Why I believe in Mother’s Day

I was thinking today about the commercialization of the so-called Hallmark Holidays while I was washing the post-biking mud off me in the shower. I’ve gone through my phases of thinking that these holidays – like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Administrative Professionals day, and so on – are just scams to make people feel guilty and spend money on someone.

The conclusion that I came to is that, for the overwhelming majority it seems, the people in question being appreciated on these days are often painfully taken for granted. We care for our mothers, but do we go out of our way on a regular basis to make them feel special or appreciated? The majority does not. Same with husbands and wives – after a while, some couples still make efforts to show each other that they care, but many fall into the trap of complacency. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way things go when you get used to seeing someone, or when you begin to expect certain things from a relationship. It is by no means bad to expect your mother to take care of you when you’re sick, for example – that is what mothers do, and they do it because they care. As an Administrative Professional, I can tell you first hand that people forget everything you do for a place, and you are often under appreciated. When I got tulips and a chocolate bar and a card with reasons why people at work think I’m awesome, it actually made my day.

The commercialization of these appreciation-based holidays is unfortunate, I suppose – although not surprising, since an industry will arise to fill any kind of consumer void. The existance of the days themselves is not at fault. To reject the holiday itself based on the commercialization of it is as bad as going overboard with said commercialization. Take the day and make it your own – if it’s mother’s day, do something nice for your mother because you really do appreciate her. At the very least, say to her that you appreciate her. If you don’t agree with having to do it on Mother’s day, that’s fine too. You can always choose another day and do something then, but either way remember that the spirit of the holiday is what matters. You can have mother’s day, valentine’s day, whatever day you like without buying into the commercialization of it.

Unexpected appreciation days, naturally, have a lot more impact than doing something on a pre-ordained day. Many of us just don’t think of it or don’t have time. A little reminder is not a bad thing.

Appreciate your mother while you have her around, if you truly do feel some appreciation for her. Same goes for your father, your admin assistant, your sweetheart. No one likes to be taken for granted – a reminder that you are aware of everything someone does for you can only make someone happy. A denial of such appreciation simply because you hate the commercialization is unnecessary.

10 Comments

  • spadoink

    May 15, 2006 at 6:14 am

    does the fact (and i think this is true) that mother’s day was created by the companies wanting to commercialize it rather than them raising to fill a void change your sentiment in any way?

    i’m way to lazy to look it up, i just remember that it was the greeting card lobby that created a need for something called ‘mother’s day’

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      May 15, 2006 at 2:44 pm

      I don’t think the spirit of the creation of the day overshadows how you as an individual may use it.

      I still celebrate Christmas because I like to give gifts and spend time with family and enjoy big turkey dinners. I am in no way, shape, or form a Christian who wishes to celebrate the birth of a saviour.

  • mtbandit

    May 15, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    My grandmother’s opinion was that “every day is Mother’s Day.” If you can’t be nice the rest of the year, on day won’t make up for it. This is an attitude that filtered down to her daughters. My cousin was just telling me today that my aunt was adamant in her refusal to recognize Mother’s Day. My mother won’t recognize it iehter, but she was more tolerant of the mother’s day cards and gifts we were forced to make at school. It was nothing to do with the commercialization, it was just that she thought it was an unnecessary “holiday”.

    Every year, just for fun, I call my mom to wish her happy mother’s day and she reminds me that she doesn’t “do” mother’s day. To which I reply “I know”. Besides, her birthday is just a week later.

    My mother in law, on the other hand, holds the opposite view. If you can’t be nice the rest of the year, she says, then you DAMN well better be nice on Mothers Day.

    Both POVs are valid. But I do enjoy the look of horor when I tell people that I’m not doing anything for my mother on Mothers Day.

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      May 15, 2006 at 6:12 pm

      It is good to be nice the rest of the year. The problem is a lot of people simply aren’t and need the prodding. I don’t really do mother’s day (no gifts or flowers or whatnot, although I did hand my mom one of the prints I had made of my photos a few weeks ago.) I just think that if people need reminding, then it can’t hurt to remind them. Being taken for granted really sucks.

      I’m still not acknowledging father’s day when it comes to my blood relatives, however. But that’s my personal choice – I don’t acknowledge my father, so why should I acknowledge the day?

  • Anonymous

    May 15, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    I really appreciate your thoughtful musings on Mother’s Day.Growing up, I was never aware that it was or was not created commercially. I only remember how my father made it such a special time for us all in his creative way.Cards and flowers were not a memorable part of the day.I don’t even remember them.Being together WAS.I remember breakfasts in bed for my mom,prepared together, barbecues, drives in the country and a sense of family that remains as the happy “ΓΌs” times that I wanted to recreate in my own family.Father’s day naturally was the same.When I had my own young family I tried to find every occasion I could to celebrate in new and memorable ways.Yes..It would be better if we needed no reminders to appreciate each other, but in this world, I do not see the harm as long as we use the time in the spirit it is intended.It is not gifts and cards that make the difference. In fact, such things given obviously out of guilt or rote can make the receiver feel like a burden rather than appreciated.
    Sunday is the day people tend to spend together as family. It is not a commercial creation, yet it serves a similar purpose.Yes..Your mom needs to feel appreciated, Yes..she may feel bad if everyone around is with their family and she doesn’t speak to hers on that day..even if she knows she is appreciated.Being a mom is usually a lifetime condition of love and concern for one’s children, not always a freeing one.Knowing you are honestly acknowledged during one spontaneous or sincerely given moment… for everything that means,makes all the difference.

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      May 15, 2006 at 9:47 pm

      πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting… it’s nice to know that my ramblings are read, and that people don’t think I’m crazy.

  • bgrice

    May 15, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    An interesting post, thanks for putting it up. I don’t agree, but I understand where you are coming from.

    I hope that sometime in the next couple of years I will be a dad. I know that I want my kids to appreciate me, and that I will want to feel that appreciation. However, if the only time they show that appreciation for me is on Father’s Day, then I think that I will feel worse, not better. If my kids only offer me appreciation on the day Hallmark says they have to, then that will sour the experiance for me.

    If they show me appreciation all the time, however, then I feel no need to force them to go to any lengths on a commercially created day to show me extra appreciation.

    I feel the same way about Valentine’s day, and so does Shar. The only way I could ever see us doing something on Valentines day together would be if it fell on one our weekly date nights.

    Of course, my opinion of this doesn’t change what others expect. My Mother-in-law is not given to a great deal of naval gazing, and she is perfectly willing to wallow in a commercially manadated appreciation fest. And we give her one (if sometimes late).

    And perhaps that is the point that I have never considered before. Maybe what I think about such holidays (including Christmas, which I hate) is less relevant than what the people who are being cellebrated think of the holiday.

    Hrmph.

    Thanks for the unexpected Insight! πŸ™‚

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      May 16, 2006 at 12:00 am

      Any time πŸ™‚

      We haven’t really ever done anything for valentine’s day either, Adam and I. Then again, we show appreciation for each other in many different ways at random intervals, so that’s all right with us.

      As for kids showing appreciation: they won’t all the time. They won’t when they’re little unless someone tells them to – kids are self-centred, because that’s how their world works… I can’t blame them for it, for the first two years of their lives they really ARE the centre of the universe in their own eyes. They won’t when they’re teenagers, generally, because teenagers are not inclined to be respectful all the time, and they also are very self-centred. They might when they’re adults, but it may take some kind of revelation – I know plenty of adults that take their parents for granted still, sadly. One could say this post was inspired by a few of them.

      I adored my mom when I was a kid, but did I tell her I appreciated her? Hell no. I made her stuff in school when we were told to make our parents stuff – and I was sincere when I did it, but I didn’t make her stuff because I wanted to. My stepdad never made us do anything for mother’s day (then again, he was a self-centred bipolar guy much of the time, and thus didn’t think much further than beyond himself the way I perceived things.) I didn’t really appreciate my mom until I was an adult. Kids appreciate nothing, even the appreciative ones. Being a parent is pretty thankless, really, as far as I’ve seen… not that I know yet.

      I can tell you that Dayle certainly doesn’t appreciate a thing. That Bastard.