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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mother's Day......Celebrate YOUR Way!

As Mother's Day approaches, my thoughts run back to something I wrote the day after my second Mother's day. At the time, I sat at my computer emptying my head of the swirling thoughts that so desperately needed a place to settle. My private Internet Mommy Board was the perfect outlet for this, and I would like to share what I wrote that day. Forgive it of any typos or grammatical errors, as I so hurriedly emptied my mind at the time.

Written on 5/15/06:
"So here's the deal....I didn't receive anything other than a card from my own mom on Mother's Day. Hubby was out of town, and didn't get me anything. I wasn't surprised by this, and had really thought about it ahead of time, and decided it was okay. So I had a nice Mother's Day. I focused my energy and thoughts on my daughter. I enjoyed every minute with her yesterday, and did lots of thinking about how close I came to never being a mom, and how blessed I am. I smiled so much yesterday. I really felt good.

Then....I come to work...and EVERYONE keeps asking me what I "got" for mother's day, and when I tell them that I didn't "get" anything......they all pout and frown and tell me how sad that is.....and I tell them that I am okay with it...and they want to give me a hug and feel all sad for me..... so NOW I feel icky. NOW I feel like my Mother's Day wasn't good enough. NOW I am sad.....what the heck?

It really must all be about perspective. I think that usually in my life I tend to CHOOSE to be happy, and it works for me. I feel that life is too short to spend feeling sorry for myself, and if I choose to make lemonade out of the lemons that come my way...then I will have led a blessed life. I honestly couldn't care less about the "material gifts" of Mother's Day, so why I feeling sad. Well, I think it is because I have been told that I "should" be sad! So here I sit, trying to steer my mind back to the happy place...the place that knows that it doesn't matter what I "got" on Sunday. It is what I "get" each and every day being Sugar Bear's mom. She appreciates me everyday....and she is starting to really really really show it, when she runs to me when I pick her up after work....when she calls out, "momma??" when she is in another room and smiles so big when she finds me...When she comes to me in the middle of playing just to hug my leg.

I sit here looking forward to the day when she comes home from school with that little handmade pipe cleaner flower and the biggest most proud smile on her face. I look forward to the day that I proudly wear the sloppy, glitter decorated foam sun visor she so proudly made me. I have so much to look forward to. So to all those doubters of my "happy Mother's Day".....I loudly say, "I am blessed...and each and every day is Mother's Day simply because I am so honored to be Sugar Bear's MOM!" Thanks for letting me share. I needed to regroup. It's all good now!"

For the past two years now, I have been unable to shake the expectations
OTHERS place on MY Mother's Day. I simply have not been successful at getting the point across. I am deeply saddened, and grow tired of the heavy pressure we put upon ourselves and our families to produce the "perfect holiday", and to most horridly have something tangible....something material to show for it. WHY? Why must everything be so COMMERCIAL? Does the material gifts, and fancy plans really indicate a true appreciation for all that is motherhood? Is there a direct correlation between the quality of the gift and the quality of the mother? I can't get over the look that crosses people's faces when I reply to their inquiry of what I GOT for Mother's Day. Somehow, I feel the need to comfort THEM. To assure THEM that MY Mother's Day was worthy. To convince THEM that I feel appreciated and loved. That is all sorts of crazy if you ask me.

While pondering the meaning of Mother's Day, I couldn't stop myself from "googling" it. I found the
Wikipedia description fascinating. *note to self- never stop thirsting for knowledge* The following excerpt interested me the most:

The United States celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. In the United States, Mother's Day was loosely inspired by the British day and was imported by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, she wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mothers' Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

When Jarvis died in 1907, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on 10 May 1908, in the church where the elder Ann Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Originally the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, this building is now the International Mother's Day Shrine (a National Historic Landmark). From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states beginning in 1912. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

Nine years after the first official Mother's Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.

Now I acknowledge that Mother's Day isn't alone in this crazy COMMERCIALISTIC trend. Nearly every Holiday has been tarnished by our NEED for STUFF. Why then am I so bothered by it? Why does Mother's Day never fail to drive this message home for me? Truly, I am bothered by our societies need to make all holiday's about the stuff, but Mother's Day bothers me most. It might lie in the fact that this mother holds so very dear her honor to be a mother. This mother doesn't need a stinking holiday to tell me that I am important, and that each day I share with my Sugar is a blessing beyond measure. Maybe I take offense to others judging my worth as a mother by their expectations of my gifts. Maybe I just grow tired of having to prove that
my little unconventional family is worthy. My journey to motherhood wasn't easy, but it doesn't make it any less or more valuable. It is just that...the journey. We all have our own is our own....and so should our Mother's Day be!

