Why I’m not a fan of Mother’s Day (and what I’m doing about it)

by

I don’t like Mother’s Day.

There, I’ve said it. You can disagree with me if you like, and in fact I’d love you to! Because even though we have this one thing – motherhood – in common, we’re all different and can enjoy different things in a variety of ways.

But the day itself doesn’t encourage such nuances. On this one day each year I feel I’m expected to morph into a person who suddenly likes fluffy pink bed socks, nighties that wouldn’t look out of place on a nun, floral cards, and loudly declares how lucky I am for twelve hours straight.

I feel I’m expected to morph into a person who suddenly likes fluffy pink bed socks and nighties that wouldn’t look out of place on a nun.

I’ve tried to like it, I really have. I’ve smiled while trying to find joy in the day’s stereotypical activities, I’ve helped at school Mother’s Day stalls where kids cry about not knowing which piece of plastic crap their mum might like, and I’ve tried to sleep in on command. But I just don’t enjoy it.

Expectations set by others

I think it’s the expectation to do things in a particular way on a day that’s set by others, with no accounting for individuality or reality, that gets my sense of rebellion stirring.

Mother’s Day also preys on the idea of women being chained to the kitchen, unappreciated and self-sacrificing. These are the ideals of motherhood that are dying – if somewhat slowly – and my own determination not to live like that refutes the things that take us back there. To me, a day that relies on the idea that mum deserves one day off, given to her with the expectation of the right amount of gratitude, isn’t a good fit with my version of motherhood.


Read this too: A mother’s day


 

However, the reality is that Mother’s Day is unavoidable because my kids love it. In the early days of parenting, my husband and I agreed not to do Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Easy: it worked really well for a few years, until our first daughter started kinder. During the preschool and school years, you actually have no choice.

So if I don’t enjoy Mother’s Day in its current form, I’ve wondered over the last couple of years – what if I was to make it different?

A day for the kids, not for me

What I’ve now done is change my mindset about Mother’s Day.

When I thought of it as a day for me, it felt annoying that I had to succumb to all the expectations. I always felt disappointed by the day, because I was holding such high hopes for it.

Now, I think of it as a day for the kids, not “my” day. It’s a day that’s about the little cards and gifts they’ve happily crafted, it’s about being proud of their efforts in kindness, and it’s a day for giving them my time. I now look at it as a way to make them feel happy about trying to do something thoughtful for me.

Yes, I’m a “busy mum” and yes, I “deserve to be spoiled”, but woe betide anyone who says such phrases on Mother’s Day.

Do one thing I enjoy

Having said that, I do like to include a little something of my choosing on Mother’s Day (as I try to do every day). And, because I feel rebellious on that day, I never choose to have a stereotypical bubble bath or go out for scones and tea.

I’m more likely to make the kids go bushwalking with me on Mother’s Day, or go to Bunnings while the rest of the population feeds their mothers soggy toast for breakfast in bed.

Don't miss I'm Fine and Other Lies by Megan Blandford #postnataldepression #postpartumdepression #pnd #selfkindness

Patronising clichés are banned

Yes, I’m a “busy mum” and yes, I “deserve to be spoiled”, but woe betide anyone who says such phrases on Mother’s Day.

The only one that’s allowed is, “I love you” – that goes back and forward between me and the kids multiple times. I guess I just found the joy in Mother’s Day.

Are you a fan of Mother’s Day?

Bothimages by Annie Spratt

Written by Megan Blandford

Megan Blandford is an author and prolific freelance writer. As a well-respected voice on mental health and parenting, Megan writes for The Age, Sunday Life, Essential Baby, Kidspot, SBS, Whimn, Daily Life, Body+Soul and Headspace. I’m Fine (and other lies) is her first book – and she’s started with the trickiest story of all: the things that mums never say out loud. Megan lives in north-east Victoria with her husband, two children and far too many animals. She is, currently, actually fine.

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