American culture is funny—always assigning days on the calendar to celebrate special people. What other culture assigns a day just for mom—and for whatever reason, it’s always in the month of May?
Some people may not feel like celebrating Mother’s Day at all. Take for example a friend of mine who has had a strained relationship with his mother for years and today has no contact with his mother at all (she suffers from substance abuse and he finds it is healthier for him to “stay away”). Every year, around this time, he becomes cynical. Just yesterday, he complained about Mother’s Day by saying, “Yep, another day for Hallmark to make money. What’s the point?” He was trying to hide his hurt and disappointment (that I know is there).
More often than not, our ideals of a perfect mom blur with our reality. We grow up realizing that our mothers are far from perfect, or maybe they disappointed us in some way. If you are lucky enough to be “friends” with your mom, then you should be grateful because it’s a real crap shoot. You don’t get to “special order” the woman you will call mom, like you don’t get to pick your other relatives.
When I worked with kids, I was always reminded that Mother’s Day isn’t filled with flowers and bliss for everyone. One year, a child wanted to stay in from recess and appeared depressed. He confided in me, “Yeah, my mom is a drunk and I don’t get to see her. My Nana won’t let me. I hate Mother’s Day and I don’t want to make that stupid Mother’s Day card you said we’d be making this afternoon.” That disclosure came from a third grader who learned way too early in life that people (and life) can disappoint.
For people who are grieving the loss of a beloved mom due to illness, a recent death, or maybe distance that was created by divorce, today may be a day they wish would just hurry up and be over with, already.
And what about the woman who can’t conceive? What is she doing today? Does she take a walk in the park and see other moms, happy, playing with their kids and this makes her feel empty and sad, because today IS a day for mothers (and she's still unable to join the club)?