My Mother’s Day was fine. The weather was decent and I was able to mostly do whatever I wanted, which included puttering around the garden, planting a bunch of annuals in pots, and taking a long bath. I changed zero diapers, and reminded my kids on multiple occasions that they could take their arguments about someone’s errant elbow elsewhere because it was MY DAY.
But every year, I find myself bitch-texting my friends about how the day feels woefully inadequate given the bullshit that moms are forced to tolerate in this country every goddamn day, and while I’ve always low-key hated Mother’s Day, this year it felt like a slap in the face. Let’s celebrate the special moms in our lives but let’s fight tooth and nail to repress their right to make decisions about their own bodies. Let’s shower mom with love but let’s not address the appalling epidemic of Black maternal mortality. Let’s definitely not make mom’s day a little sunnier by renewing the Child Tax Credit. Let’s spoil mama but let’s not invest any funding in research to understand the barest basics of the pelvic floor.
Starting in late March, my promotions folder began to slowly bulge with empty promises. Companies suggested mom be “treated” with this bath oil or this cooler or this floral dress, and honestly, fuck them all.
This particular mom did not feel “bright” on Mother’s Day. She felt fucking heartbroken. She felt furious. She didn’t particularly care about “standing out” by way of a cooler “inspired by the tropical tastes and terrains of the Bahamas.”
It’s hard to buy into the unrelenting idealization of “mama and babe” frolicking in nature when our country is engaged in a war against people with uteruses. Sure, I can spend $346 dollars on mommy and me dresses in a Ruby Primrose print “created with ease and movement in mind,” but can I get an abortion if I want or need one?
And if this company selling god-knows-what cares about moms feeling “seen, loved, and grounded,” perhaps they should consider sending an email full of links to donate to maternal mental health initiates like this one.
PLANNING THE PERFECT MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH IS NOT AS STRESSFUL as cobbling together enough sick days, vacation days, unpaid leave, and PTO to enable a new mom to stay home long enough to stop bleeding following childbirth, or to enable a new mom’s C-section stitches to heal, or to enable a new mom to treat her postpartum depression, or to enable a new mom to cope with the seismic identity shift of matrescence.
First, fuck off. Second, give “the best mom” access to quality, affordable childcare so she can stop calling a fucking 10-minute shower “me time.”
This is true. But guess what is gonna help moms get the sleep they need? NOT A FUCKING SLEEP SACK. Access to mental health resources, education, and postpartum doulas covered by insurance would go a lot farther than a FUCKING SLEEP SACK.
On Sunday, I Instagrammed this quote from an InStyle piece I wrote in 2020, when things were perhaps marginally less shitty than they are now which is saying a lot (an old “virtual learning” schedule popped up in a junk drawer the other day and I experienced PTSD symptoms).
The post got a lot of love and was widely shared, which speaks to the fact that so many of us want (NEED) meaningful structural changes to the maternal status quo. As Virginia Sole-Smith wrote, fuck brunch, and truly, this year especially, fuck Mother’s Day.
If you managed to attain the platonic ideal of Mother’s Day in the form of a cold mimosa and pancakes yet still felt hollow, I hear you. If you were delighted by your kid’s handmade card but still felt like crying, I see you. If you were grateful for the bouquet of flowers but still felt like screaming, I am you.