Oh yippee, it’s that time of year again. Sun is shining, flowers are starting to bloom, spring sports equipment is getting dragged out — and I spot it on my calendar. Typed in small, cute, italic font in the lower center of a Sunday morning. Mother’s Day — how special. My big day! A day to feel warm and wonderful, to celebrate my motherhood. Except, I won’t. Because, I can’t. Because Mother’s Day is BS. And that’s the cold, hard truth.
As the mother, I am the planner. I am the organizer, orchestrator, and executor of all family events, holidays, and gatherings. So who then is in charge of this day? In planning my celebration? More importantly, who is going to make sure all the other mothers in our life are taken care of on this glorious day?
See, the trouble with Mother’s Day is that there are too many mothers. I am a mother. I have a mother, who has a mother. My husband has a mother, and his sisters are mothers and holy shit — the list goes on. So, while I would love to be selflessly counting down the days ‘til my maternal Super Bowl, I am off gathering cards and flowers for these other bitches. See, moms don’t get to press pause on the to-do list — on the responsibility of making sure everyone else in their lives feels loved and appreciated — even on their own big day.
Maybe we can all make a pact? An agreement that Mother’s Day should be exclusively for mothers with young kids. The ones who are in the trenches. Right? Like once your kids are adults it’s time to pass the Mother’s Day torch on to those who are up all night with shit under their fingernails. Or maybe we petition for a separate holiday, Grandmother’s Day. Not to be confused with Groundhog Day, but similar sounding. And strategically place it during a non-busy time of year. Or combine it with Father’s Day. That feels right.
And let’s be honest, relaxing on Mother’s Day is near impossible. Because while I may otherwise wish to spend a day labeled “mine” getting a massage, shopping, or diving into a good book, I will inherently feel guilty that I am not celebrating my motherhood with the little fuckers who gave me my title.
Who abandons their offspring after just receiving homemade cards and backyard flowers? On a holiday! That kid-favorite word loaded with expectation for planned events, food, and fun. All of the things that, as you might remember, I am in charge of.
Lucky for Hallmark though, no one will ever know the truth about this silly day. Mothers all over the globe will take to their social media feeds with flawless photos, each captioned with hashtags like #family and #luckymama. Scroll to the right for a shot of their child’s hand-print flower-art because what kind of a mother doesn’t acknowledge her #blessings publicly on her special day by showing the world just how much her kids love her.
I have an idea. Maybe instead of forcing a crap-load of gratitude for a large group of people into one arbitrarily contrived day, we should strive to celebrate our motherhood in little moments throughout the year.
Like when you take a family beach day and all of a sudden all of the kids are entertained and happy and you find yourself alone, feet in sand, ass in chair — that’s Mother’s Day. When your son grabs your hand on the family walk, or when your daughter tackles you with an unsolicited hug. When your husband makes dinner and when the new jeans fit just right. Those are Mother’s Day moments. Natural, random, unsolicited little miracles that make you feel happy and appreciated. Expectation-free, stress-free, guilt-free goodness. That’s the real Mother’s Day shit.
Samm Burnham Davidson is an ex-lawyer mom of four who swears a lot. She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.