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Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Musing


On my 5th Mother's Day, 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 now am 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 five years now, I have been unable to shake the expectations OTHERS place on MY Mother's Day. I feel that 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 importantly 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 society's need to make all holidays about the stuff, but it seems 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 THIER 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!


Much of this post is directly copied and pasted from last year's post.  I find it interesting, yet very distrubing that while I thought all day of writing this post, I had no idea that last year's post would say nearly EVERYTHING I wished to say.  It wasn't until I looked back at it, that I realized my feelings have changed very little from a year ago, let alone 5 years ago.   Today, as I read through many of my friend's blogs, or facebook statuses I was disheartened to see women feeling poorly of their Mother's Day.  It saddens me to think that anyone allows another to steal their joy of motherhood.  It is unthinkable, that any mother should feel unloved, or underappreciated on Mother's Day.  One must take charge of their day, and choose for it to be meaningful.  We do not need to be honored by honor ourselves and who we are.


This Mother's Day, I spent it much like the past five.  I purposfully concentrated on the blessings of motherhood, and cherished special moments with Sugar Bear.  I used my day to slow down, and honor the great blessing it is to be a mother.  It is true that I feel so very blessed everyday, but what better of a day than Mother's Day to acknowledge how lucky I am.  What more perfect opportunity than Mother's Day to look into these eyes.....


and say, "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be YOUR mom!"


20 Live It or Love It:

Lisa said...

Receiving a gift could never measure up to my three "gifts" that I have been given.

I am blessed!

Janet said...

Oh what a beautiful blog today - and so very, very true. Thank you for bringing it into persepctive!

Irene said...

You know, my own mom actually gets mad about this holiday. Not because she demands more STUFF, but because she believes that EVERY SINGLE day is mother's and father's day. She always quotes the Ten Commandments to remind me "Honor your mother and father".

So, we never made a big deal about either holiday. Sometimes we have a little get together but the day is rarely about gifts and STUFF. But the day is really just an excuse for another big family dinner, of which we have many MANY throughout the year.

Great post! You are so right - I have read about so many disappointed moms these last couple days, thanks to our wonderful STUFF obsessed society!

Have a great day!!!!

Irene said...

Oh, I should add, I didn't get any stuff either. Christina made me a bunch of adorable things at school. My husband and the kids got a card. And I was perfectly happy. Lots of hugs and kisses and "I love you so much" is all any mom should ever want for Mother's Day.

Mary Ellen said...

Awesome post Corey!

tommie said...

I firmly believe very much what you are writing. Love the close up shots of SB.

Happy mother's day!

Karen said...

Great minds, and all that... :) Wonderful post, Corey!

JC said...

Just tell folks your gift is priceless... a Sugar Bear.

Great shots!

Autumn said...

I agree wholeheartedly!
My hubby was gone all weekend. Doing what he loves, racing his car. Some people thought that was a shame, he should be home honoring me, the mother of his child. Bleh... no thanks. I'm not HIS mother. I spent the weekend doing what I love. I spent time with my Bug. We planted our garden together... now THAT was a beautiful gift.

Unknown said...

It's totally all about your expectations. I love this post - and the pictures too!

Lindy said...

nope nothing for me either- I'd rather get nothing on MD and a bunch of daisies on some random Monday!

Jessie said...

Life is good! This is a wonderful post - my kids are still too young to really know Mother's Day so I don't expect much other than maybe a quiet shower :) Take care - beautiful shots of your daughter btw!

Tanya said...

Corey you know this post touched me. Thank you so much for your comment on my last have NO idea how you have opened my heart, and my eyes! After I read it I just sat back and said..Wow.

So thank you for caring enough to share that with me!

AnnD said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I believe I only got one thing for Mother's Day from my hubby...a stone birdbath for our yard. I didn't want anything this year...I wanted a healthy 12 week old fetus and that is what I got! Another holiday I can't stand and refuse to partake in is Valentine's Day...they are all Hallmark-created to me. I spent my Mother's Day watching Emma play in the front yard and being grateful that I have her to watch play.

Holly said...

Your photos are beautiful -- and so are your sentiments and philosophy about Mother's Day and the overcommercialization of holidays.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you! The best part of Mother's Day or any day for that matter, is the time I get so spend with my Sweet Bean. There's no gift that is better than that.

Christina said...

Wise words from you, Corey - not that it's any surprise!

:) said...

Corey, I had to respond to your post because I didn't get any material gifts for my Mother's Day either. But I got a couple of handmade from my princess (which I LOVE) and another one where all the kids wrote their own little messages to me. Those mean so much more to me than a gift because in all honesty I can buy myself just about whatever I want but those words and cards and memories cannot be bought. You are not crazy..there are moms like you out there...I am one of them.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Corey - I'm pretty sure that we are not FB friends yet your comment about "statuses" hit me hard. Mine read "Other than the photo excursion I'm pretty sure last year's Mother's Day was waaayyyyy better!"

The photo excursion was with my sis and Mom and was our "gift" to her (and it was a great as we had hoped, she loved it and we had fun despite the frigid May weather!) But the rest of the day was this huge overdone affair at my inlaws and Nate was sick and very cranky. He was overwhelmed by all the new people and was acting out because of it all. So how did I feel all day? Embarrassed, awkward and judged. I felt like Dale and I were totally being watched as we attempted to parent (after a there week separation for work) in a difficult situation. The whole thing was no fun at all. Although I know our Mothers were happy to be with us on Mother's Day because they usually are so far away, but there were just too many expectations from everyone - including me. I didn't want stuff, but I did want some down time.

Next year, maybe you should post your Mother's Day wisdom in ADVANCE, so we'll all be reminded to grow up and get over it ahead of time :-)

Great post Corey - as always! Oh - and aren't those Tuffo rainsuits fabulous? Nate's is getting lots of wear this spring!!

Autumn said...

Just wanted to go back a whole year to read this. It's as wonderful as the first time I read it. You are an amazing mother and friend, thank you for putting into words what I'm feeling today. :) Hugs!

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