Is Mother’s Day Really for Mothers?

This week, my mother was bombarded with many unexpected events that occupied her attention and time, taking her focus away from preparing for my brother’s college graduation. On the way to his ceremony, we had to stop at Walmart to pick up cards and small items to add to his graduation gift. While in Walmart, she expressed that she had not even had time to get her own mother a card and gift and hurriedly added to our items already displayed on the conveyor belt. Once we got back into the car, I asked my mom what she wanted to do for Mother’s day, and she responded saying, “I don’t know”. This question sparked the incipient of a conversation comparing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. She explained that how on Father’s day my dad seems to take full advantage of the holiday by doing exactly what he wants (playing golf and enjoying my grandma’s good cooking). But, she feels Mother’s Day is still a time where she does not seem to take full advantage of the relaxation that is supposedly available to her. This weekend in particular did not lend her the opportunity to think about her wants because she was so set on making sure every aspect of my brother’s graduation celebration ran smoothly.

My mom is a busy body and always loves to have her hand in some sort of activity. Her idea of relaxation and my father’s do not align which made me think of Hochschild’s point that there is a such thing as a leisure gap. There are many instances where my mom may be off work and instead of reading or sleeping in she will be straightening up the house or folding clothes. So, on Mother’s Day this year I think she made a point to indulge in the holiday. We made her breakfast and had cards, flowers, and gifts waiting for her in the kitchen like we do every Mother’s Day, but the difference this year was her willingness to do nothing. I feel as though mother’s have an innate want to do everything for everyone, so they sometimes do not know how to receive affirmations and tokens that are symbolic of their family’s adoration and appreciation.

But, in our efforts to highlight her on this commercialized holiday how will we really ever know if her wants have been met? Many times when people celebrate others it is for the satisfaction of the one’s celebrating. Do you feel that this occurs on Mother’s Day as well as other holidays?



13 thoughts on “Is Mother’s Day Really for Mothers?

  1. You did a really good job connecting your article to the reading we did in class.
    Commercialized holidays and even smaller ‘dedication weeks’ have been leaving a bad taste in my mouth for a while now. When schools celebrate “anti-bullying week”, I really just feel bitter because nobody seems to acknowledge bullying except for the one week that the school board pushes everyone to talk about it. Likewise, on holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we give our parents extra love and attention, but often forget to give them as much appreciation every other day of the year. Instead of dedicating our appreciation or awareness for something on one special day, we should do our best to always show our appreciation to our parents or be aware of bullying, and things of the sort.

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  2. I think this brings up a really good point, my mom cared more about taking the dogs for a walk and taking me back to school rather than making my dad figure it out or something. My mom is not big on holidays but this goes back to women working a second shift even on their own holiday.

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  3. My mom doesn’t care much for holidays either. I think that maybe mothers have more of a practical view on holidays, since they are more typically put in charge of organizing the events, getting the gifts ready, and making sure everyone else is satisfied. Because of this, when they do have a day dedicated to them, they often focus more on the millions of other tasks they have to do before they can spare a minute for themselves.

    Especially for mothers who work, the “second shift” Arlie Hoschild explained really comes to life. Mothers often cannot worry for celebrating themselves when they are practically working two jobs and carrying the well-being of everyone in their hands.

    Mother’s Day has a pretty good intention behind it, but I think it all depends on the family celebrating mother’s day. Some mothers would probably enjoy mother’s day knowing their children could pick up their workload for the day. But often, when a mother “takes off” for a day, the entire family is thrown out of whack, so it would take the effort of the entire family.

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  4. I completely understand your point in this article, but it was a little different for me because my household is slightly the opposite. My dad is a workaholic and my mom is much more relaxed. However I do agree with your point that Mother’s Day has become very commercialized as have many holidays. It’s not really about celebrating women for all the work they do as mothers, but it’s more about stores selling their products and promoting a holiday that has lost much of its original meaning. Although it is sad, it’s like many other popular holidays such as Christamas that have been commercialized over the decades.

