fragile day

I worry for everyone on Mother’s Day: Stephanie leading the music who has been through four years of infertility, Lisa– whose aging mother never has a kind word to say about her, my single friend Jean who at forty-four despairs of ever having children of her own and Rosy sitting in the back row berating herself for all her perceived mothering faults. And it’s not just women who can scarcely endure the day— my sweet brother called me Sunday morning saying, “our mother is in the graveyard, my kids are with their mom, I don’t think I can stand going to church.”

Can’t we just shove the whole ruddy day down the toilet?

With my half-dozen beauties and my sweet husband, I know I am among the lucky few. But I would rather receive their hugs and kisses and notes on all the days in between. It simply seems too cruel to shine the spotlight on a subject that is so painful for so many. And really, with such a proscribed holiday, how many families can measure up to the pressure– breakfast in bed, cards, fresh flowers, a kitchen that is miraculously cleaned while mother takes a nap? I know I am blessed to be a mother, but I would rather enjoy my family without expectation of gifts or kindnesses.

After writing this, I felt a bit chastened reading your blogs this morning. So many of you had a beautiful day where you felt cherished and adored. I don’t want to dismiss that; I love kindness and goodness and generosity. But I stand by my opinion– those with sweet families would feel loved without Mother’s Day, while those without, wouldn’t have to suffer the cruel annual reminder of what they don’t have.

I’m starting a petition to take the day off the calendar. Anyone want to sign?

p.s. I’ve come back twice to this post to take it off the blog (because I don’t like being negative); but I keep it up because of the comments. I love the idea of an International Women’s Day.

May 6, 2011



  1. Ginger

    May 10, 2011

    I’m with you. I am loved and treated well by my husband and children. I wish the pulpit would wish a “happy mothers day” and then leave it at that.

  2. Shelah

    May 10, 2011

    I think that if Mother’s Day were on a Thursday it would lessen the whole charged-ness of it. When it’s on Sunday it becomes all confounded with religious guilt. Nobody feels guilty on Thursday. Or better yet, dump the whole thing.

  3. Lizzy

    May 10, 2011

    This excerpt from a post on Nat The Fat Rat made me laugh-
    “If you can’t imagine hating Mother’s Day, try this: Imagine a world wherein every second Sunday in April we celebrate National Super Model’s Day, and guess what? Most of your friends are Super Models. In fact, 90% of the female population is five foot ten with impossible cheekbones. You’re, like, the only short fat one in the bunch. And for weeks you must endure blog posts dedicated to “What to get for your other Super Model friends,” and “What you can look forward to as a Super Model on your day to be celebrated,” and “What being a Super Model means to me and why it’s the greatest job ever.” Meanwhile, it’s not YOUR fault you’re not a Super Model–oh, you’d be one if only it were merit based–but you have no control of your height, after all! Are you getting an inkling? National Super Model’s Day sucks for short people. Trust me, I would know.”

  4. Shy Little Violets

    May 10, 2011

    I feel like this in a lot of situations. I don’t want to talk about how wonderful my kids are when someone in the group has lost a child. I hate to talk about my loving husband when someone in the group is abused or has been through a terrible divorce. I hate talking about how healthy and strong I feel when someone in the group doesn’t have the use of their legs. There is always going to be someone out there “suffering” while the rest of us rejoice but I think what it boils down to is do we choose to suffer or do we choose different things for our minds bodies and souls. To be happy for others and their success rather than feeling our own pity. Would it make a difference to others if we DID take the day off the calendar? Would us feeling bad or not rejoicing actually help others feel better?

  5. Tasha

    May 10, 2011

    I would gladly sign with you. Many other countries celebrate International Women’s day instead or in addition to Mother’s Day. I think we should drop Mother’s Day and celebrate ALL women instead.

  6. jen

    May 10, 2011

    I spent my Mother’s Day weekend doing the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia with my family. My son Daniel and I almost died two years ago when I developed HELLP Syndrome (a variant of preeclampsia that attacks the liver) so the timing was interesting. It was humbling to be spending my weekend raising awareness for a condition that can kill women and their babies.

