Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ruminating on Mother's Day

It turns out that I had a very nice Mother's Day. But early on, the day seemed fraught.  As this art journal page says, I felt somewhat mired in "the web of motherhood." It seems that there are so many expectations about being a mother and the perfect Mother's Day. By the time I was up and drinking coffee, many of my friends had already posted on facebook about the wonderful gifts they had received and the plans they had for the day. I knew my day would be different.
 My children are just not the flowers and gifts kind of kids. Do I miss that? Yes, if I'm being honest, I do a little. But I didn't want to go into the day being disappointed from the get-go.  I wanted to be positive and celebrate whatever moments of joy the day brought my way.
And it was a good day.  The kids cleaned my car - washed the outside and detailed the inside (this is what I ask them for each year). And they spent time hanging out with me - enjoying each other's company without running to a  game or having to nag/be nagged about their homework.  It was sooo nice. (Each year I also ask each of the kids to let me take a nice portrait of them. We didn't get to it today, but they each assured me we could do it another day.)  And I got to play at my art desk. And not do laundry (okay, just one load). And eat and drink whatever I wanted. Nachos and Mike's Hard Lemonade for lunch; take out Italian and white wine for dinner served me just as well as getting dressed up and going out to brunch!  Yes, it was a good Mother's Day.  Because it was my Mother's Day.
The United States magazine, Time, recently published a cover story about "attachment parenting" with this controversial cover photo:
The title of the article is "Are you Mom enough?"  The best commentary I have read on the cover is by Lisa Belkin of the Huffington Post and can be found at this link.  It says simply that women should not take the bait of arguing for or against "attachment parenting" but rather we should recognize that "Breastfeeding is not a macho test of motherhood, with the winner being the one who nurses the longest. In fact there ARE no macho tests of motherhood. Motherhood is -- should be -- a village, where we explore each other's choices, learn from them, respect them, and then go off and make our own." 
Today, I feel the same way about Mother's Day.  What about you? Do you find yourself getting caught up in trying to create someone else's version of Mother's Day? Or do you simply celebrate your own?

17 comments:

Amy said...

I have enjoyed your post today Rinda and the article was very interesting, I quite agree with her. I decided against a Mother's Day post on my own blog for so many of the reasons you have outlined today - in many ways I feel uncomfortable writing about our traditions, and I use that term very loosely because I would say we don't have traditons as far as Mother's Day and Father's Day are concerned.

My own children are of an age where they very willingly create handmade gifts, that are usually prompted from school or pre-school, but there is no expectation on my behalf for any great effort.

It is enough to be together and happy. For the first time in twenty years, due to geographical distances, I spent part of the day with my own mother. The reality is, it is always good to spend the time with my Mum, that it was on this particular Sunday makes no difference to either of us.

Karen said...

Fabulous post today Rinda. I totally agree with you, look and listen to what others do, take away what suits you and make it your own .

Mary B said...

I'm glad you had a good day Rinda, I sometimes find myself getting hung up on someone else's life and then pull myself up and count my blessing and they are many.
As for that picture from the mag it looks grotesque and not healthy at all.

Cheri said...

I had gone into Mother's Day this year with very low expectations - first because the day was being usurped by Sarah's graduation - second because my girls hadn't made an attempt to acknowledge Mother's Day with gifts, cards, etc. in the last several years. I guess setting the bar very low worked, because I was quite pleasantly surprised. We had a wonderful day together as a family. Everyone got along. I was surprised at lunch with a card signed by all 3. And a gift card to Michael's from Sarah. And a gift card for a manicure from Rachel and Becca. Honestly, one happy Mama!

Nordljus said...

Good to hear you had a good day, Rinda. I think it is the same with art (and life in general, really) - don't compare yourself with others, but do your own thing, your style. And the journal page looks fabulous! Lovely blues and texture, and the orange makes a great contrast.

Sian said...

Interesting post! I can remember thinking about this when my children were very little. I think becasue I gave up work to be with them and was with them all day I somehow imagined that on Mother's Day all the responsibilty would lift and I could somehow become just me agin and not a Mum for the day! Of course that didn't happen. As they have grown I have worked to help them understand how important it can be to show appreciation towards the others in the family, so they do like making it a nice day for me even though we always end up spending half of it in the car travelling to visit my own mother!

