No, Mother’s Day Isn’t About Your Kids

mom and son climbing a rock

Has something changed and no one told me, because I’m pretty sure Mother’s Day is about celebrating mothers? It’s a day where you tell that woman who raised you (or who is currently raising your kids) how much you love and appreciate them. This can be done with gifts — large, small, and handmade are all acceptable — going out to eat and, my personal favorite, alone time. Last year I saw some wars on Mommy Facebook pages that really made me question the state of modern motherhood.

It all started when someone vented that their spouse didn’t acknowledge the holiday with a gift as she felt he should. Regardless of whether this sentiment is on point or not is not the issue; how you celebrate any holiday is really only up for discussion between you and the people you celebrate it with. However, mama clearly needed to vent and a mommy group seems like the best place to have your feelings validated by other moms, right? Wrong.

All the judge-y McJudgersons started to weigh in with their two cents and it happened fast. Comments were flying left and right from moms who thought she was the most horrible person on the planet. Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate your kids! Be grateful for them! They all said, They made you a mother!

Excuse me, but no.

Let’s get something straight upfront: my kids didn’t make me a mother, my husband and I did. They had no say in the arrangement, and if anything, their reluctance to make the journey through the birthing canal made becoming a mother a difficult process. Furthermore, I’m not a mother because I have the ability to reproduce.

All other days of the year are about the kids in one form or another. You celebrate their good grades with a trip out for ice cream, you spend every last penny on Christmas gifts, you work those extra hours at night so they can do basketball camp. You don’t complain, because that’s what being a mom is all about and you adore your kids beyond measure, even when they’re little assholes. So honestly, what’s selfish about assuming that your family think about you on Mother’s Day?

Whether you have all your own biological kids, foster, adopt, or any other possible arrangement where you are in charge of caring for and nurturing children, you’re a mom and your contribution matters. It’s ok to want to feel appreciated for that contribution. All this thanking our kids for existing on the holiday meant to celebrate moms bullshit needs to stop.

Just because I’m not gushing over my kids on Mother’s Day doesn’t mean I’m not grateful or that I don’t love and appreciate them. Those loud, whiny, boogery little beasts are my world. They’re also smart, funny, and kind, and you know why? Because of their mom. (Dad too, but this post isn’t about Father’s Day).

How you, your partner, your parents, your kids, and anyone else involved choose to mark this holiday is completely at your own discretion, but to say that a day dedicated to mothers is all about appreciating their kids is ludacris. Mama, don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve to be celebrated — you do — and Mother’s Day is about you.

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16 Comments

  1. Kristen says:

    This is beautiful thank you so much. For me as a step momma anyone who is a momma whether they actually gave birth or not has a right to celebrate. Not only that but in whatever way they please. Your birthday isn’t about anyone but you so why should Mother’s Day be any different. It’s a day for momma’s of all shapes and sizes, to be thanked and celebrated for their hard work. Well said momma, and happy early Mother’s Day to you!

  2. Karen Scott says:

    My Ex (and I emphasis EX) husband used to tell me that for Mother’s day I should be with my kids so he would take his news papers and go to the bar for the afternoon so I could be alone with the kids. He would then tell me that Father’s day should be for him so he would take his newspapers and go to the bar for the afternoon and leave me alone with the kids. Once my children forgot about Mothers Day. No they weren’t small little kiddies, they were grown near adult children. Their Stepdad used to always remind them that Mothers day was coming but one year he stopped because he figured they were old enough to remember. They were both working and becoming responsible adults. Well, they forgot. Mothers Day came, my son noticed a gift bag on the kitchen table and asked what it was. I said – It was a gift from Brian (my husband). My son just stood there and said oops. My daughter also forgot. They both stood there with wide eyes, not knowing what to do. I did what a mother would do – I waved it off and said it is okay. It didn’t bother me but I can’t tell you the hurt I felt. It wasn’t the fact I wanted gifts, or anything like that – it was the fact that I do and have done so much for them over the years. I have gone without, I have been there for them so many times I cant’ even count and I never wanted anything in return. I was upset because on one single day of the year, they couldn’t even remember a way to say Thank you Mom. To me that is what Mother’s day is all about – a way to say Thank you to Mom, show her she is appreciated. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift – just show her that she counts and that she is someone special.

