother’s Day. If I can entice a friend – we go to a concert or get a pedicure. My son will be away on his honeymoon. I do not expect a phone call!

2 Responses so far.

  1. marie says:

    I hate mother’s day. my mother demanded that we celebrate it 2 years after I was married and had been living apart from her. She’s been a total manipulative bitch ever since, and every mother’s day it’s always been her little temper tantrum that I don’t care about her. uh, right. We never celebrated it when I grew up and suddenly you realize that my anniversary falls on mother’s day weekend and my husband I an must only think of you. not us. not our anniversary. you. yesp, 15 years and this was the first of many such instances over trivial matters that she has only made extremely uncomfortable and an annual reason to tell us how we don’t love her.

    • Sue Paulson says:

      So-called celebrations can be nightmares for some people. I’m sorry it’s tough for you on Mother’s Day. Sometimes the most difficult people in our lives are great teachers for “how not to be”. Thank you for your comments – I doubt if you’re alone in your experiences!