I'm glad you had a day you enjoyed. Time together is so much more important than a lot of trimmings

debs14 said...

Spending time together can be priceless and mean much more than a gift. My children are polar opposites - my daughter loves to shower you with gifts, arrives with balloons and cards with perfectly chosen words. My son doesn't even always buy a card, but I appreciate just spending time with him because that is the greatest gift that he can give. We rarely spend one to one time together any more so that is priceless to me. We shouldn't try to measure ourselves by others, but enjoy what is right for us personally.

Irene said...

Hi Rinda, Happy Mother's Day. I had my own Mother's Day Brunch at home and invited several family members then went to church with the family. The only thing I regret is that I did not take pictures. It was a blessed day.

nancy y said...

I gave up on the "perfect Mother's Day" long ago. Mother's Day mostly revolved around my MIL (since my Mom lives far away). DH always makes me breakfast though! This year he and my son did most of the planning & cooking of dinner - which like you suits me better than getting dressed up to go out. We had an awesome BBQ rib dinner and my daughter called for a nice long chat. I got my own set of discs for disc golfing... Chris decided that instead of just tagging along on disc golf outings I should learn the sport! So I practiced putting in the backyard!
Glad your day turned out so well Rinda!!

Gloria said...

Hi Rinda. Glad your Mother's Day was good. Sounds like all went well for you and yours. Thanks for sharing.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Sounds like you had a good Mother's Day. I did as well. The boys camped out at a friend's house & DH stayed with them so I got to sleep late with no sounds of boys fighting in the distance. Havoc gave me a flower he planted as part of a school project, Mayhem gave me a construction paper ice cream cone. We had take out for supper because all I asked was that I not have to cook or change out of my pjs.

Carola Bartz said...

Well, we spent Mother's Day ripping out the carpet in the living room of our new house because we want to have hardwood floor in there. Does that say enough? I got dirty, broke a fingernail, hurt my back again - but we did it as a family, were in a good mood and I thought it was one of our best days. I really don't need anybody to tell me how to spend Mother's Day, what is a "good" Mother's Day or not.

And that goes for that Time magazine as well. I admit, I haven't read it, but again, I don't want anybody to tell me what a good mother is or about "attachment parenting" etc. I have my own opinion about that, think some things are crazy that I observe, some are good, and in the end I find my own way that works best for us.

Karen said...

I gave up worrying about motherhood standards years ago. Now that my kids are grown and live far away, Mother's Day is often more about my MIL than me, and that's just fine. This year, howver, I had both kids with me and that was the best present of all. We had a wonderful weekend together. I loved watching Matt get to know his new nephew, and I'm always delighted to see how well my adult children get along since their interests and occupations are so very different. It was a fabulous Mother's Day for me. I'm glad yours was a good one, too.

Ali Manning said...

Great post, Rinda! Mothers Day is not the Hallmark holiday that the stores and TV would have us believe. It can be a sad day for a lot of people - for those who miss their mums because they live far away or are no longer alive, for those who yearn to be mothers but aren't, for those who have a difficult relationship with their mum and on and on. I'm glad you had a good day and did some things you love to do. I spent most of it with my 11 year old hanging. She gave me a handmade gift, picked me lilacs from the garden and made brownies all by herself. Just lovely.

laurie said...

so honest, rinda. i do think we get pushed into believing there is a specific "formula" for a perfect day, when really it is all about the people who are involved and what they want. i'm glad you got to spend time with your children - that's where the magic is.

scrappyjacky said...

An interesting post,Rinda....and spending the day together is probably the best gift of all.

Jimjams said...

What a lovely interesting post Rinda. I think Ali Manning has it right - we shouldn't be trying to aim for a Hallmark hallmark on "our" day. I think women in general beat themselves up about so many things (size, career, housework, cooking, parenting) that it's far better to just do what's best for themselves - happy women make better daughters, mothers, wives ...
Your day sounds perfectly fine to me!
I admit I was disappointed the first year a son was away and didn't bother to send a card (despite reminders from his father), but if I'm anything to go by, my kids will make more of a fuss of their mother again when they're parents themselves!