Is it unusual to be disappointed about Mother’s Day?
The Day After Mother’s Day
I’m sure many of us are coming down after the hype of Mother’s Day. Not only is it Monday, we’re all also back in our realities.
Why is it that so many of us feel disappointed after Mother’s Day?
Yesterday, we may have had ‘nothing’ to do in terms of housework or chores, but today, there’s probably double to do.
Yesterday we may have had someone cook for us, but today we’re putting together meals for the family. Yesterday we were expecting a gift or an activity, but today we’re back at it, being Mom.
Yesterday, maybe nothing happened when all you wanted was one little thing.
I totally get it.
The day after Mother’s Day can be tough on us. We wanted one day for a break, but maybe we didn’t get one. We still had to be Mom. We still had to be on top of things so that they didn’t fall apart.
[Before I continue, I want you to know this: no matter how your day went yesterday, I want you to know you are still an AWESOME MOM. No ‘holiday’ will change anything about that.]
I think the feeling of being let down after the one holiday that we get is due to unmet expectations.
When Mother’s Day Doesn’t Deliver
It’s hard not to have such high hopes for a fantastic Mother’s Day when it’s marketed to us as a day for Mom to relax and have others take care of her rather than the opposite. The ads show beautiful bouquets, pleasant children, gifts and gadgets, a day away from kids, a nice brunch, a clean house.
When your expectations of those things aren’t met and instead you’re dealing with kids fighting first thing in the morning or a spouse that only celebrates his own mother and not you or maybe no one to help you at all, you may get discouraged and disappointed.
It’s totally normal.
I have felt this way. I remember feeling resentful on Mother’s Day that I was the one dealing with the kids first thing in the morning or that I had to stop a fight or do the dishes piling up in the sink.
Is there any way to not feel so disappointed after Mother’s Day?
It Shouldn’t Just Happen on Mother’s Day
One solution is to work together with your partner more not just on Mother’s Day, but every day, as suggested in The Curse of Mother’s Day Disappointment. She says, “Moms need partners who pull their weight all the time, not just on one special day.”
This is something that should be discussed before any long term relationship as it’s often an issue later on in the relationship. Women shouldn’t be expected to do it ALL when it comes to the domestic responsibilities. Both partners should try to pull their weight, cleaning up around the home or taking care of the kids, without needing to be asked.
This is something my husband and I have had to discuss often, both before the marriage and every so often. Talking about it even now helps us both to be on the same page and eases the tension that can build up when life gets stressful.
And it’s not just spouses who can help around the home. Kids can help too. Even three year olds can pick up their toys and put them away as needed, just as older kids can .
The goal is to work together for the benefit of the whole family.
(Mind you, I know that stay at home moms, like myself, take care of most of the domestic responsibilities because they are home most of the time. I know that single moms take care of everything. I know that working moms are sometimes expected to take care of the kids and home just because they are women. Every situation is different. Try to find a balance and a solution that works for you and your family.)
Recognize the True Origins of Mother’s Day
Another solution is to recognize Mother’s Day for what it was supposed to be: a day created so that families could spend time with their mothers who had sacrificed so much for them. While it’s origins go back centuries ago, it was created as a national holiday in the U.S. for a day for families to just spend time together.
At least that’s how the woman who petitioned for it to be a national holiday saw it. Back in the early 1900s, Anna Jarvis intended for Mother’s Day to be a personal day between mothers and their families, not a day to buy all kinds of presents and experiences. She did this to honor her mother and the women who sacrificed so much before her. (She actually got quite upset when it became commercialized and eventually disowned the holiday!)
If It Wasn’t on Instagram, Did It Even Happen?
While it’s nice to get gifts or given a day away, sometimes the expectation of those things can lead to disappointment, especially when you see someone else on social media with their ‘perfect Instagrammable’ Mother’s Day.
But what if a mom wanted less or didn’t ask for anything at all? What could happen?
These past few years, I have tried really hard not to have any expectations about Mother’s Day.
I stopped thinking that the kids would actually have a peaceful day. They’re kids, and they’re going to have sibling squabbles no matter what.
I stopped expecting my husband to do everything. Sure, it’s nice for him to do a little extra, but I’m not going to stress about it if he doesn’t do the dishes or laundry that day.
I don’t ask for gifts but instead appreciate anything my kids or husband think of on their own. The gifts that I do receive, if any, are heartfelt, and often handmade. It’s tradition that I buy flowers myself so that we can plant them together for the spring and summer.
This was one of my favorite gifts, even though he told his teacher I like to nap, like A LOT:
View this post on Instagram
(Fun fact: My husband doesn’t ask for anything specific for Father’s Day either. We’ve actually stopped asking for gifts from each other for birthdays and all other holidays too. It has taken so much pressure off of us as a couple!)
If we spend time together doing something fun as a family, cool. If I get a few hours to myself, cool.
The Freedom of Releasing Expectations
I have found this quote to be so true when it comes to Mother’s Day (and really any day):
“When you release expectations, you are free to enjoy things for what they are instead of what you think they should be.” -Mandy HaleWhen you release expectations, you are free to enjoy things for what they are instead of what you think they should be. -Mandy Hale Click To Tweet
It’s like a breath of fresh air, isn’t it?
Now, don’t me wrong. It’s so nice to get a gift. It’s awesome to get time to ourselves. And kudos to your families if they treat you well!
But to expect certain things can set us up for disappointment. I think if we all stop expecting the ‘perfect Instagrammable Mother’s Day’ and learn to enjoy the little things, we won’t be so disappointed.
Because life isn’t always perfect. In the imperfections we can grow with our families, we can find adventures, we can let love and gratitude in.
So if you’re having a hard time today because of Mother’s Day yesterday, know that you’re not alone. Know that many of us feel the same way too.
And know that there’s always Mother’s Day next year to try again.
I hope that your Monday is kind to you, and you find some peace in knowing that despite whatever happened yesterday, you’re still an awesome mom.
Keep on keeping on, Mom.