My Mother’s Day Phobia

May 13, 2009

in no manual for parenting

It is the Wednesday after Mother’s Day and therefore I figure it is safe to reflect upon the impact of Mother’s Day on me personally, without the risk of being accused as mean-spirited, bitter, spoiled, jaded, or worse, unfit-to-be-a-mother…

Although I have always been moved by the origin of Mother’s Day, an internationally recognized and celebrated holiday nonetheless (unlike Father’s Day…), I really do hate Mother’s Day, if I may be allowed to be facetious. For myself.

I do sincerely celebrate Mother’s Day for all the mothers out there who so rightfully deserve well wishes on their special day. The Collective Mother. The concept of motherhood.

I appreciate the opportunity to wish all the mothers happiness, a day of relaxation, of recognition. I appreciate the fact that my mother-in-law is probably one of the best mothers-in-law out there and I am blessed in this regard. I appreciate the reminder that I owe my own mother thousands of apologies for all the pains I have caused her, and that maybe for once I can talk to her on the phone without hanging up in a hurry because someone in my house screams as if his leg is being sawed off, or in a huff because my mother says something that does not jive well with my pseudo-feminist sensibility…

“What are you going to do with the kids when you travel for business?”

“Hmmm, they have a father too?” Click.

I hate all the commercials that unfairly raise my expectations of what my husband and children would do to “honor me” on Mother’s Day. I hate my own passive aggressiveness:

“What do you want for Mother’s Day? What do you want to do for Mother’s Day?”

“Whatever. I don’t care.”

I hate my husband’s taking my reply literally after so many years of marriage. Come on, man, you know the passive aggressive bitch that I am. DO SOMETHING. Anything.

I hate despite all my jokes of “lowered expectations”, I cannot help but have that smidgen of hope, that maybe this year, something would be done. A surprise would be planned. The secret conversations. The furtive exchange of looks. The stifled laughter as they worked on a conspiracy. And I would pretend not to notice.

Like I said, I hate all those commercials that plant unrealistic expectations even when I try to be rational about it.

I once read that, statistically, more people committed suicide on their birthdays than any other day of the year. (Or did a college friend of mine tell me that? After he phoned to check on me, to make sure that I didn’t do anything stupid. I was full of angst in my youth. Hermann Hesse. My husband would not agree on Demian as the name for our firstborn. Lucky kid…)

The same agitation I feel on Mother’s Days. I wish I could just forget about it. DON’T PANIC.

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