I was at a cookout yesterday and I heard something that made me a little sad.
Let me start by saying, we were at a cookout that had a sports theme. And considering the woman who was speaking had an injury that wouldn’t even allow her to drive, never mind participating in sports, the event was clearly tailored to her husband and his friends. Naturally, the women convened in the shade of a canopy* and chitchatted. In the talk some of the moms were discussing what they were doing for Mother’s Day. One woman shared time with family, another cookout and whatnot. Someone else said it was her day and that she wanted to be “left the hell alone.” Our host said plainly, “we don’t do anything for Mother’s Day. I get nothing.” And then she followed it up with, “So I don’t do anything for Father’s Day and we’re even.”
Her answer stayed with me for the rest of the day. And into today, which is why I’m writing about it.
I don’t believe Mother’s Day should be about stuff, what you get or fancy dinners. I think we’ve done an outstanding job of commercializing the heck out of everything that even has a glimmer of being a holiday. We’ve distorted things so much that we have NO idea what the day represents and we promptly file it in a “things to do” or “day off” bin. When this woman made her comment, I could tell she intended for it to sound like she didn’t care. She made it sound like that’s just how they do it and that’s fine. But the look on her face was sad. I started to think about what her life was like being a teacher, wife of a cop, continuous sporting events for the kids, on the PTO, organizing school functions, fundraisers, and her husband’s parties when she should have been resting her injury with a big ‘ole bag of ice.
I could be wrong. She could be receiving loads of appreciation on a daily basis.
Something tells me though, this is her role and appreciation is not generally on the menu. I don’t think we need a national holiday to show moms we care about them and thank them for all they do but there is a designated day to remind you to do it. It’s plastered everywhere – mostly for sale purposes – so it’s not like one has to monitor their calendar to remember they should show some effort to appreciate the moms that make their lives run smoothly.
But that’s not what makes me sad.
What upsets me is what will her boys learn from this? If their father doesn’t set an example of how to treat their mother, they will never learn it. They will grow up thinking what their mom does is her “job” and it’ll be expected. And (whether she knows it or not) we don’t have to conform to these standards. That is the life she chose and that might be just the thing that fills her cup. But what her boys won’t understand is that not everyone is that way and they may not realize that doing all these things and raising a family is a choice.
If their father doesn’t show appreciation himself or encourage the kids to “do something special for mom” they will grow up, get married and never show their wives/mothers to their children any appreciation…. and not every woman is so tolerable of running ragged without so much as a “thank you.”
Speaking from a mother standpoint, I do everything I do because I love my family. Sure, it’s a role to fill. I would love to sit and paint or write all day but the reality is the kids need to be fed and things need to be done. I signed up for that when we decided to have children. It’s what makes me a mom and us a family. I don’t do it for the “thank you,” but I can assure you, when you have a husband that acknowledges what you do and active children that will actually sit still to craft something for you, it makes all those long, seemingly endless days, much more tolerable.
I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.
*When sports is involved I am NEVER among the onlookers, which I think automatically leaves me out of the click but that’s a story for another day.