Sunday, May 08, 2011

Oh the Ambivalence of Mother's Day

We just can't seem to get Mother's Day right. Or, rather, I can't seem to get Mother's Day right.

We had a fine Mother's Day. Really. We have a family project going on that I'm really quite excited about and the day itself was fine. Truly! We had casual dinner out -- and then I started to loose my shit.

I'm overwhelmed by house management. I've never been a very been a fabulous housekeeper, though I manage okay. But as the kids have gotten older, staying on top of all of it has gotten harder and harder. Tonight, trying to get the kids into bed, I blew up a bit, so pushed to the limit was I by some of this house and stuff management. 60% of the family ended up in tears. I'm not proud of this moment. I've already made my apologies. But it happened.

But why did it happen today? And not yesterday? Or tomorrow? Or Thursday? Why today?

All day I've been avioding the news media and even Facebook to a certain extent. All the posts by my friends and acquaintances about how much they love their moms and she's their best friend and all the gushing? Well, I kinda don't get it. Mom and I aren't close (I, uh, may have mentioned that here before), and even though I love her, there's a distinct distance, on both our parts. And then I feel guilty thinking that because I do know I'm lucky that my mom is still here with us. My husband lost his mother almost 23 years ago, and would love to have her healthy and available and part of our lives. Ditto with other friends.

The posts gushing about kids I get, but I wouldn't necessarily do something like that myself, especially on Mother's Day. Because I feel like such a screw up as a mom. I know my kids deserve so much better, and making such a grand statement on such a day feels weird. I think I feel like if I did that, it would be so laughed at. Like others would say, "What a joke! Her! Trying to claim some credibilty!"

The build up to this day by advertisers has become just unreal. It's like three weeks of in my face of how I don't have a Hallmark relationship with the one who gave me birth. I don't begrudge all of you who do. I don't! But could we all just step it down a couple notches? Please? And it's giving my kids this ridiculous idea that they have to go over the top for it to be a "good" Mother's Day. Mother's Day or not there are still dishes to be done, laundry to fold, floors to sweep -- and teenage boys who strew their socks all over the house, pre-teen boys who argue at the drop of a hat and tease their little sisters, and seven year old girls who don't want to eat their dinners but still want ice cream and dissolve into serious tears if she can't find a specific stuffed toy among the gazillion in her room.

My mom happened to call earlier this week. I swear here voice was overly perky, like she had to psyche herself up to call me. She called to tell me she'd been to a performance by the local ballet company (I'd given her a gift certificate for her birthday). She had a nice time, which was nice to hear. She also talked about she might finally have convinved my cousin and her family to come visit her, as she's been asking them to come out for years (her emphasis, not mine) and how said cousin's daughter loves to hear about the local sites. You know how often my mother has expressed a desire for me and/or my family come visit? Zero.

So, yeah, I have some ambivalence about this day. Which makes it a little more understandable why I lost my shit today instead of yesterday or tomorrow. I still wish it hadn't happened.

Bad mommy.


Anonymous said...

Sorry your end of MD was crappy. I have a lot of ambivilance about the holiday too since I don't have a living mother to celebrate. I tend to make the day about ME not about celebrating mothers or me or whatever. I take the kids to a movie, don't cook, don't feel guilty about not cleaning, etc. For you, I would add not feeling guilty about YOUR FEELINGS to the to do list. And be gentle with yourself since you know it's a hard day for you. Find what you can in it to celebrate. HUGS. PS - I think you're a pretty great mother.

Kanga Jen said...

I just posted a LONG comment and think it was lost due to a "I can't remember my password" error. Let's see if this makes it before I attempt to recreate my tome. :-(