  3. Tanya says:

    “Their reluctance to make the journey through the birthing canal”… absolutely LOVE this! Every mother will certainly relate. Glad someone said what a lot of people think 🙂

    1. Shauna Armitage says:

      I was honestly shocked at how much shit this poor woman was getting for wanting to be appreciated on Mother’s Day!

  4. Emma says:

    I’m not a mom and never want to be, but I see enough from my sister’s family to understand from a distance that motherhood (and fatherhood) is tough. I also remember what it was like for my own parents to have to sacrifice their own wants and needs to make sure we were fed and clothed and reasonably happy. Parenting is a full time job, just as you say, so I don’t understand why those people have such a problem with a mother taking one day of the year for herself. (I’m assuming these would be the same people to cry “for shame!” if a woman didn’t celebrate her husband on Father’s Day but that’s (probably) a whole different issue.)

    I wonder if this new attitude towards Mother’s Day is one of the reasons kids, in general, are so ungrateful these days. These women are so busy celebrating and being grateful for their children that they forget to teach said children how to be grateful in return.

    1. Shauna Armitage says:

      That’s a GREAT POINT. We’re “bad” parents if our lives don’t revolve around our children’s every little want or need. No wonder we’re raising a generation of assholes.

      1. Emma says:

        I obviously haven’t suffered it myself, but my sister speaks fairly often about having people judge her. I remember once in particular, my 6-year-old nephew was in trouble and sent to the naughty corner where he started crying about how his mummy and daddy didn’t love him anymore. We all understood it was total nonsense, something he’d picked up at school as a means of emotional manipulation, but my sister was mortified at the thought that we might believe him! So families are scoffed at for letting their children make too much noise in a supermarket, but on the other hand you’ve got people defending parents who allow their children to get away with blue murder. I honestly don’t envy anyone with kids because it’s not just a tough job in and of itself, you also seem to have to defend your every decision to relatives, friends, and complete strangers.

        In this case, if those mothers want to spend Mother’s Day doing the same thing they do every day, I won’t judge them for it. (Well, maybe a little bit. I wish now that I’d made a much bigger fuss over my parents when I was a kid.) But likewise, they have no business screaming at people on Facebook because they choose to celebrate being a mom/dad instead!

        1. Shauna Armitage says:

          It’s scary how the basic judging has moved toward adults calling out other adults, reporting them to social services, etc. for making different parenting choices. At the end of the day, I think everyone needs to be worrying about how they raise their own kids and back off.

        2. Robbie says:

          I once witnessed a child start screaming “child abuse, child abuse” in a grocery store because his mother was holding his arm (he kept trying to run out the door while she was checking out). I could tell at a glance that she wasn’t hurting him and the kid was being melodramatic, probably learned it from TV, but the guy behind me started talking about calling the cops! I told him to calm down and look at the way she was holding the child. The elastic on my socks makes more of a dent in my skin than her fingers were making on that kid’s arm. The kid was fine, the mother was in the right (although that particular child made me rethink my stance on those child leash thingies) and the thought that someone was actually thinking of calling the authorities because some kid was parroting something he heard somewhere and probably didn’t fully understand was absurd.

  5. Shannon says:

    The world has changed. I swear we should rename gen x to generation servitude. We served our parents mowing lawns and the like only to have kids to serve them because we would never ask them to mow lawns… since divorce ran rampant for us as kids many of us now get to serve our parents extra early as well cause they are not somewhere taking care of each other and many cannot really afford their retirement. Gen. Servitude fits

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