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English: Mother's Day cardA quick Google search about Mother’s Day surprised me. I was researching for an article, and Googled, “Why I hate Mother’s Day.” I figured only a few things would appear.

Was I ever wrong. As a matter of fact, I was dumbfounded.

American women have more ambivalence about the second Sunday in May than I knew. For some, it’s the forced happiness. For others, it’s the in-the-face reminder that they are not mothers, or that they have lost children. Author Anne Lamott hates Mother’s Day because it seems to shout that a woman’s true (only?) worth is in the fruit of her womb. Other people hate Mother’s Day because their relationship with their mother is complicated…at best. I can only guess that there are as many reasons why folks hate Mother’s Day as there are people who feel that way. ‘

I feel bittersweetly about Mother’s Day. While they love and respect me for the other 364 days of the year, my husband and daughters make a big deal out of “Mom’s Special Day.” “You are not going to do any cooking or cleaning on Mother’s Day,” my 9-year-old recently declared. “And,” she paused dramatically and looked around the dinner table, “no one is allowed to make Mommy upset all day long.” My kid rocks! This is the sweet part.

Bitterness remains in my mouth from being a daughter. I began disliking Mother’s Day from an early age, say around 5 or 6. I could not find my mother in the descriptions that gushed of traditional roles, submissive femininity, and domestic glee.

What did that mean? Was something wrong with my mother? Was something wrong with me because my mother was so different from the other Moms I knew? (Young children are narcissistic, you know.)

photo credit: marsmet523 via photopin cc

photo credit: marsmet523 via photopin cc

Mothers can be career-minded and strong, I protested.  Mothers can mow the yard, fix things, be their own boss, and pack heat.  Mothers can love football and John Wayne.

Every way I described my mother went against the grain.

Eventually I decided that something was wrong with society for assuming that all Moms are alike. I got mad at cultural images of mothers and motherhood. And I blamed Mother’s Day for making the situation worse.

Years of Mother’s Days passed. I dreaded every one of them.

I wrote theologically about this earlier this week in a blog posted on The Christian Century. Click here to read my article. 

You’ll notice that I refer to myself as a “recovering undermothered adult.” More to come in future posts about what this means.

Up next week: the Mama Taboo. Why we don’t talk bad about Mama. Period. And why we must bust this taboo.

For now, happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms out there.

Questions for y’all:

  • What are your feelings about Mother’s Day?
  • If you struggle with Mother’s Day and/or your relationship with your mother, how can I pray for you?

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