Why Is There a Backlash Over Mother’s Day?
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Why Is There a Backlash Over Mother’s Day?

I’m a holiday junkie. I will completely admit that. I think it depends on the way you were raised, and we did them all pretty big when I was growing up. From Halloween to Valentine’s Day to May Day (okay, that last one’s a joke), my mom went all out, and I loved it. I even love my birthday despite having had far too many of them for my own liking. I just began to count backwards once I turned 30.

It seems like there’s a current backlash against this kind of celebration, however. One of my favorite bloggers, Rage Against the Minivan, even wrote a super popular post about taking the holidays down a notch when one of her kids was expecting a St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza. It was a hilarious post with lots of great points, and I agreed with her on a lot of it.

However, I was surprised to see a lot of negativity surrounding Mother’s Day. Did any of you notice that? I read a lot of mommy blog posts that were downright negative about it. The Bloggess, who is considered one of the premier mommy bloggers, even said the following on her Mother’s Day post, entitled “Happy whatever”:

“Mother’s Day is a confusing, weird, very-seldom-wrapped-up-with-a-nice-commercial-bow sort of day, and as for me, I salute you all – mothers or not…you’re here. You’re alive. You continue to survive. You are worthwhile and wonderful. Never forget that.”

Her point was that women should not be defined by motherhood and, while I agree to a certain extent, doesn’t it happen naturally once we do (if we do!) have children?

Another compelling one I came across was on The Messy Middle blog, and it was entitled “An open letter to pastors {A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day}.” It was about how non-moms are made to feel awkward in church on Mother’s Day, as mothers are often singled out, asked to stand, and celebrated. The blogger shared a personal experience about this, saying the following:

“A pastor asked all mothers to stand. On my immediate right, my mother stood and on my immediate left, a dear friend stood. I, a woman in her late 30s, sat. I don’t know how others saw me, but I felt dehumanized, gutted as a woman. Real women stood, empty shells sat. I do not normally feel this way. I do not like feeling this way. I want no woman to ever feel this way in church again.”

It was eye-opening for me to say the least, as I always prided myself on being aware of others’ feelings around me, and yet I had never thought of Mother’s Day in this regard. My sister-in-law had four miscarriages before going on to have three kids, and I remember the agony she would experience going to baby showers, birthday parties, etc. It saddened me to think of those who were suffering on Mother’s Day.

I ask, though — do we as moms need to stop celebrating this day? Even when I was a non-mom at 34 and desperate to find a suitor and start a family, I never once wish no one else celebrated Mother's Day. I think we can all stand a bit more self awareness, but do we need to cancel all holidays due to pain and suffering? I may just be one mom, but I say certainly not. Thoughts?

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05.15.2013 / 12:00 AM EDT by Marnie Brodersen
Related: Moms

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