This Sunday was Mother’s Day. With restaurants still closed (save for takeout), many will have foregone taking mom out for dinner and perhaps, due to COVID-19, fewer people went out and bought presents.
The headlines focussed on how social distancing measures meant that some moms would be missing their usual hugs and kisses. Furthermore, moms with young kids, who would usually be in school or daycare, may well be missing out on handmade arts and crafts destined for the refrigerator. All of that put together may well mean that Mother’s Day felt like a bit of a bust to some this year.
Personally, I bought the mother of my children some flowers while I was grocery shopping and made sure she got a bit of time to herself but didn’t buy a present (not wanting to order something online or make the extra stop).
Mother’s Day being a bit of a bust would probably be totally fine with founder Anna Jarvis (if she were still alive) who grew so disenchanted with the commercialization of the day that she attempted to have Mother’s Day rescinded.
Perhaps one of the strongest signifiers of the commercialization of Mothers Day is that when you check Google images, you’d think you’d searched for “pictures of flowers” instead of anything do with mothers with the results returning very few images of moms.
The other thing about Mother’s Day is that, with it being nationally recognized, participation almost feels obligatory and, consequently, less genuine.
Mothers absolutely deserve more appreciation than we tend to give them from everything that they do for us while we’re growing up to the impact on their bodies to what they often continue to do for us while we’re adults (from giving advice to watching the grandchildren).
There are plenty of articles out there advocating for every day to be Mother’s Day or that offer tips on how to make your mother feel special every day. Frederick the Great once said that “He who defends everything, defends nothing.” That sort of applies here; if every day is special, none of them are.
However, perhaps this year, especially, is the perfect year to start a new tradition. Not a day nationally dictated but one of your choosing. Pick one day of the year on your calendar where you celebrate a personal Mother’s Day. Perhaps a day that means something to both of you or even just a random day where you make her feel special or even just take her for coffee.
You could end up having a day that’s more meaningful to you both than the second Sunday in May will ever be. You might even end up celebrating your mother in a way that’s much closer to what the founder of Mother’s Day had in mind.