  7. Tracy

    May 10, 2011

    I’m with you. I would also like the anniversary to be a thing of the past. Birthdays I get and love – special, amazing, life..the rest of it – just give me/them the expectation to live a good generous life every day.

    Love you.

  8. Selwyn

    May 10, 2011

    Sign me up!

  9. Sara Jane

    May 10, 2011

    I’m so with you on this one. I always feel so uncomfortable at church and worry about others and how they are feeling. There shouldn’t be a celebrated day that invokes pain or sorrow in people.
    I like the idea of celebrating a women’s day.

  10. Jeanelle

    May 10, 2011

    Your brother’s sweet comment hurt my heart…thanks for the reminder that the day isn’t all about us females.

    My ward was sensitive and recognized all women by giving treats in the foyer while my mom’s ward (same stake) invited only mothers to stand and receive chocolates. I’m still sort of shocked this continues to happen.

    During one of the sacrament meeting talks, I was again the token example of a mother who hasn’t actually given birth to children (seriously, it happens every single year – I’m just grateful they didn’t call me by name this time.)

    I made it through the day without crying – first time in several years. I consider it a major accomplishment.

    And yes, I’d happily sign your petition.

  11. Mormon Women: Who We Are

    May 10, 2011

    I understand where you are coming from. I had a discussion not unlike this with my bil who is in a bishopric.

    But I had a bit of a change of heart this weekend as I saw the internet FLOODED with great stuff about motherhood. As someone interested in that concept, I sorta saw some good that can come of it.

    I don’t want my fam to feel pressure on that day, but it is a good thing, I think, to celebrate motherhood as a principle.

    But yeah, it’s a hard day for a lot of reasons and I worry about that for a lot of people.

    ~the other Michelle (too lazy to sign out of this account…)

  12. Kira

    May 10, 2011

    As a girl who didn’t get married until 30 then struggled with infertility before I was granted children, the day is a day of complete guilt for me. I feel guilt I am not doing enough for my kids, guilt for the 100’s of single gal’s I know DYING (and probably far more worthy) for that chance at motherhood, and guilt for all the women who infertility treatments have not worked (including all those friends that have faced misscarriages this year). I am with you. I would rather quietly thank Heavenly Father each day for blessing me beyond belief then have it called out in a public forum. Well written, love you!

  13. Dovie

    May 10, 2011

    It is a tricky thing for sure. I appreciated this post and the sentiment expressed by fellow commentor Shy Little Violets, her not wanting to openly revel too much in your blessings for fear of injuring a tender heart. I was thinking yesterday how celebrating a Women’s Day would feel so much better to me. I’ve had my share of sad feelings on Mother’s Day. Not just being consumed with my own failings but also how I wish I were a better daughter both in the past and in the now. This year was just way to busy on Sunday to let anything get to far under my skin. It helped that it was fast Sunday in our stake due to stake conference last week. No talks and only a little primary children medley to close the meeting.

  14. cristie

    May 10, 2011

    i have always loved mother’s day. love love love it. but then again i have always felt like it’s more about my mother and the many “mother’s” in my life. when i have been in a position to create celebrations in RS we would invite everyone to bring a photo of their mother and then celebrate. even then i realize not everyone has had a mom they want to celebrate…but, i think it goes with the mentality that recognizes that when “life hands you lemons…make lemonade.” xox

  15. jamirodana

    May 10, 2011

    I am very close with my mother and I’m well loved by my own little family. I do, however, feel the same when I sit in church and see the older single sisters and the sisters who have been struggling to have a family, etc…
    I am all for “women’s day” too!
    Let’s do it!

  16. Cristine

    June 3, 2011

    Thank you for putting into words what I have been feeling for years! I am a friend of Catherine Arveseth’s and I love to look at your blog (which I find to be wonderful) from time to time.

Comments are closed.