This is not my day


It’s the second Sunday in May. I’m told this day is one in which folks like me, mothers, are to be lauded, cherished, remembered, and cared for. There are flowers, and breakfast in bed, and happy children with homemade crafts, and someone else monitoring the exuberance, mess, and noise levels that come with such a preparation. I remember Mother’s Day as a child. I remember spray-painting macaroni picture frames, growing something from seed in school, and carefully bringing it home on the bus for my mom. I remember stopping at roadsides to buy flowers on our way to one Grandma’s house or another, to celebrate the day of a grand family matriarch.

Mother’s Day is a holiday that seems best-suited to small children and old women. And those of us in the middle? I think it depends on a lot of things. I would argue, however, that without at least one other adult in the house (and sometimes even with them), Mother’s Day would best be skipped. Children decide to make breakfast in bed, without supervision. The seedlings they bring home result in dirt dumped all over the living room. The day starts, runs, and ends, the same way every other day of the year goes, only this one is harder because it comes with expectations and fantasies of a different sort of life, in which our work (paid, home, parenting, all of it) is valued. Not only is our work not valued more on this day than any other, but we often end up with more of it.

I don’t say all of this to be a buzzkill or a pessimist. I think that the idea of celebrating the specialness of anyone is a good one, in theory. But Mother’s Day, to me, is a lot like my birthday. If I have to put in the work for my household to remember me for a day, I’d just rather it be like all the other days.

Mom, I love you. I appreciate you. And I get it. Happy Mother’s Day. This is your day. It is not mine.

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