This reminded me of the day that I felt the same way. It was Mother's Day 2003, I think. I remember my husband and kids saying "Happy Mother's Day" to me and that was pretty much it. It was a busy, hectic Sunday just like any other. After a few upsetting Mother's Days this was the worst. I was hurt, and very sad. To be fair, my husband was in grad school, very busy, very stressed out, very poor, and our children were very young. But I hated Mother's Day that day. I figured that if it just didn't exist I wouldn't have any reason to be upset. Honestly, though, I didn't hate the day, I hated the unmet expectation. I hated the lack of fanfare, the absence of feeling special, the void of feeling any different from every other day of the year. I suddenly knew why Moms were saying they hated mother's day.
But I didn't want to hate mother's day. It broke my heart when I heard that my mom didn't like it. I never wanted my kids to feel like I didn't feel special on that day, no matter what they didn't do for me. (By the way, mom, I ABSOLUTELY don't blame you for not liking mother's day in the past, or even to this very day as I am one of the worst people at doing anything for you on this day. I'm sorry!!! I love you and you are a fantastic mother.) Having your kids believe that they make you happy on this day is like letting them believe in Santa for as long as they want. It just makes them happy. Even husbands like believing this. But I didn't want it to be a lie, either, I wanted to really enjoy Mother's Day.
Here is what I did:
1. I changed my expectations. If you ask moms what they want on Mother's Day most of them say they want one day free of being a mom. That is what I wanted. I wanted one day of no cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, whiny kids, pleasing my husband, or doing anything that wasn't just for me. I also wanted to be celebrated, treated like royalty, to have one perfect day. And with expectations like that how could I NOT be let down?
But Mother's Day isn't about not being a mom anymore. It is a day to celebrate being a mother. So, I erased all the above expectations and decided that on Mother's Day I was going to find joy in my motherhood and nothing else. Anything else would be a pleasant surprise. Now on this day I laugh more with/at my kids, I refuse to yell, I give up all guilt, smile evily at people who are annoyed by my kids, don't worry about how they are dressed, what they eat, or anything else. It is a fantastic day.
2. I started treating myself. Sometimes we need to show people how to treat us by treating ourselves that way first. I now go to the store the day before Mother's Day and buy strawberries, whipped cream, flowers, whatever I want for meals the next day, and maybe even a new piece of jewelry (but I don't spend more than $15). If my husband wants to beat me to the punch on this, he is more than welcome, but otherwise I do it and I am always happy the next day when I can enjoy my treats.
3. I stopped blaming my husband. It is Mother's Day, not Wife's Day. Sure, a man should honor his wife for being the mother of his children, but he can do that all year long and on other days of the year. Once I gave up the idea that he was in charge of Mother's Day I was able to love him and not be angry with him for "failing me".
4. I allowed myself the same freedom regarding Father's Day. I can encourage the kids to celebrate the day. I can help them carry out their plans. But I don't have to feel pressured to do it all, or to even do anything (though I try to). Now I can't feel bitter because I "did more for him than he did for me". It isn't up to us, but to our kids.
Now comes the good part. I made all these decisions the day after that sad Mother's Day in 2003. The following Father's Day the kids and I picked out a candy bar for my husband (the kids' choice of gift) and we all signed a card. This was very little compared to the previous Father's Day fanfares. My husband was a bit hurt and disappointed. When he mentioned it I nicely, without any malice because there was no malice to be had now, said, "But it is more than I got for Mother's Day." He was sure that wasn't true but when I asked him to tell me what they did for me that day he couldn't think of anything.
Ever since that day I have had marvelous Mother's Days. And I have to thank my husband for all the effort he puts into them now. He really goes out of his way to treat me right. But it is my new outlook on this Holiday that really lets me feel joyful. It no longer matters if things don't go just right, it doesn't hurt if something keeps my husband from getting it put together, and it doesn't even bother me if the kids are grumpy and mean to me that day. I just smile, remember how blessed I am to be a mother, and enjoy the look of my new bracelet. =)
I hope all you mothers have a very enjoyable Mother's Day !!!