Hax: This mom hates Mother's Day

The Washington PostApril 20, 2013 

Adapted from two 2012 online discussions.

Carolyn: Every year, in the weeks leading up to Mother's Day and on the day itself, I am miserable. I have a volatile relationship with my mother and see around me mothers being praised even though they are barely competent (for example, they lost custody to the dad or are relying on others and the state to raise their children).

I am by no means a perfect mother, but I try my best, love my children to death, and enjoy them immensely. I do not feel, however, that I should be celebrated for this or that being a mother makes me more important than women without children. Why celebrate motherhood at all?

My family has been invited to a Mother's Day celebration for my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law, and I do not want to go. I don't want to pretend to celebrate something that in fact makes me miserable. Should I be honest when sending my regrets, or just say simply that I cannot attend? My husband and kids most likely will want to go, so I would stay home by myself or find something else to do. Or should I just suck it up and go?

MOTHER'S DAY FUNK

I don't mean to minimize your difficulties with your mom - that's a lot of weight to carry - but it sounds like you're making too much of this. We celebrate birthdays and what did anyone do to deserve that? We don't choose to be born, we don't even help our mothers push (au contraire). At least Mother's Day celebrates some actual hard work, even if a lot of shirkers still manage to help themselves to the brunch.

Society looks for all kinds of ways to say, "Yippee, yay us." Valentine's Day sends the message that coupled is better than single; Fourth of July says Americans are better den all youse udder guys; Thanksgiving says people with close families and fat turkeys are better than those without; Christmas says solstice celebrations matter more when they're all about Jesus; and New Year's even tries to make the argument that Dec. 31 is more fun or significant than, I dunno, April 20.

So say with me: Yippee! Cake! Unless it's bad cake. Then I'm with you on staying home alone.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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