Friday, May 11, 2007

How I Survive Mother's Day

I am the proud survivor of 22 Mother's Days as an LDS mother, and they haven't all been easy! Today's the day I share some of my survival tips with all of you.

1. Learn that Mother's Day is not about you. I'm not sure exactly what Mother's Day is all about. But once I learned it wasn't about making me happy, I enjoyed it so much more. The disappointment was gone and I could flow with whatever happened (or didn't happen!)

2. Help your family succeed. The husband and the children may have difficulty making this day a success on their own, as mine do. The younger children often become disappointed when they are caught without anything to give. By all means, go out and buy yourself some lovely things to give to your husband to pass out to the children.

3. Forgive your mother, just for this one day. My mother and I had issues all of my life. One year, as I was reading "Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood," I had an epiphany. My mother had done the best she could. She wasn't actually trying to hurt me or be a horrible mother. She had done what she was capable of.

4. Celebrate your mother, grandmother, and other mother figures that you know. Do something special and meaningful for them. Try sending anonymous gifts to the elderly or shut-ins. Little gestures are best. Don't put too much time or money into this. Make it fun for yourself. If it's not fun, don't do it.

5. Don't make Church too personal. Be detached. Think: "That was probably a comforting talk for Sister Jones to hear." Think: "Brother Fry's talk really honored his mother. How nice that he remembers his childhood fondly." If someone wants to give you a flower, take the flower. If they don't give you a flower, let it pass. Just let this be one of those screwy Sundays that happen sometimes.

6. Do the planning yourself. Announce ahead of time: "For Mother's Day, we are all going on a picnic!" or, "Let's go to that new Italian restaurant." or, "After Church I'm going to spend three hours by myself in my room reading." Then thank everyone profusely for giving you the kind of Mother's Day you wanted.

7. Grieve for your deceased mother. After my husband's parents died, he felt like an orphan, even though he was in his 40's. Mother's Day is a sad time for him. It helps when I encourage him to tell the children stories of his mother. He enjoys remembering her in this way. Others might visit the cemetery with flowers, light candles in front of her picture, or write memorial poetry and thoughts.

8. Ignore the day. Some women, for a variety of reasons, may find Mother's Day excruciatingly painful. If you are having a hard year, don't feel obliged to be a part of the holiday. Skip Church, head out into nature, go to a movie. Extend an invitation to some friends who don't have children to come over for dinner and game night.

9. Don't succumb to the commercialization of Mother's Day. Make your cards. If you don't have much money, don't send expensive floral arrangements! Instead, make phone calls, send free e-cards, or make a personal visit.

10. Enjoy whatever you are given. Most mothers are wonderful at this. We love flowers in plastic cups, homemade cards, gifts that are too expensive, things that we don't need or want. One year a friend received the gift of a plunger and toilet bowl cleaning set from her husband. She received it graciously and saved her laughter and groans for her best friends the next day. We have laughed hilariously about this gift so many times over the years!

Please add any of your Mother's Day survival tips if you feel so inclined. Happy Mother's Day to all my blog friends!

To DD:
Virtual rosepetals in your freshly caulked bathtub from me to you--to celebrate your womanhood!


jana said...

A great list! Mother's Day always has a way of making me feel uncomfortable. Though I love being my kids' mother, overt displays of affection in conjunction with the commericalization of he holiday just aren't very satisfying.

Let me also add how much I enjoyed the youtube vid in your sidebar! WOW! That kid has quite a Mom. :)

DD said...

I'm skipping church today. My non-member husband has disassembled the car in the garage making it slightly inconvenient for me to get to church, so that paired with the mother's day theme of the day and I'm staying home to re-caulk the bathtub.

My old ward had the tradition of having the mother's stand up after sacrament and the young men pass out potted flowers. Usually they would say 'all women' should stand, but sometimes the announcer would forget and just say mothers. Very awkward.

On a more positive note, in a former singles ward, my home teacher had a tradition of bringing all the girls he home taught(usually 8 or so), a rose on Mother's day to celebrate us as women. I imagine he still does this today and wish I knew where he was so I could thank him.

knitkumpoop said...

I enjoyed this post. Thanks for the tips and wisdom.

DD said...

Wow. I came back to the post today after hearing one of my best friends who is not married and feels her opportunity to have children slipping away had a particularly rough mother's day. I was reviewing to post to see if I should send it to her and noticed something different at the bottom.

Thanks so much for the added pictures and note!

Janet said...

Thanks for this, BIV. I skipped a few Mother's Day services in church because I tired of everyone tripping over themselves trying not to offend infertile me. It was more painful to watch them feeling guilty about having a day to celebrate their maternity than it was to realize I had none to celebrate. Thus, I add the following: if you're a mom, ditch the mom-guilt for the day and simply enjoy the good things about your life. Your friends won't resent you for it :).