It’s Okay to Hate Mother’s Day
If Mother’s Day were a person, I would have punched her in the face. And probably kicked her and spit at her a few times too. A few times every year that is.
The first time I fantasized about the death of Mother’s Day I was just twelve years old. And all the other twelve year olds were making sweet little paintings of flowers and baskets to bring home to their mothers. And I had no mother to bring a basket home too. And I wanted to rip up all the paper and stomp on it but my teacher said “you could give it to your grandmother?”. So, instead I bit my lip hard and one stubborn tear sneaked out to betray me.
Some Mother’s Days were easier.The ones when I was working Sundays and not attending church. And there were less reminders of of my twelve year old self sitting there, while everyone else made Mothers Day crafts and I only made Mothers Day tears because my mom left me.
But then, when marriage came and the hope of bringing my own children into the world flickered warmly in my heart, a new, perhaps deeper ache was born. For almost seven married years, I (not by choice) was childless. Smitten it would seem, by the Mother’s Day grim reaper once again.
And church was always the hardest.
At one church I went to, flowers were given out and I observed as mothers and daughters received them for themselves and for each other. I tried to be invisible so no one would hand me a flower and so I wouldn’t have to explain that I don’t know how to celebrate this day. And then, just when I hoped we were safe, the entire sermon was on Mother’s Day! Why did I subject myself to this torture?
At our own church I remember a Mother’s Day where we watched a video on how hard mom life is (and it is!) and we celebrated moms by providing muffins. That day, my pastor spoke tenderly to the women, like me, who deeply longed to be mothers and yet, were not. As he spoke, I felt a whole wide array of emotions. I was suddenly Seen, Noticed and Thankful. But I also felt suddenly Exposed and Wretched at the same time. It seemed at that moment, the Scarlet Letter of Infertility must be blazing from the chair where I sat. My face burned and I screamed inside and no one heard me.
One year I had finally (after five long years of waiting) become pregnant with my first child. What joy and excitement I anticipated! But, then, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, this child was lost to me, before I could see her precious face. That Mother’s Day May have been hardest of all.
The following year, I was asked by a church member to help package and label ‘Muffins for Moms’ on Mother’s Day. And I said ‘Yes’, because I must be sadistic. But also, because I thought, ‘Motherhood is hard. And there are moms out there that are struggling, like my mom was, but they are not leaving their children. They should get a dang muffin’. And, I thought, ‘There are ladies out there who have been waiting for a child and finally have one, and they need to be celebrated. So they should get a dang muffin.’ So I cried on the way to the church, and then I went and packaged and labeled dozens of muffins and prayed for the mamas who needed that love. And it was hard.
But what I probably should have done that day is say ‘No!’ Say no, and tell someone why this day sucked so badly and let myself grieve and punch Mothers Day in the face again because …
It’s okay to hate Mother’s Day.
When she’s bruised you and beaten you up, year after year, it’s okay to just throw the whole day away and not deal with it at all. Or to scream at it. Or to cry or to stomp your feet. It’s okay to shut off social media that day, call someone who gets it, or just spend the day doing something that helps you forget.
It’s okay to insult Mother’s Day…tell her she’s just a man-made holiday, another hallmark commercial scheme. It’s okay to dismiss her altogether.
And it’s okay to accept that this day is just a day that hurts. Really, really hurts. And sucks. And that nothing is going to make it feel completely better.
It’s okay to feel all that. To accept all of that.
And when you’re ready….some year, when you’re able…it’s okay to crawl up into the arms of the Father. To sit on His lap, like a twelve year old girl. It’s okay to beat against His chest with your fists if you need to. To scream at Him and ask Him all the questions and tell Him all the things that are wretched about this day. It’s okay to weep on His shoulder until all the tears have spilled out and you are exhausted, and worn and the well has run dry.
Because. It’s Mothers Day.
And no matter what you expect from yourself, He expects nothing from you on this day.
He simply sits beside you…weeping.