YOUR Mother's Day be what YOU want it to be. May your heart be full of the blessings each of your children are.

27 Live It or Love It:

Julie said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. Point well-taken, Corey! :)

Irene said...

What a wonderful post. And so true.

My own mom used to always say that EVERY day should be mother's and father's day. So we don't make a huge deal of the day. She never liked all the media hype.

But you are so right, Mother's day should be what YOU want it to be. Don't let others and the media define it for you.

And also I wanted to say that I love your blog! A mom who is photography nut? Sounds like my kind of friend.

Take care!

Megan Cobb said...

Yes, yes and YES!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh Corey I love that. Our Mother's Day is pretty commercial too but all the people I know seem to treat it as a fun day to be together. We don't do pricey gifts, huge plans etc, just dinner with the family and cute gifts such as a pair of silly socks, or a cute 'I love you Mummy' teddy. The best gift is always the sticky picture that they've worked on at school or at home, and the cuddles. The cuddles are priceless. Cuddles to you sweetie. :D

Anonymous said...

Beautiful message, Corey!!

We have a tradition that the mother receives a new plant. Last year, my MIL and FIL presented me with a blueberry bush for my garden, and I gave a similar gift. My husband has never given me expensive gifts (with the exception of last year's laptop, which was TOTALLY unexpected but necessary for my job, given our other computer had just died). I certainly don't expect gifts and find the ones I treasure most are the things my children make for me in school. They can hardly hide their excitement as they tell me they're working on a special project. Last year, Hannah presented me with a painted clay pot, and Jacob gave me a picture with his handprints turned into a flower. It's still on my refrigerator! This year, my husband is making me dinner, and that excites me more than anything!! Also, I asked for some "alone time" so I can clean and organize my desk - LOL!!

Anonymous said...

I already know that I won't be "getting" anything for mother's day - except probably a card and a phone call from my mom...and I'm totally cool with that. When Dale was home in April we took an afternoon to go to the spa together as an early Mother's and Father's Day "gift" to ourselves. So Sunday I will spend a wonderful day with Nate and then after he goes to bed, me and a bunch of my fellow new Mom's are heading out to see some male exotic dancers and have some fun. Perhaps it's a bit tawdry...but it'll definitely be fun. And like you said - we should be free to celebrate however we want!

:) said...

Corey, my DH asked me yesterday what I wanted to do for Mother's Day and I told him that I just want to sit around the house and be a happy family. I can buy just about anything I want and need on my salary so material things are something I don't need. My princess told me yesterday that on Mother's Day she was going to give me the gift of calling ME "princess." I told her that would be one of the best gifts EVER!

Autumn said...

This is on my top ten list for favorite Corey posts! I usually get a lot for mothers day... a lot of hugs and kisses that is! That's just the way I like it. This year Bug has been hinting that he is making me something special in preschool. I love those little presents made from him... I can't wait to see what it is!

Bellevelma said...

Wishing you a Happy Mother's Day, Corey! I think the best gift I could receive is to be able to sleep in a little late for once :)

CMB said...

I am at a are an incredible person, mother, woman. Happy Mother's Day.

Laura said...

Corey, this is a message that our society truly needs to hear. As always, you are so wise. I wish for you the happiest of Mother's Days...but I also know that you don't need that from me. You have such an unwaveringly beautiful perspective on motherhood, and I know that you will experience every JOY possible this weekend, and every day, because of that. Thank you for this reminder of what it's really all about!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Brilliant post, Corey! Very thought-provoking!

Jules said...

Oh I love this post Corey!!!! I have felt that way many times!

I always feel a lot of pressure to balance seeing my mother in law and my mother (and grandmothers!) to wish them a happy mother's day and give them a FIVE dollar card each! It's totally crazy! We spend the day running around for BBQ's and picnics and I never get a chance to stop and enjoy my day. Sigh.

Thank you for this post, I needed reminding that it's not about what you get, it's about what you have!

Carolyn said...

Brilliant rant. Wish I'd wrote it myself. I'm totally fed up with the over-commercialization of our society. It makes me sick. More more more more more. It's all too much. I'm so proud of you for setting it straight - Mother's Day is about being a Mother and the blessings that it brings. Being a Mother is not about the STUFF we get, it’s about the LOVE we get!

