Monday, 11 May 2015

I feel a bit guilty saying this, but...

Mother's Day was kind of weird.




I'm only allowing myself to say it on the blog, because I deeply appreciate the people who took the time to wish me a happy "first mother's day" and I wouldn't risk making them feel bad for any reason.  Among the many people who find Mother's Day difficult, I include my step-MIL, whose adult son was killed in a car crash three years ago, and my MIL, who as a child lost both of her parents in a car accident. (Drive safely everyone.) If they have the courage to celebrate, or at least acknowledge Mother's Day, and ask to be acknowledged, well I must find the courage to do it.

My own mother and I are casual about Mother's Day. We didn't celebrate it when I was a child, but as an adult I would usually give her a card and a small gift. Since she retired she's usually out of town on that day, however, so I would just wish her a happy day before she left. We never made much out of holidays in my family and we spend time together outside of holidays. And of course going through the experiences associated with infertility in recent years, I became even more ambivalent about Mother's Day.

I forgot all about Mother's Day this year until a couple of weeks ago, when I was reminded by all the incessant advertising. The message of the ads is: "If you don't DO SOMETHING (i.e. buy X product) for your mom YOU DON'T REALLY LOVE HER AND SHE WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU." I hate that message.  I don't want AJ guilt-tripped into buying or doing things for me in the future. OK, as her mom I may give her a guilt trip sometimes but that doesn't mean I want everybody else lending a hand too!  It seems to me that there's a push in our society to reduce every experience and emotion into a product or image that can be bought and sold.  We can't possibly have a joyful or uplifting moment without some sort of commercial exchange taking place first.

Yesterday my step-MIL hosted brunch at her house and we had delicious food and exchanged cards. My mom gave me flowers. I gave my mom and step-MIL cookies (baked in a macaron class the day before!). Being together with family and extended family is a privilege. I wouldn't have it any other way. But I like getting together even better without the "Mother's Day" baggage. I was relieved when the cards were put away and all the obvious things had been said and we could just have a normal Sunday.


Microblog-o-rama

12 comments:

  1. I can relate to all of this, and I don't think you should feel guilty. Mother's Day was a waaay more prominent day on my horizon (unsurprisingly) when I was 'only' the bereaved mother of a lost baby. This year, I got flowers and a card, (actually a day late) but would otherwise have almost let the day slip. It helps that I'm in a country that doesn't get all Hallmark-y, spewing those kinds of cloying, guilt-inducing messages that you've described.

    But Happy belated Mother's Day anyway! ;)

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    1. thanks! It can take an effort of will to remember that celebrations like Mother's day can be what we want them to be, not what the messages say they should be. Happy mother's day to you too!

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  2. I always forget about Mother's Day and Father's Day. When I was little it was just breakfast in bed for my parents (my mom doesn't eat breakfast so it must have been a chore for her!). I don't really want to participate in the commercial side of things either, but making it a day about spending time together sounds good to me!

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    1. Agreed! the only time I ate breakfast in bed was when pregnant LOL. The thought is quite revolting now. :-p

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  3. It's amazing how different these holidays are now compared to when I was a kid. It's really a shame because the focus has become more on giving mom a day at the spa all while excluding those who fit the role but don't fit society's definition.

    I'm glad you had a quiet day with family, though. It sounds like it was a lovely one.

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    1. I know. I really appreciate the people who post inclusive statements about Mother's Day.
      I don't think my mom would like the spa much....she likes best to be around family!

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  4. I love the idea of a casually-celebrated Mother's Day. I seriously never regret our decision to get rid of cable, because I did not see a SINGLE awful commercial, and I am a nerd who only listens to NPR in the car, so I didn't hear a SINGLE awful jewellry store ad, either. I love the idea of homemade cards, a special breakfast AT HOME, something low-key, family time together. I'd like to think that I have the power to fight the commercial machine and make that happen, one day when this holiday belongs to me, too.

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    1. That's a great vision Jess! I hope you get to celebrate that way too!

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  5. We reject all the consumerism of the holiday (well, the consumerism of all holidays). I cherish time spent with another person, kind words said. So no gifts bought or given here. Though I loved spending the day with my mum. But that's sort of every Sunday, you know?

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    1. Absolutely! I think no gifts is a great idea.

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