All I Want for Mother’s Day Is Not to Care About Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day is nearly upon us, and as a mom, I should probably be pretty excited. After all, motherhood’s been really good to me. I’ve been blessed with two wonderful sons, an adoring husband, and a really cute dog. And while raising kids has been challenging in ways I never expected, it’s also been so incredible, I can’t help but thank my lucky stars.

Still, moms do a lot and their daily grind can feel really thankless at times; so it only makes sense that we celebrate them at least once a year, right? Of course! And that’s a good thing, too, because every mom enjoys Mother’s Day, right?

Not so fast.

Sure, pretty Instagram pictures of pretty moms unwrapping pretty gifts surrounded by her pretty children on Mother’s Day are pretty. But I’ve been a mom long enough to know that pretty mom’s son is probably miserable in his collared shirt and her daughter probably didn’t want to wear that particular dress. I can only assume pretty mom has given her kids “the look” at least twice on account of their questionable behavior in this restaurant with cloth napkins. I’m also fairly certain that pretty mom’s husband is having a heck of a time ensuring his mom and his wife are happy on this special  and important day designed to honor them both. But something about this portrait feels manufactured and disingenuous — and it’s a big reason I’d rather opt out. Still, every year, my family celebrates me in the sweetest ways in spite of myself. And I get why they do it; I’m their mom! Heck, I celebrate my own mom in big ways because I feel like she deserves it, but this highly-commercialized, widely-publicized national holiday that prompts us to remember Mom somehow misses the mark for me.

If I subscribe to this day designed to pamper, appreciate, and honor my role as mom in all the ways my heart desires, disappointment is almost imminent by virtue of the weighty promises of this day. Because for me, recognition has never been about pretty gifts or fancy meals; it’s about being seen and heard.

I don’t need or even necessarily want breakfast in bed or a break from the laundry (although they’re both very nice). It’s possible all I really need is for my youngest to get in the car the first time I ask. Perhaps all I really want is for my oldest to put down his phone, or my husband to please, please, please put away his shoes. These small and stupid daily asks add up, and on Mother’s Day — more than any other day — I regrettably care more than ever.

I care more than ever that my kids don’t argue. I care more than ever that I get to sleep in. I care more than ever that the dog gets fed. I care more than ever because for me, Mother’s Day is less about brunch and flowers and more about recognizing just how much Mom cares about her family … and yes, not tripping over shoes.

So while Mother’s Day may seem a little tricky, for moms like me it’s actually quite simple. Forget about starched shirts and reservations on this fancy Sunday in May. Write Mom a note of thanks on some random Wednesday in August, or surprise her with drawing, sneak in for a hug and refuse to let go, or bring home a flower you picked on your way home from school.

Maybe Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be #blessed in all the pretty and conventional ways we’ve come to expect. Perhaps instead, it can be a little less formal, a little more frequent, and free in all the best ways.

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