Oh, and for the record, I secretly love the painted wooden spatula Csilla made for me. I wouldn't want anything more...

Maude Lynn said...

Like most things, it's all about money!

AnnD said...

THANK YOU! Thank you for writing this! My hubby and I do not celebrate these (what I call) Hallmark holidays with one another; Mother's Day, Father's Day, and especially the worst...Valentine's Day. I just think they are so.....commercialized (as you said), childish and lame. People think we are crazy too! That's fine that other people find them meaningful but I try to get my hubby stuff that I know he'll appreciate whenever I can. Not just on a specific day. I also don't want to be the recipient of a "forced" gift on any Hallmark holiday. Maybe I'll write a blog about it myself...

kat said...

You never cease to amaze me because you write exactly about the stuff that I am thinking about all the time.

Have a wonderful weekend Corey.

Michie said...

I've been finding more and more lately that I'm happier if I try to ignore what "society" says about things. If I'm ok with it, that's all that should matter, right? I'm trying to learn to block out all of those people who think that it isn't right because it isn't their way.

Maybe those people who were feeling bad for you because you didn't get anything were just jealous that they couldn't be as happy as you were.

Gen said...

I'm with ya on all the "stuff". It's hard not to get sucked in, but blech. I'm tired of it.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Corey! As I was reading your post, I was thinking about the history of Mother's Day -- I'm so glad you shared that too. I agree that everything is way too commercialized. Hugs and kisses from my kiddos is the only Mother's Day gift I really need :)

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love this post! You know Corey- of all the gifts I may get this year- nothing will top the stuff that the kids came home with from school on Friday. I won't remember what I get tomorrow. However, those cards and picture frames made of popsicle sticks and foam shapes will stay in a tote where I can look at them 10 years from now. Handmade is from the heart.

holly said...

corey corey corey. and you peeps. you just don't get it. tsk tsk tsk. whoever gets the most *stuff* is the best mom ever! the only reason i even *had* kids is so i could get me some swanky mother's day booty. good god why else would i wipe so many butts!!! i'm just saying there's got to be some compensation. otherwise, it's just butt-wiping and taping cute pictures to the wall. what kind of life is that really? i don't know. i don't wanna know.

Deb said...

I went to bed last night feeling a little bit let down by my mother's day. But then when I woke up this morning and thought more about it, I realized that I spent the entire day home with my girls and my hubby and what better way is there to spend a day than that. You're right that it's all in how you look at it, and I had a wonderful Mother's Day in that respect. :)

Thank you for always knowing exactly what to say to help keep things in perspective... And Happy Mother's Day to you! :)

MamaBear said...

I can tell I like you already. :)

We don't have extra money for purchased gifts but who needs them? I love my homemade gifts and TIME is the best gift anyway. I got time to sleep in, time to snuggle my kids, time to giggle with them, time to play with them, and time to myself (when they took long naps for once). What more could a mom want?
Happy belated Mother's Day to you!!

we are reilly said...

AMEN sister!!! :) I couldn't agree more. A friend of mine at work asked me last week, "what are you getting for Mother's Day?" What am I getting? WHAT? Like I went out and bought my own present or something? I told her, "oh, I don't know I really don't need anything, I just want to be a family and work around the house a little bit". She looked shocked! She told me, "oh, you have to ask for jewelry -- tell your daughter to tell your husband that you want diamond earrings!". (you can tell we're not very close friends -- I rarely even wear jewelry, let alone diamonds!) She went on and on about how she told her boys to tell their dad, "momma wants those diamond earrings at Kay's Jewelers for $89" -- her boys are 2 and 5 years old and she brainwashed them into reciting some verse about diamond earrings! Quite sad, huh?

It makes me sad that moms (and our society) get all wrapped up in 'keeping up with the Jones'. It makes me sad that we can't just be happy with what we have -- we always want more.

If it were up to me, I'd give all our money away, most of our clothes and food away too. But my husband keeps a tight budget, so we don't give it ALL away.

I like the simpler life. Once you get too many 'things' or too much money -- life gets too complicated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. Just what I needed to read on the day after the big day.

Also, love the new header!

Michelle said...

I feel much the same way! We don't really celebrate Valentine's Day for the same reason ... it just feels to "forced"...if he gets me flowers/chocolates because it's Valentine's or Mother's Day it feels like that is "expected". It would mean more if it came out of the blue. I hope that you had a lovely day and celebrated the way you wanted! Happy (late!) Mother's day!

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