Mother’s Day was created in the United States by Anna Jarvis in 1908 as a day to honor your Mom. It quickly became so commercialized that 9 years later, Anna herself wanted to stop the madness. She spent all of her money and the rest of her life fighting the exploitations of the use of Mother’s Day — even getting arrested in 1948 for protesting against it.
I get it, Anna Jarvis…Mother’s Day stinks. Instead of a wonderful, relaxing, feeling appreciated day for me, it’s a day filled with guilt, rage and more work.
The day starts with commands that I stay in bed, pretending to be “sleeping in”. Never mind that my bladder is so full it’s backing up into my kidneys. . . I must not “wake” and ruin the surprise. I lie in bed trying not to visualize shiny new toilets all in a row, while sounds of destruction are coming from the kitchen. Pots clanging, cups dropping, boy saying, “Oops, sorry Daddy.” Then I hear my husband whisper-yelling at my less-than-enthusiastic boys, “Shhhhh…don’t wake your Mother! Put down the Legos and help me make Mommy breakfast. You can play the Wii AFTER we give Mommy her surprise. This is your last warning…if you don’t stop putting the dog’s food in Mommy’s bowl, you are going into a time-out!”
My husband carries the feast into the bedroom followed by my boys whose bodies seem to be losing a fight with gravity. Their whining sears a path down my spine –
I eat my french toast omelet thingy in one bite then float to the bathroom.
Then under the door I see:
“Moooommmyyyy…Nate put his foot out and made me fall and he saw me there so he did it on porpoise!”
I take a deep breath…count to 10…then I yell:
You know what I want for Mother’s Day? An hour alone in the bathroom. I’m not greedy. I’m not asking for a week retreat at the Poshy-Posh Spa. Just an hour alone in my own bathroom to regroup. To shave both my legs at the same time. To pluck, scrub, lotion and paint stuff.
I didn’t get that. I got a macaroni necklace and a store bought card forced-signed by my sons in Daddy’s “Mother’s Day Sweatshop”. I thought, “Maybe I can lock myself in the bathroom and eat the necklace when I get hungry.”
The doorbell rang. A very frazzled, sweaty man stood on my porch. “Happy Mother’s Day” he mumbled and handed me a bouquet of flowers without looking up from his clipboard. “Sign here, please.” And he was gone.
I’m sure an old fashioned version of this morning is what made Anna Jarvis snap.
I carried my flowers into the kitchen to find a vase. (sigh) The kitchen:
I replace the batteries in the Wii remote and hand them to my boys. “Here ya go. All fixed.” Both boys fling themselves into my arms and wrap their arms around my neck slathering me with smooches. “Mommy, you fixed it!! Thank you Mommy! You’re the best Mommy ever in the whole world! I love you to the other universes they discovered and back.” (sigh)
THAT was my Mother’s Day. That one authentic moment of love and appreciation filled my heart with joy and made all the forced, commercialized nonsense disappear. I hugged my boys tightly and took a mental snapshot.
Happy “Anna Jarvis” Day!
Maryellen Hooper is a nationally touring comedian That’s been on the “Tonight Show” and won an American Comedy Award. Her blog, “Stinky Flowers” is a stand-up view of marriage, motherhood & life. You can also follow her on Twitter @MaryellenHooper