Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Coercion

I normally consider myself a rule-follower, but I don’t like being told what to do, especially when it feels coerced and is not from an authority figure. Case-in-point: Songs that give you specific directions annoy the crap out of me! (Cha Cha Slide, ugh) When I feel like I’m being directed, I get this very strong urge to do the opposite just to spite the source. I will admit, that has led to occasional issues in our marriage when C attempts to give me “helpful advice” and I proceed to stubbornly carry on with my original idea. 

I also don’t like to do things just because they’re popular and “everybody’s doing it”. I actually avoid trendy things, because this also feels like coercion. I just bought my first pair of skinny jeans last year and still vehemently oppose the whole leggings-and-long-shirt movement. I actually avoided reading Harry Potter for several years because it was too popular. (I ultimately caved by watching the first movie, then listening to the second book on audio format because I justified this an not counting, and then it was all over and I was hooked.)
I will not be doing Elf on a Shelf or having a Gender Reveal Party. This may also be related to my irritation with commercialization.
Which leads to my biggest beef about Mother’s Day: Hallmark is telling me what day, and how, I need to express my gratitude to my mother. The rest of the commercial interests are telling me that I need to buy gifts and spend money to demonstrate my love. I went shopping this past weekend and the signs were plastered everywhere. They tended to fall into one of two themes, a) you should buy this for the mom in your life to show her you love her, or b) if you are the mom, then you should buy this because you deserve it for being so awesome and fertile.
From an infertility standpoint, I have never let it bother me too much. This is probably because we’ve always celebrated with our own mothers and weren’t barraged with mothers of our own generation, pointing out that we are not in this exclusive club. My sister (fellow IFer) spent last year with her husband’s parents and his pregnant sister, 13-month-old niece, and her husband. Now that would be difficult!
She told me this year that she wasn’t celebrating it all and was just ignoring it as a holiday. Part of me felt that this wasn’t fair because just because you aren’t a mother, doesn’t mean you don’t have a mother. It’s one thing to choose not to celebrate your own birthday, because it’s for you. But to choose not celebrate the birthday of a loved one, well that doesn’t feel like a choice you have the right to make. Which leads me right back to the whole coercion thing. We have to celebrate it or risk being ungrateful daughters and sons. Bossy, bossy Hallmark.
C and I are taking his parents out for brunch. He will probably buy his mom flowers also, because he’s sweet and will do this often for her. My mother is taking a girl-friend weekend trip to Cancun, so no obligation there. I am thirteen weeks pregnant. Am I a mother? I don’t feel a need to celebrate this, not on this day or for this reason. I don’t expect anything from anyone and would honestly feel a little awkward if a fuss was made. Perhaps, next year, I will be able to cancel the day as holiday for myself. After all, I don’t like when my loved ones are coerced either.


  1. I think you're right in that there are many different ways to celebrate Mom's, so you can't entirely boycott the holiday, unless you don't have children and your mother has died.

    While I'm wishing only the best for you, here's something to consider as you determine what you want to do this year. I remember my very first Mother's Day: 2009. We were about 7-8 weeks pregnant with Oscar and Bella. Jon asked if he should do anything for me for Mother's Day, and I told him no. They were born and died that July. I wish I would have said yes, so that I could have celebrated my first Mother's Day with the kids that first made me a mother.

  2. I have also refused to pay the whole leggings thing! It also took me a couple of years before I finally purchased my first pair of skinny jeans and I have still refused to go the whole 80s early 90s route in clothing attire. :)