Mum’s the Word: It’s Time to Take Back Mother’s Day

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Last year I had the perfect Mother’s Day. I went for a run followed by a 90-minute massage and spent an hour on the couch watching an episode of Mad Men. It was everything Mother’s Day should be — but on a Wednesday.

Why on Wednesday and not on the traditional day dedicated to mothers, you may ask? Because Mother’s Day is not for mothers — it’s just another day for mothers to make their families feel good.

Traditional Mother’s Day is never about what a mom wants — it’s about letting kids honor their mothers. That means that if your 14-year-old wants you to help him make pancakes for you – that’s what you do. And if your 18-year-old wants to go for a run with you, you let him tag along knowing that he will be bored about a mile in and run ahead of you or at least run backwards and in circles around you because he’s 18 and on the track team and your three-mile jog is basically a warm up for him.

And, of course, you need to worry about spending time with your mother and maybe your mother-in-law and that takes up a big chunk of the day.

This year, my 14-year-old has a soccer game on Mother’s Day — that means that, for me, Mother’s Day will end at noon, shortly after I finish washing the dishes from the family brunch.

To be fair, my husband has warned me not to offer to have a Mother’s Day brunch at our house, so I take full responsibility for the way it turned out. It doesn’t make it better.

I’m not alone with this. I took a very unscientific poll of my friends and neighbors and eight out of the nine mothers that I asked said that mother’s day is…meh.

It’s time to take back Mother’s Day.

One solution, proffered by Madeline Levine – author, educator and proponent for mothers everywhere — is to simply change your family’s mindset. In her piece, “This Mother’s Day, Prepare For a Letdown,” published a couple of years ago in the Huffington Post, she suggested that moms walk away from the bleachers and stop being overly involved in their children’s lives. She suggested that moms reorder their priorities and allow themselves to take a day off.

Great idea, but that may take too long. As Levine noted, unwinding a long-held tradition is difficult. So, why wait?

A quicker alternative, proposed by my friend, Anna — mother, teacher and side-kick — is for moms to pick a different day for Mother’s Day but not tell anyone else. Like Wednesday, May 14, or Thursday, June 26.

Sure, you could just call it a day off, but where’s the fun in that? This would be the real Mother’s Day — complete with the freedom to do whatever you want to do without feeling guilty.

The problem, of course, is that the date would have to change from year-to-year to prevent anyone from catching on. (Think about it, if mothers everywhere suddenly took every Sept. 28 off of work or scheduled massages or stayed in bed to read, people would eventually notice a pattern.)

So, I propose that we mothers schedule the real “Mother’s Day” on the second Thursday after the Harvest Moon or Oct. 11 this year.

Are you in?

Just remember, it’s our little secret.

Connie Lissner is the founder of lifestyle blog i suck as a parent. She’s a writer, lawyer, wife, and more importantly, the mother of two teenaged boys. When she traded in her briefcase for a diaper bag she actually thought that her negotiating skills and cross-examination expertise would be helpful in raising kids. They weren’t. They became even less useful as her little ones grew into teenagers with some serious negotiating skills of their own. She’s given up on trying to control her children and is now focused on trying to raise thoughtful and independent kids who will hopefully not repeat all of her mistakes. She started her blog to set out all the ways she fails her children on a daily basis. Connie can also be found writing for, various local Chicago magazines and in the recently released book, Not Your Mother’s Book…on Parenting. Visit her blog, or follow her on Twitter@MotherInferior1.

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