Mother’s Day disappointment?

Do you get Mother’s Day disappointment? A feeling that affects your mood for the rest of the day when it could have been quite a happy normal Sunday was it not for this day for mothers?

This is the first Mother’s Day, in my 12 years of being a mother, that I’ve not expected or planned to do anything.

I got up as usual, did the usual morning chores like put the dishes away and then I got on with the day like any other Sunday.  Went to open DILAM, came home and cleaned the house like I usually do on a Sunday morning. Sorted out some life admin and planned the week as normal.  I get that this is the reality for many mothers year after year – getting on with things as normal – it just hasn’t for me for so long.

I didn’t expect anything and so for the first time I wasn’t disappointed with last-minute bought cards that always made me feel sad opening them as the kids obviously didn’t choose them and then nothing. (Side note – both kids made cards for me this year – probably because I keep harping on about how Mother’s Day is over commercialised and don’t spend any money!).  No extra sleep time, no thought, nothing. Just an air of sadness and resentment all day as I expected and never received which ultimately made me feel unappreciated.

This isn’t partner bashing

Now I’m not partner bashing as he has stepped up considerably in the past year and he did do his share of the Sunday morning cleaning and asked me if there was anything else he could help with. When I told him I’d like him to deal with all the ALL meals so I didn’t need to think about it AT ALL he did. 

He does so much more in terms of getting the kids sorted now and dealing with the crap that can come with parenting that I do feel like we’re more of a team again (we were to start with when we had our first kiddo and then lost our way somewhere in the middle before having our second) and maybe it’s that gap in parenting, life with kids, the constant brain chat that has meant in the past that Mother’s Day has felt lacking, and I have felt unappreciated.

The meaning of mother’s day

The other reason that this time maybe felt so much better and different is because I did some research into what Mother’s Day is REALLY all about.  Mainly as I saw so much info on social media about International Women’s Day and how the meaning of that has been lost.

If you don’t know the history of Mother’s Day here’s a quick round up paraphrasing from The Motherhood Penalty written by Joeli Brearley the founder of Pregnant Then Screwed. (A great read if you can deal with equal measures of frustration and inspiration from a book)

Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 in the USA. Anna’s mother was a socialist and feminist in the 1800s and organised mothers’ groups that advocated for women’s labour rights.  When her mother died Anna campaigned for a day when the hard work of women was respected and valued.  In 1914 Mother’s Day became a national holiday and proceeded to become a day of sentimentality and commercialisation.  Anna Jarvis then spent the rest of her life trying to remove Mother’s Day from the national calendar which she never managed to do before she died.

Somehow knowing that Anna Jarvis tried to remove it from the national calendar as it become something she didn’t intend it to be, has made the disappointment of Mother’s Day disappear for me. I know the unpaid work we do is still very much in need of respect and to be valued but knowing Mother’s Day was never meant to be a sentimental day has helped me turn my disappointment in the day around.

If you celebrate Mother’s Day and it’s a wonderful day that you love, I’m not taking away from that at all. Carry and on and do what you love and enjoy. For those that Mother’s Day is somewhat lacking maybe knowing this bit of info and that there are other people out there that find it disappointing too can be helpful in reducing that disappointment or whatever less positive emotions it evokes.

plans for next year?

Maybe for next Mother’s Day we all come together for an event that marks the day as it was intended and that makes Anna Jarvis turn in her grave with delight.

How do you feel about Mother’s Day?

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