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  5. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here. Also, I typically see holidays like mother’s day and father’s day to just be holidays solely designed to get companies to make more money. There’s basically a direct correlation with capitalism. I appreciate that there is an official day to celebrate our parents, but if you’re not always grateful or thankful to your parents (provided they are not abusive and terrible people) there’s something wrong.

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  6. This sort of reminds me how little kids will make breakfast in bed for mom, but then mom will have to clean up the mess afterwards. This Mother’s Day, my mom told us what she wanted– she asked for a Jaws DVD and for all three of her children to write her a card about our favorite beach memory. However, she also had to drive two hours round trip to see me play trumpet in my jazz concert. And yet, she said she loved it and wouldn’t have had it any other way. She said she got to see all three of her children on the same day (we all live in different places). It seems that in general, Mother’s Day activities still revolve around children more in comparison to Father’s Day activities.


  7. Most holidays, if not all of them, are commercialized and emphasized to make a profit from those who celebrate them. Parents who nurture, care for and support their children definitely deserved to be recognized, but just because there is one designated calendar day a year doesn’t mean that day has to be the only day to celebrate them. I agree that father’s seem to take more advantage of their day than mother’s, but one day in my opinion isn’t enough. Depending on the family dynamic, mothers tend to care for the “second shift” tasks and for that deserve more than one day of recognition. I find time to celebrate my parents any chance I get and not necessarily showering them with fancy gifts and material items that society and companies expect.


  8. I didn’t think about it this way but there is definitely a significant difference in how people celebrate mothers day and fathers day. The leisure gap is very apparent in these situations, mothers will still do housework and organize the events in general while fathers will be able to relax and unwind.


  9. Yes! I complete agree. I’m glad your mama got to have a better enjoyed Mother’s day this year at the very least. Often I feel like mothers are worries about celebrating their moms (grandmas) and this huge expectation for a good day can get ruined because everything is planned out and it’s usually the mom who has to figure it all out and it’s not very relaxing. It’s important to know yourself and I hope your mom and all moms in the world can learn to treat themselves to a Mother’s day that feels relaxing. There’s too much innate responsibility given to mothers, especially with the second shift, but moms deserve to relax at least for that one day!!!!


  10. A mother’s opportunity to celebrate and appreciate all the hard work she has done should be acknowledged just as much as Father’s Day. I think Hochschild would agree with this and say that mother’s will often feel this responsibility to make sure that everyone else’s needs are met first before their own. Father’s seem to reinforce Hochschild’s belief that their is a leisure gap and that dad’s seemed to fully embrace a relaxation day while mothers do not.


  11. I have recently reflected on this as well but came to a different conclusion based on my life experiences. It seems as if all holidays including Mothers and Fathers day are for children with the premise that they are for someone else. The parent not on display for the day (or week if you live in my house) spends all the time leading up to and on the day helping the child make a gift and helping them do tasks so they can say that they made mommy or daddy’s day special. Not necessarily a bad thing because of the sentiment behind it but they are challenging tasks for the title of “Holiday”.


  12. You bring up some good points about the way that your family specifically practices the holiday, but I would like to believe that the way that people practice it is not set in stone and varies significantly from family to family. Using my family as an example, I would say that the contrast between mother’s and father’s day is the complete opposite in my house compared to yours. While my father did get some gifts on father’s day he otherwise had almost no other special accommodations for the holiday. Compare this to mother’s day in my household where my mother was not only given gifts, but the family was often forced to do the housework that she usually did(stay at home mom), and she often chose whether or not she wanted to go out with the family or alone and what specifically she wanted to do. To draw off of this, I would say that more data would have to be collected in order to answer your question as to whether mother’s day is for mothers for most people as the observations of both yours and my own family do show that the answer can very much depend on who you are talking to and or looking at.


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