Mother’s Day grosses $21.2 billion in consumer spending and it’s now the third largest dollar holiday behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day. The top three expenditures are restaurant meals, flowers, and cards, according to the National Retail Federation.
But it turns out, moms don’t always want flowers, a cute card, or a meal out with the family.
Here are a few choice, very real, Mother’s Day wishes and true tales from moms themselves.
Anne Lamott, author of the amazingly candid memoir about motherhood, Operating Instructions, wrote a famous 2010 Salon piece titled “Why I Hate Mother’s Day” in which she explains unsentimentally she wants nothing for Mother’s Day, and why the whole myth about mother love is inherently destructive:
“Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path. Ha! Every woman’s path is difficult, and many mothers were as equipped to raise children as wire monkey mothers. I say that without judgment: It is, sadly, true. An unhealthy mother’s love is withering.”
And here are some Mother’s Day memos from the less famous people in my life:
“My 13-year-old daughter took me for a trapeze lesson on Mother’s Day.”
“A few years ago, my then 15-year-old son made me breakfast at 5am on Mother’s Day when he knew I had to get up early to take his little sister to an all-day volleyball tournament.”
“One Mother’s Day I pulled up to the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru kiosk early in the morning with my middle schooler, who said “Mom, what are you doing?” I was ordering into the extended neck trash can!”
“When my three kids were little, my then-husband took our older kids out for several hours to give me some peace and quiet on Mother’s Day; before he left, he locked me in the basement, while our baby slept in a crib two floors above me.”
“Happy Mother’s Day to you too! It has been a crazy day. I had to bake a birthday cake for my son and prep dinner for his birthday celebration tonight. Then my dad called on his way to the ER because his gut is bothering him. In between, I splattered lasagna sauce on my white shirt and dropped an egg on the floor. I also spilled my water bottle all over myself. I think someone should take the keys from me!”
“Returned at midnight from a family trip to Aruba, where everyone had rotovirus, but me. I spent Mother’s Day doing three hours of food shopping, free from vomit, laundry and diaper duty. Best Mother’s Day ever.”
As for my Mother’s Day, my kids made me an outstanding breakfast – far better than anything I’ve ever cooked for them. I only had to nag them three times to clean up the kitchen afterwards. I went to a killer barre exercise class and took an hour nap, alone for once. My 13-year-old daughter then took me horseback riding in the afternoon. Bliss.
In between all the relaxing, pampering stuff, I had to unplug a disgusting toilet and clean up a mountain of dog vomit from my favorite Persian rug.
Pretty typical. Pretty wonderful. I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything.