In theory, I like the idea of Mother’s Day.

It’s the one day out of the year that I get to openly celebrate having my two kids with both of them, I get to be as bitchy as I want and do whatever the fuck I please whenever the hell I please it. Go tanning without a gummy toddler pulling up on the tanning bed? Check. Pedicure without trying to corral a six year old? Fan-fucking-tastic. I can sleep in, I can make my family wait on me hand and foot, and it’s theoretically flipping awesome.

In practice, however, I fucking hate it. I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns, I hate it passionately, and I hate Hallmark for making it such a big damn deal.

I’ve been a mother now for seven years, and each year I grow more sullen and resentful of having to celebrate it. The closer it gets, the more I openly dread it.

No matter that I’m the only one in the family with young children, the only one who still gets up overnight, and the only one who makes sure everything runs as smoothly as possible for my kids.

It’s never about me. It just isn’t.

Mother’s Day is never a celebration of any of the things that I do (or in some cases don’t do), it’s about pleasing the two other mothers in my life: neither of which a) cares for me much or b) acknowledges me in any way shape or form (even if I have recently popped a child from my cooter).

To keep the peace, I have to make damn certain that my husband I go and pick a card for his mother and some small token to say thank you to her (never mind that our tastes are completely dissimilar). Then I have to swallow my incredibly complicated feelings for my own mother and make sure to pick her out something special.

I know this makes me sound incredibly selfish and spoiled, like I don’t want to share the day with either of them or something, but I assure you that’s not it. I adore thinking of other people, buying them something thoughtful, and watching them enjoy it. Seriously, that’s my favorite part of Christmas.

It’s just that whatever I do is not acknowledged unless I don’t do it. The year that I forgot to remind Dave pick up a card for his mother myself and send it myself (which I always do), he got an angry phone call.

The year that I didn’t realize that Mother’s Day was a big ass deal for my own mother (it had never, ever been before), I got the world’s meanest letter written to me and placed on my pillow. The words “fuck” and “you” were prominent features there (yes, this was written by my mother, and I was 19), as were just about any insult you could imagine.

And if I do make sure to do the thoughtful things for these women (neither of whom are maternal to me in any way), I don’t even get a ‘thank you,’ or a “Happy Mother’s Day to you, too, Becky.” It’s expected that I spend the day with one or both of them (if not THAT day, at least 2 separate weekends) and not celebrate it for myself.

The fact that no one in my family (either side) ever even says ‘thank you’ for anything that I do hurts me, but for some reason, maybe I’m being a silly bitch, the fact that I go out of my way for two people who don’t even really like me (I’m actually being less melodramatic than it seems. Seriously) on a day that is technically “my day” too really hurts me even more.

It hurts me much more than I’d let on, so much so that Dave has officially called Mother’s Day off for the year. He’s so tired of watching me cry over it (it’s been 5 years of weeping. Not continuously, of course. That would be creepy) that he’s doing the only thing he can do (my family is not the sort to address these things). We’re going to do something to celebrate with just the four of us and that’s all.

He’s just done watching me get hurt by our families, and because we just don’t address stuff like that out in the open like normal people (I did tell you it was a note that my mother left me, right?), and we probably never will, and he’s just putting an end to it. I don’t need to “remember” these two women who refuse to “remember” me any more.

Maybe this makes me a selfish bitch, maybe it just marks the dawn of a new era of not taking bullshit from my family, maybe it’s just a false threat; I don’t know. All I do know is this: I am finally more at peace with the whole holiday than I’ve been the whole time I’ve been a mother.

Am I asking too much?

33 thoughts on “Anti-Mother’s Day

  1. If you weren’t a bazillion miles away, you’d hear me standing up and shouting the battle cry — I totally could’ve written this. Totally. You already know both my mother and mother-in-law issues so I won’t expound upon those and crash your blog.

    We must be on the same the page though ’cause guess what we’re doing on Mother’s Day?

    HA! We’re leaving the fucking state, driving 14 hours away, ferrying out to an island, and enjoying a vacation! You should come.

    FWIW I do plan to send my gifts/cards before getting the hell out of dodge.

  2. Oh yes, the holiday from hell. My mother believes it is the day we should all gather around her and kiss her ass from dawn til dusk. She also got mad when my sister and I mentioned that we were mothers now too. How dare we!

    I’m SO not a fan. Now my only slight joy is trying to get her pissed off enough to (a) cry, (b) yell and (c) say “Happy fucking mother’s day” at least once. It’s sort of a sick little scavenger hunt.

  3. I so understand! There is a hierarchy with my in-laws apparently. My BIL and SIL get the day to themselves with their kids (who are 31 and married, and 26), but hubby and I have to spend the day with his mom.

    I remember being so hurt the first year I was finally a mother, after years of infertility, and it was spent kissing my crazy MIL’s ass.

    My husband doesn’t quite get my frustration and hurt. His father passed away 8 years ago, so he’s never had to share fathers day. I spent mothers day kissing up to his mother, and he spends fathers day like a king.

    The only good thing is my family is 12 hours away, so I can get away with sending flowers and making a phone call.

  4. Life is just too short to unnecessarily bend over backwards for ungrateful people. Send a card and be done with them. And for crying out loud, go for the mani-pedi this time – or better yet, get the whole freakin’ spa treatment. You’ve got five years of making up to do, and YOU deserve it! 😉

  5. I don’t like Mother’s Day either. Well, I am not a mother (and I don’t intend on being one) AND my mom is dead – so a day to point that out seems mean and evil. Oh, and yes, have I mentioned that I am totally self-centered. LOL. Because if the holiday can’t be about me, then it just must suck.

  6. I love Dave for sticking up for you. Consider it Family Day. I guess that’s my approach. It’s not a day for me, but it’s a day for us. I choose to go to a baseball game or to play putt putt just so we’re occupied together. When it comes to the Mothers, it is hit or miss whether I do anything at all. Hell, they don’t congratulate me on my Mother’s Day.

    It’s bogus. Consider it Family Day.

  7. Good for you, girl. I always hated buying the mother in law card…she wasn’t my mom, dammit! My mom and I are close, but she is really controlling about stuff like this. Last year we ended up going to the zoo, because SIL wanted to, and my mom sided with her. We had to eat in the icky, overpriced zoo cafeteria, and NONE of it was what I wanted to do. I was pissed! Husband and the boys are pretty good about trying to be nice that day, but I wish we could just go away somewhere and be with ‘us’ and no one else!

  8. Fuck it, do what you want. There’s no rule that you have to celebrate this arbitrary, manufactured holiday, is there?

    I celebrate it, loosely, but mainly because I like the idea of having one day to quietly recognise the fact that I’m a mother now, despite thinking at some points that it would never happen.

    But anyway, given what you went through with your own mother, I don’t blame you for wanting to ignore it!

  9. Anti-Mother’s Day could be my blog! Thanks for blogging about this! A couple of years after I had my first child, I took a stand and REFUSED to have MY day ruined by MIL and SIL any further! The drama queen and princess. From that point on, Mother’s Day is mine and my family alone! My husband asked me what I wanted to do this year, my reply “As long as I don’t see anyone in your family, I don’t care”! Have a great Mother’s Day!

  10. I think you deserve to do whatever you want that day and you shouldn’t feel shitty about it. I think not spending the time with your extended families is a good idea. I totally relate to this by the way. I don’t have children – but I relate to the situation with your mother and those feelings. My mother can only be described as evil and although I try to have some compassion for her because she is a fucked up not sober alcoholic – it is quite difficult. I remember one year, I was maybe, I don’t know – 19 and I “forgot” to call her on mother’s day or something – and she told me, look at what a terrible person you are, I just can’t beleive how horribly my children have treated me for their whole lives. Well, I won’t go on (or maybe I will), cause I’ll end up writing a post here in your comments – but maybe I didn’t want to call my mother on mother’s day that year (or ever really), the year after I moved out of that hell hole, away from the woman who used to tell me every day that she hated me growing up. When I have to go buy a card for her – for anything – birthdays, mother’s day, I always have to buy a blank one and write something generic in it. None of the cards on the shelf seem to apply. I mean, they don’t make cards that say “Congratulations on being a shit head of a person and a terrible mother and for being drunk and passed out every day of my life, and thanks for treating me terribly and scarring me permenantly and then failing to apologize, even once for all the times you told me you hated me. I think I did a great job raising myself.”

    Good for you for taking care of yourself! Sorry that was long – I must uh, need to post about it! I’ll probably burn in hell for that or something.

  11. Daver rocks! You go ahead and do something for yourself. I think we all reach a certain age when we decide “fuck this” and do what makes us happy. For me, that was a couple of years ago when I decided not to spend MY birthday with my parents. Not that they are great but hey, it’s my day, not theirs.

    Once you become a mother yourself, you are no longer obligated to do anything for your own mother, and for sure not your MIL! (Not that you were obligated before)If they have a problem with it, that’s THEIR issues. I say, do what you want and enjoy your time together as a family.

    Also, moving 1200 miles away helps get one out from under the thumb of Mom too! Very liberating. Just a suggestion.

  12. We always do mother’s day with my mom. It’s never really been a big deal to her, gift wise, she just wants to see us.

    And Clint and I generally don’t celebrate the hallmark manufactured holidays anyway. So it doesn’t really bother me that it’s not about me.

  13. Ugh, I know what you mean. My mother is not evil, but we do have a very complicated relationship, and I struggle every year with picking out a card that is sufficiently Mother’s Day-ish without lying and saying “I love you for being the BEST MOM EVER!”

  14. There comes a point in our lives when we have to stop allowing others to fuck up things for us. Even if there is backlash. You are the one to be celebrated.

    I am lucky in that my mom and MIL are in different states, although I would love to spend the day with my mom. We also have the luxury of our wedding anniversary (we got married the day before mothers day) to supercede.

    I will never forget or forgive my MIL though, for calling me 3 years ago to wish me happy mothers day. After years of infertility and still no baby, it stung. A lot. I know her heart was in the right place though…. well I think it was. I dread the calls this year, hmm, time to book something for our anniversary 🙂


  15. I say you ignore them entirely and have a real Mother’s Day all for YOU! Let them get mad if they want to. It just proves why they ought not be getting gifts. Mother’s Day is about an appreciation for something you actually feel, not a day when people DESERVE a gift.

    Party, relax, and forget them!

  16. I think you’re doing the right thing for you and your family. As much as my in-laws resemble yours and my mother also resembles yours (really, sometimes when you write about them, I feel like you are talking about mine!), they differ in that respect. My MIL ALWAYS sends me a card for Mother’s Day and my Mom always calls to say Happy Mother’s Day too. If they acted like your MIL & Mom, I would cancel the day too! My heart actually broke a little bit for you and I do not think that you are being the least bit melodramatic! In a way I feel like once you become a grandmother, you’re not a mom anymore.. you are but you know.. it’s time to pass the day on! They do have grandparents’ day, after all.
    Anyway, so glad Dave spoke up and decided to end it. No point in extending yourself for someone who isn’t going to appreciate it anyway!

  17. You totally deserve a day to celebrate YOU and YOUR family, I don’t think you are asking too much at all. I hope that you enjoy your mother’s day this year with the Daver and the boys. I think you’re just wonderful and I’ll definitely be thinking of you when mother’s day rolls around! 🙂

  18. Hooray for The Daver! F them! Send them each a card, and that’s IT. If you get an angry phone call..simply say “The Daver took me and the boys out to celebrate Mothers Day this year..we’re making it an annual thing!”

  19. I don’t care for Mother’s Day either. I wouldn’t care if no one even mentioned it. My own mother says, if you are going to waste money on a card and flowers, I’d rather just have the money. Not a very sentimental bunch. I say we just cancel it forever and forget it even existed.

  20. Shall we got out and celebrate the anti-day together? Of course, that would be hard, you know the distance and all.

    I HATE Mother’s Day. I don’t mind so much doing something for my own mom who doesn’t require it, but for the bitch who is my MIL. I can’t even go there. I don’t even want to start thinking about it this early. I am still pissed that she called on Feb. 15 to inquire where her Valentines were.

    Last year I sat in Panera in sweats nursing a three week old baby for all to see for three solid hours only because it felt wrong to bring a baby into the bar down the street. Of course this year she’s not so little.

  21. I think it’s a nice idea to call it off and make it about the 4 of you. You deserve to be remembered just as much as they do. And how can they get that worked up over a Hallmark holiday? Do they own Hallmark stock or something?

  22. I love the Daver for saving you from the Hallmark Day of hell and the relatives who come with it! I hope they serve great cocktails where ever you end up and you get a pretty flower for your boys to smash with love of course…:)

  23. I hope you both stick to your guns, you deserve for it to be special for you.
    I am really lucky, my mil actually goes out of her way now to make it special for me. Wow the wonders the years have brought to our relationship! It did not start well.

  24. It’s not a lot to ask to just be acknowledged. It’s important for them…why can’t they see that it would be important for you, too. I’m glad you’ve decided to do your own thing this year; sometimes we just have to look out for ourselves. Fuck ’em, I say!

  25. Becks-

    Something it took me too long to realize (D realized right away) is that when you have a child, you and he (and dad, or not, as the situation may be) become the central family in your life. Your childhood family moves into second place.

    I’m lucky. D’s parents are incredibly understanding about us making time for OUR family. My parents, on the other hand, sound a little like Daver’s. Especially my mom.

    But after our nightmare Christmas (driving back from D’s parents at 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve) we agreed. Our family comes first. And it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

    It will suck. There will be angry phone calls and notes all over again. But parents spend their whole lives telling us to grow up – I think it’s time we all told our parents the same thing – GROW UP!

    So, no, you’re not asking too much. Stake your claim. You, Daver, and your two bundles of joy (and pain… Sunshine, and rain…) are THE family.

    You go, girl.

  26. I don’t think you have a selfish bone in your body, which is actually the real problem! You’re TOO good:) Whatever you do for other people, cut it in half and then realize that’s about what most people would be willing to do, actually probably less.

    You’re obviously such a wonderful person, even though these two women are too wrapped up in themselves to even see it, let alone tell you about it.

    XO – Happy Mother’s Day

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