I've been feeling rather Grinchy lately, as the ads and chatter about Mother's Day reaches its apex, though last night's episodes of The Middle and Modern Family provided me nice comic relief about the holiday.
Why? Let me count the reasons why Mother's Day bugs me:
1. The overcommercialization. Seriously . . . what makes some people look at a car wash and think, "Moms would like this"?
Here's a handy tip: Not every mom likes the color pink, stuffed animals, cleaning supplies or wearing a sweatshirt with a cartoon character on the front.
Another helpful suggestion: You know that ad you've been hearing on the radio about pajamas that are supposed to make Mom feel like a superhero, and those pajamas include a cape? No. Just. No.
2. The pressure. It's one thing to celebrate each person who is important in your life on his or her birthday. You call them, send them a card, maybe get them a gift or share a meal. But imagine if all those birthdays occurred on the same day and everybody wanted you to celebrate THEIR birthday with them? Madness, right?
That's how I feel about Mother's Day (and Father's Day for that matter). No matter what you do, you're bound to disappoint somebody. And I hate disappointing people.
3. The gift. Try to find an appropriate gift which says, "Thanks for putting up with my crap when I was growing up." A gift that you haven't already given your mom a thousand times before. Nothing can really do the trick or possibly express how much all that woman's efforts meant to you. I'd much prefer to put the time into a meaningful birthday gift rather than a Mother's Day gift for all the moms in your life (and your spouse's life) simultaneously.
4. The falseness. There are many stories I've heard from moms who've had utterly awful Mother's Day experiences where they've had to drag their very young rug rats to a white linen and real silver flatware restaurant for brunch and struggled to keep the children from chucking their food, knocking things over and navigating the buffet line without knocking that great grandmother with the walker over there into the tray of Belgian waffles. But those moms had to plaster a fake smile on their faces and pretend as though they were having a great time.
How come we never hear about Father's Day brunches? 'Cause they don't have to suffer through them. Instead, they get barbecues with hamburgers and hot dogs and chips. And beer. And baseball on the TV. I wanna trade.
Here's what I do like about Mother's Day:
1. The cute factor. When your kids are young, they really try, in the narcissistic way that children have, to do something for Mom, even if they need ample help from Dad to accomplish it. (This can also work for grandmothers with young grandkids too.) They hand you scrawled crayon drawings of you and the child holding hands and there are lots of hearts on it. They give you sticky kisses. The craft that they made at school is still wet with glue when they hand it to you in bed.
Once your kids are of driving age, that cute phase is long gone. That's when they get a store-bought card that's been hastily signed and read a text that just came in on their cell phone while you were reading their card. Then they ask you for the car keys.
2. The excuse it gives you for family time. Mother's Day is a great excuse to take a pass on crappy errands, tasks or things that you don't want to do (unless it's Mother's Day brunches) and just chill with your family. I, for one, like Mother's Day the best when it's ridiculously simple: I don't want to cook and I don't want to do dishes on that day (or any other day for that matter, but that's another blog post). We can just hang out or maybe walk around at a park if the weather's nice. Oh, and I want hugs and don't want to referee an argument about the TV remote.
What do you think of Mother's Day? Are you a fan or not so much?
It's worth noting that a writer on the web site Babble claims that the woman whose efforts led to the creation of the national Mother's Day holiday later hated what it had become and tried, in her final days, to have it abolished.