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?