When Mother’s Day Sucks

This week someone asked me what kind of goodies I would be posting for Mother’s Day. And I really wanted to satisfy them and share something decadent, springtime-appropriate, and delicious. Like these banana chocolate chip muffins I posted last year.

But the truth is, I hate Mother’s Day. My mother passed away when I was 16 during the month of April, so springtime has always been the most difficult time of year for me.

Mom and shan on 1st bday

I dread Mother’s Day each year, even now that I have a daughter. Maybe even more so.  I see cute cards, mugs, menu ideas and emails from my favorite restaurants all telling me how exciting it is that Mother’s Day is soon arriving. But I would prefer to crawl into bed, put the covers over my head and wake up the following day. Because not only do I not have my own mother to share the day with, but Mother’s Day is now also a reminder that my daughter doesn’t have my mother as a grandmother.

We are used to hearing about the extreme commercialization of Valentine’s Day, but Mother’s Day shares many similarities: it’s an American, consumer-driven holiday which encourages people to spend money on gifts, flowers, and other items which ultimately can cause those not celebrating to feel extremely disconnected, or even depressed. And it’s not that people shouldn’t express gratitude and love towards their mothers, grandmothers, aunts and other special women; absolutely they should. I think this can happen on lots of occasions throughout the year, not only when the TV, radio, magazine ads and society around us is yelling at us that we MUST do it.

Because what if you are like me, and you don’t have a mother or a special woman in your life you want to celebrate? What if you don’t get along with your mother? What if your mother was abusive, neglectful, or otherwise inadequate?

What if you are experiencing fertility problems and desperately want to become a mother, but can’t? What if you’re single, or divorced, and feel alone in raising your children? What if you’ve lost a child? There are any number of reasons why Mother’s Day can just leave people feeling isolated and sad that they can’t or don’t want to participate in the merriment.

Last year my husband planned a special picnic for just me, my daughter and my younger sister, who I’ve had the joy and struggles of raising like a daughter. And while the day was still tinged with sadness, it was simple and low key enough that it felt just right. Or, at the very least, not contrived.

mothers day w Ella 2013

See, I am even smiling.

This year, weather permitting, we are hoping to make a trip to Alstede Farm in Chester, New Jersey, a favorite new spot for me and my family where we enjoy picking fruit and vegetables and hanging with farm animals all Summer and Fall. So while the day may still be tinged with sadness, at least I can feel close to nature and enjoy some fresh springtime vegetables.

And who knows, maybe I will have a new Mother’s Day recipe to share after all.

Posted on May 7, 2014

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