by Jeanne Sager
Mother's Day is back, and it's bigger than ever. Americans are expected to spend between $17.1 billion and $20.7 billion on mom this year. It's pretty clear America loves mom and Mother's Day. Or do we?
This year there's been a backlash like never before against the decades-old holiday. Turning the second Sunday in May into a day for moms has been called out as everything from insensitive to non-parents to torture for folks with absent moms.
Could it be true? Could the day Anna Jarvis created more than a hundred years ago to pay tribute to moms be outdated and cruel?
Maybe not, but a look at the feelings on both sides certainly paint a new picture of Mother's Day.
As writer Anne LaMott, author of Operating Instructions, one of the seminal works on single parenting, opined in Salon this week, Mother's Day puts moms on a pedestal ... sometimes undeservedly so:
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.
For one blogger right here on The Stir, even being a mother doesn't make Mother's Day a happy day. She's found that a strained relationship with her mother makes for a rough time up until the last holiday commercial plays on television:
In the way that single people dread Valentine's Day, those of us with absent mothers dread the first few weeks of May. We prepare for the onslaught of mush and gush by steeling our hearts. I didn't grow up in one of those homes you see on the commercials. My mother was cold. Is cold. She's mean and manipulative. She's a raging narcissist. She doesn't need a Mother's Day to feel special. She has every day to make life about herself.
But it isn't all bad, moms.
As folks across the web have mentioned in recent days, Mother's Day is a happy one for hundreds of thousands of folks -- be it moms who are celebrating their own children or daughters and sons honoring the woman who brought them in this world.
For Laura Rossi Totten, the day isn't about her at all but about her kids. The blogger shared a letter to her kids on the Huffington Post this week the spun Mother's Day in another direction:
Since I don't want to spend the day repeating myself (I do that the other 364 days of the year!), next Sunday, I will silently celebrate each of the 365 gifts you have given me since last Mother's Day. My heart overflows with love when I think about all the things you two have given me!
And as Meredith Gordon points out on Mom.me, mothers tend to spend all year long planning out activities for their families. Is giving them one day to take it easy so bad?
If her family were the "Love Boat," mom would be Julie McCoy, the cruise director who keeps everyone on track. But Mother’s Day is the one of the few days when mom is supposed to surrender her cruise director responsibilities and let someone else, usually dad, steer the ship.
Who can argue with that?
Whatever side people are coming down on, one thing's clear: Mother's Day is a big holiday. Some 92 percent of Americans say they'll be celebrating.
How about you? Do you love Mother's Day or hate it?