07 May 2010

Judgment, I mean, Mother's Day

I had this whole long post written out and it was all about politics. Then I decided to deep-six it, because it raised my blood pressure. And I don't want to raise my blood pressure, on Friday, especially the Friday before Mother's Day.

Ahh, Mother's Day.

This day, all by itself, manages to stir some debate, by its very existence.

The first thing I want to say is, I'm giving a big shout-out to all my favorite moms. Grandmas, aunts who act like moms, adoptive moms, sisters who act like moms, stepmoms, mothers-in-law, grandmas raising their grandchildren, step-mothers-in-law...all of us who love and care for the children in our lives, big or small, deserve a great big high five. You also deserve a weekend trip to Vegas but I'm working with what I've got here.

I've read some blog postings and online debates this week about Mother's Day, and it surprises me the things people will argue over and judge others on. One blog posed the seemingly harmless question, "What is the worst Mother's Day gift you ever got?," which led to moms judging each other for "making it all about the gifts." And the implicit judgment in "the only thing that is important to me on Mother's Day is spending time with my family," as if someone who admitted having gotten a gift they didn't like was a bad person. And my personal favorite, "Moms, don't be sucked into the commercial consumerism! Mother's Day isn't about the presents!" All these moms wanted to do was gripe and kvetch a little bit, and they got verbally smacked. If we can't gripe to our people, ie, other moms who've been there, I ask you, who can we gripe to?

Of course Mother's Day isn't about the gifts. No one ever said it was.

But come on. Moms work hard, all the time. Day and night. Whether your work takes you outside of your home or not, whether you have one child or ten, we all work hard to take care of our families. It's nice when someone says, "Thanks Mom," or "Thanks for all you do, honey." And because husbands, ie, men, are not generally known (sorry guys! I know some of you are good at this!) for their ability to articulate their appreciation with pretty words, they do it in the form of gifts, or flowers, or chocolate.

My husband is good at gifts; I'll give credit where it's due. He's also teaching the dudes about the value of a thoughtful gift. Not a crazy expensive gift, not a shiny, wrapped-up-in-a-blue-Tiffany-box kind of gift, not even something that necessarily comes from a store or a salon, but something that the recipient would truly like. For example, Larry, my middle-born man-cub, is not overly affectionate or given to vocal expressions of love. He'd rather just give me a noogie and call it a day. So it really means something when he says "I love you Mom," without me saying it first. It means something that he takes time out of his busy day of Pokemon cards and football to make a card. My oldest (who is not technically mine since I didn't give birth to him but I claim him just the same) is an adult, a married man and an Army officer stationed half the world away. But he still sends a card and calls to say "I love you." And that means the world to me too. Captain America has taught them that.

Sometimes, dads don't choose so wisely. Or they buy something they themselves would like to have, but then pass it off as a gift for their wives. (and you know who you are!) And heaven forbid that a mom actually looks forward to a little appreciation or acknowledgment! Don't we all want to be appreciated? Is that so awful? Can we not see past the actual object to see the gesture, and the feeling behind it?

You don't see dads picking on each other because they look forward to getting some new grill tools, or a new lens for their camera, or some shiny new chrome for their motorcycles when Father's Day rolls around. Let's go easy on each other, moms, aren't we supposed to be on the same side? Aren't we supposed to have each others' backs? I don't know about you, but I depend on my girlfriends, who are moms and sometimes the moms of my kids' friends. I NEED them! All of their views and opinions and feelings and choices are not the same as mine. That's WHY I love them and need them!

And one more thing....a divine shout-out to my own mom, who is no longer with us, but who I love and miss every day. You may not have been here in my life for very long physically, but who you are is who I am. And they say I look like you too. Love you Mama.


Lynn said...

It's not about the gifts? What? I spend a crazy amount of time with my family all the time, so for Mothers' Day I want gifts and time by myself. I have no idea why Moms should feel guilty about this. I got pearls this year! (We celebrated early b/c Shad is on a canoe trip this weekend.) I feel so special and loved when I wear them.

Happy Mothers' Day to you and hope you get some good gifts!

Marianne Thomas said...

Nothing wrong with gifts. ;-)

And you're right; it's the meaning behind the gift, the thoughfulness of the gesture that means the most. Because that speaks to the depth of the relationship.

I hope I didn't sound like I was gift bashing in my earlier post this week. ;-) I'm just not a stuff person -- but that's just me.

And I'm with Lynn - a day ALONE would be gift enough for me. Alone and not in my house where a hundred unfinished tasks are forever shouting at me.

Happy Mom's day!

Some Suburban Mom said...

Oh gosh, no, Marianne! The one I'm thinking of in particular is MomLogic.com. I really like that one, and there are normally some good posts, and discussions on a wide variety of topics. That one just turned kind of ugly, and it got me to thinking how sometimes, we can be so mean to each other. Ya know?
I hope you guys had a fantastic Mother's Day!!