The Problem with Mother’s Day

May 11, 2014 / by / 15 Comments

My mother is an incredible human being.

As a single mother, my mom has been the maid, primary financial provider, chef, therapist, dietician, coach, negotiator, nurse, consultant, and friend for three difficult children – including (especially) myself. She has sacrificed her time, health, and happiness to take care of myself and my three sisters. That is not to devalue anything she (and all mothers) have gained from being a mom; However, it is impossible to believe that a woman of such character, intelligence, and potential wouldn’t have been able to do more without three runts tugging at her ankles. She has given the last 22 years of her life to raising her children – and for that she gets one day a year.

Started in 1908 by Anna Jarvis, and officially recognized as a national holiday in 1914, Mother’s Day began as a simple holiday meant to honor the work and love we receive from mothers every single day. Quickly, it spiraled into another commercial spectacle. In fact, Jarvis herself decried candy shop owners and card makers as “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations,” and soon began pushing for the abolishment of Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

If Jarvis was alive today, she’d likely be even more enraged.  The National Retail Federation projects $20 billion will be spent on Mother’s Day this year. With all of this money flowing and advertisements pushing candy, flowers, spa treatments, and all sorts of other special Mother’s Day packages, the holiday has become an exercise in finding the “perfect gift” to show your appreciation for the mom’s in your life. However, in putting all of this emphasis on gifts for this one day, it seems that we’re losing sight of the point of the holiday: to appreciate these amazing women we call our “mom.”

I spent the last couple weeks searching the Internet for the one item that would show my mom how much I appreciate her. I looked at flower delivery services, edible arrangements, table arrangements, decorative knick-knacks – everything. I spent hours thinking of the best way to represent how much I appreciate my mom, when I could’ve been doing what she would’ve preferred: simply letting her know.

For whatever stupid reason, Mother’s Day makes me forget how to be grateful. I become so wrapped up in the meaning of this one day that I forget that I should be expressing my gratitude everyday, the way my mom has been there for me everyday. I think some item can somehow stand in for my eternal gratitude for my mom’s love and constant support. I forget how to say thank you – and I’m probably not the only one.

This Mother’s Day, go out and treat your mom. Take her to dinner, give her cards, buy her candy. But after today, don’t forget to see every day for the rest of this year as another occasion to show your mother, or your wife, or any mom’s in your life how grateful you are for their presence and love. They are moms every single day of the year, so don’t save your appreciation for just one day.

And mom, thank you so much for everything you’ve given to me. Words cannot express how much you mean to me, but hopefully his is a start.