We Ask, You Answer: How Do You Feel About Mother’s Day?

When I was younger, getting gifts for my mom, especially on Mother’s Day, was a highlight. I remember using my pocket money to buy her nice soaps or CDs she’d like, and my stepfather would bring me to the grocery store so I could get her favorite breakfast items. Celebrating Mother’s Day was not only easy, but exciting. Thinking of all the ways to express how much I loved my mother brought me immense joy.

But then, like so many mother/daughter relationships, our bond took a sharp turn during my teenage years. Our relationship became anything but easy. After moving out at 15, we didn’t speak for several years, and when we did, we’d very often end up arguing or silently judging one another with cruel non-verbal communication. 

In those years, Mother’s Day has caused me much shame. While everyone was posting happy, flower-filled photos of their Mother’s Day brunch, I was debating whether an email or text would be more appropriate. It made me feel broken, like there was something wrong with me, with us. Our damaged bond not only severed the relationship itself, but it damaged my self-esteem. For years, I’d convinced myself I was the only one with mother/daughter issues, and it felt incredibly lonely. 

Recently however, as I’ve begun repairing my relationship with my mother and talking openly about it, I’ve come to realize I’m far from alone. A friend of mine recently shared: “I hate this holiday forcing me to celebrate someone who has always only celebrated themselves.” Through these open conversations with friends (and fellow daughters), I’ve come to realize that there are plenty of seemingly healthy mother/daughter relationships that are laced with unhealthy expectations and demands. 

And of course, there are plenty of women who loathe the holiday for whole other sets of reasons, like reminding them of their mother’s loss, or their fertility struggles. I certainly don’t want to discredit the women who love celebrating their mothers, or who are perhaps celebrating becoming a first-time mom (wahoo!). My point in sharing my experience is that I was never shown, or heard the stories of, complex mother/daughter dynamics like my own. How one feels about this day is broad and individual; not everyone feels the same; and that’s okay. 

So, how do you feel about Mother’s Day? How does it make you feel? Do you feel pressured, excited, sad, happy to celebrate?

LET'S TALK: how do you feel about Mother’s Day? How does it make you feel? Do you feel pressured, excited, sad, happy to celebrate?

11 Comments

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

  1. I agree with what your friend said. I feel very forced to celebrate my mom (when our relationship isn’t that great) and her expectations on this day are unattainable. I feel like I’m always disappointing her.

    4 likes
  2. My mom passed away a few years ago, so Mother’s Day is a day I celebrate her, even though it’s really hard some years. But I didn’t particularly love Mother’s Day when she was still alive. It feels like Valentine’s Day. A forced way to celebrate someone, regardless of your relationship dynamics.

    3 likes
  3. While I’m one of the lucky ones blessed with an amazing mother AND mother-in-law, it’s been hard to navigate Mother’s Day celebrations since becoming a mother myself. While their expectations are pretty simple (just want to spend time with their kids), they seem to have a weird attachment to the celebration being held on the actual day, which means that I get to spend my Mother’s Day catering to everyone else’s needs. Haha.

    I also feel an immense heaviness around Mother’s Day for those who desperately wish to be mothers. My husband and I struggled with fertility issues for years before our daughter was born and I remember the pain all to well.

    1 likes
  4. I definitely don’t love the holiday. I feel like it’s forced. But at the same time, some of my friends have lost their parents so it reminds me to be grateful I can still celebrate her in person, even when she drives me nuts most days.

    2 likes
  5. My mother and I had a difficult and tumultuous relationship when I was younger. I’ve spent the years since trying to make up that time and those years. No matter how many flowers or cards filled with loving affirmations I send her each Mother’s Day, I know I can’t make up for that. For me, the holiday is mixed with emotions of sadness, guilt and love. But also gratitude. I feel lucky that she is still here, and I have the present to focus on our relationship. The distance because of Covid has made it difficult. I moved away 4 years ago but the current situation has made her feel even further away. I’m excited to see her over FaceTime this weekend, and am especially conscious of the distance between us which makes me feel sad.

    2 likes
  6. Mother’s Day feelings: jealousy and envy for the ones who have a close relationship to their mothers. For the ones who deeply know their mothers and have a supportive role model to be there for them along life’s crazy journey. My mother passed away when I was 9 years old. Her anniversary of passing is May 4th, her birthday is May 7th, and Mother’s Day usually falls in that same week. The beginning of May is heavy with emotions. Mother’s Day is a lot. I usually turn away from social media for this weekend specifically.

  7. I have a combo of feelings about mother’s day. First off let me say that I see the magic of the divine feminine in all women and I hold a vision for a time when that is so widely celebrated and encouraged in all of us that there’s no need for a “holiday” to hold us and our gifts in the highest esteem – and in a way that heals our hearts around nurturing and feeling nurtured. But until then, with my mother the history is varied and complicated by my refusal to feel obligated to do something bc it’s a certain day of the year, when I love and honor my mother and our very close relationship all year round. However, my mom still gets sentimental and comparing herself to other mothers, so one year she might feel fine about however anyone chooses to spend mother’s day – and then the next year she has a meltdown bc we don’t do enough or in the way she’d really like things done, etc, etc… So I tend to spend a lot of time managing her expectations so that I’m not blindsided with her disappointment.
    Personally, I have gone back and forth about having kids since my mid-30’s (over 15 yrs ago now) and am very happy without kids of my own. I enjoy kids and all of my friends have kids, and I’m very much playful and curious, so kids are drawn to me and that interaction is super fulfilling for me. However, on mother’s day the combination between martyrdom and narcissism seem to be prominent themes/patterns, at least in me and my friend’s mom’s (interestingly not in my mom friends though…?lol) and the whole thing feels kind of icky and toxic. I look forward to the healing of our mom’s hearts and more balance in getting our needs met, so we don’t hold others at emotional gunpoint bc we take things more personally. Thank you for the space to share and read other’s perspectives on this interesting topic.

  8. Quarantine, eternally grateful for my phone, where my therapists has guided me through healing the relationship with my mother. Being ‘stuck’, with her, has forced me to heal. work it out. I am so excited to celebrate mother’s day with my new best friend.

  9. i feel very lucky to celebrate mother’s day with my mom and MIL. but for years and years it was an incredibly hard holiday because i couldn’t conceive. now i have a baby, and want to enjoy the holiday. but i feel guilty enjoying it because i know so many women are where i was just a short time ago. i don’t want my celebrations to make them feel even more sad about what they can’t have. because that’s definitely what it did to me. so it’s still a tough holiday.

  10. i feel very lucky to celebrate mother’s day with my mom and MIL. but for years and years it was an incredibly hard holiday because i couldn’t conceive. now i have a baby, and want to enjoy the holiday. but i feel guilty enjoying it because i know so many women are where i was just a short time ago. i don’t want my celebrations to make them feel even more sad about what they can’t have. because that’s definitely what it did to me. so it’s still a tough holiday.

  11. I’m pretty neutral about this day. I have a wonderfully loving relationship with my mother but we aren’t big consumers so the whole frenzy about buying stuff for moms kinda grosses me out. I’m also a mom and my daughter has always just made me a card and that’s always been completely satisfying to me. Funny, I think the day is good for people that don’t pay their moms much attention and should. Unless it’s a toxic relationship of course. But for folks that are connected to their moms, it’s just an ordinary day with a bit of goodness. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

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