Ed: Today the Parent.co team is gathered to discuss Mother's Day. We have three dads: Mike, Ed, and Justin. And three moms: Angela, Sara, and Autumn. And two women who don't have kids, but do have moms who they're close to: Amanda and Katrina.
Many people - including moms - have mixed feelings about Mothers Day. We accept that it's kind of a Hallmark holiday, a manufactured obligation to get us to buy stuff like cards and chocolate and flowers.
But then again, Mother's Day does provide an opportunity to focus on the moms in our lives, to celebrate and thank and appreciate them.
Angela: I think thats my fundamental problem with Mothers Day and Valentines Day. Anytime theres the one day on the calendar it almost creates an implicit excuse to forget about that appreciation the rest of the year.
Autumn: We are sort of teaching our kids to experience the stress of this thing you have to do 'hurry up and get the crayons and feel guilty' and feel all these other things around it.
I dont really care if my kids spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. I dont want my husband to be like You gotta make something for your mom! and theyre like We do?!Sara:Theres a Buzzfeed article of kids' Mother's Day cards. In one a kid wrote 'I am writing this so I can eat.' At school they were like, 'Okay, were going to do this before lunch.'
Angela: I think the only gift that Ive ever gotten my mom that I felt pretty good about was a bouquet of flowers delivered every month for a year. That was an opportunity for us to have a monthly exchange about how much I appreciate her and care about her. Anything to stretch out the appreciation for the whole year.
Ed: Maybe Mothers Day can be seen as another opportunity to teach kids to understand gratitude, how to express it.
Autumn: Basically, I think that we moms want to be recognized. We want to be seen. We want to be seen and appreciated.
Then theres a bigger conversation of how do we help our kids and our spouses understand that a big part of getting through life is saying 'thank you.'
Someone saying 'I know it was kind of a pain for you to leave that thing to go do that other thing to pick up the kids and that wasnt the plan but you did it and thats really awesome. Thats really helpful.'Angela: Its an opportunity to express those things that you feel like you dont get to express. Thats a positive. It helps us remember.
Autumn: Theres also that other layer thats becoming a little noisier year to year. It's a corporate driven, sort of saccharine holiday that puts women without kids into this crappy space.
Either they chose not to have kids or cant have kids or have lost a child. I know you cant be responsible for every person every second of the day, but what does this feel like to these other women?
Sara: Thats what its like these days being on social media. Before, youre might have those feelings on your own, but no one is throwing them in your face every second.
Ed: Its something to be thoughtful about. I wonder if thats another reason why Fathers Day is so much more muted than Mothers Day. Most single parent families are kids living with a mom.
Autumn: I heard Howard Stern say one year, and its so true, 'Why are we doing this whole Fathers Day thing, because for many people Fathers Day is the day you go and look for your dad.' It's cruel but true.
Justin: Unfortunately that probably is true.
Ed: What makes a great Mother's Day gift?
Angela: If my kids have spent time on something and taken care when theyre doing it, I dont care if its functional or not. I would just be thrilled to get it.
But then I would feel guilty when I threw it away. They would say Mommy, wheres that thing I gave you?
Sara: And you'd have to say, 'Heres the truth: it was kind of crappy.'
Angela: I guess for me its about time. Its showing time and appreciation. Either giving me time or spending time doing something, or in some other way a gift of time shows appreciation to me. I definitely dont want or dont expect my husband to get jewelry for me.
Ed: Autumn looks incredulous. Autumn is giving the skeptical look.
Autumn: Thats the tricky part of these holidays, aside from the schlock and the cheese and the precious stuff. Theres often this expectation that you need to do something.
Then, I think theres this dynamic where moms are approached by their partners and its like 'Well, hey, so I didnt really do anything yet.'
Then its your responsibility to either let them off the hook or be the a-hole thats like, Well youre supposed to do something.
I know I definitely dont want to know that nothing has happened yet, and he hasnt really done anything.
That makes it even worse. Because it puts it on the other person. The same with Valentines Day. The same with birthdays. The same with all holidays.
Sara: I think that is kind of a crappy dynamic. It exists because the holiday exists.
Amanda:I wish I could go back to being able to make my mom something for Mothers Day that she would appreciate and love and just coo over.
The biggest thing for Mothers Day even in Google Search Trends is this whole concept of brunch. I like the idea of making food and spending time together, but I dont live near my mom. So Im left with sending flowers I guess. I still want to make popsicle stick art for her.
Mike:In our household, Mothers Day is ironically about relief from being a mother.
It's kind of an interesting thing. You can get away today. Heres a spa day take a break from your responsibilities as a mom. I got the kid. See ya! Take the day and do whatever you want.
Angela: Autumn and I were talking about this last week. My perfect Mothers Day would be to spend the morning with my kids and my husband and to have family time, and to also have some time to myself.
But even better than having time to myself would be to have time with friends. To have time with other female friends.
Sara: I feel guilty when Im out indulging just myself but if Im out with my friends and were shooting the shit theres really nothing thats more fun than that.
Last year in my daughters preschool class they sat down and the teacher took time with each little kid asking a series of questions about the mom. It was so sweet except for the part when my daughter said my job was vacuuming.
Its just a simple piece of paper. Im sure I still have it somewhere but I also took a photo of it. Thats something that is going to be a part of our life. Thats a gift.
Ed: What is everybody doing for their mom or their wife on Mothers Day. Be honest. I'm taking Erika to see "Captain America."
Sara: I cross my fingers that a statement necklace shows up for me. And maybe Ill call my mom instead of throwing her a text.
Amanda: Im on the fence this year. I may make a surprise trip to see my mother. Even though shes been an empty nester for a while, for some reason its really hitting her hard this year. Out of nowhere. I think its because were calling her a lot less. Even though were texting more. I mean she really has a grasp on emojis!
Shes starting to feel more of a physical distance thats unnerving her so I might just make a surprise visit. She will love it because I will have to catch up on like three months of conversations.
Justin: Ill be in Montreal so were gonna have a whole weekend up there.
Autumn:Youll be in Montreal with your wife?
Justin: With my wife and my kids. My mother and father. Sunday when we come back we usually do a barbecue and so Ill do that.
I usually have the boys pick out a way that they can help mommy on Mothers Day and carry it through the week. So its a chore that they pick up through the week. Something to help their mom out.
I have a hard time subscribing to the gifts. I think the thing is kind of a Hallmark holiday. So instead I try to show her how much shes a great mom every day and not just for Mothers Day.
Mike: My wife sent me a link to some sandals. She was like 'This is what I really want,' and Im like 'Okay. Ill get them for you.'
Thats how it is every holiday. Its fantastic - it makes it a lot easier, and it takes the stress out of it. Well go out to dinner, or Ill make dinner for the family and Dominic will do something nice for her.
If she wants the day on Sunday she can do whatever she wants. We dont make a big deal out of it.
Autumn: I was thinking of sending a link for the gift I want to my husband. He doesnt like it because it takes the surprise away. Im like Why are you fighting me on this?
Mike: My wife is like Wouldnt you rather know that youre getting me exactly what I want? And Im like 'Yes.' Shes like Remember the mixer? And Im like Yeah. I remember the mixer.
Shes like, Just stick to the plan.Sara: Ill never forget the mixer.
Autumn: I dont know whats going to happen. I wont be home for most of the day because Im going to New York for a girl party. Ill be home mid-afternoon Sunday.
I want to be like, Hey cool, now were together but I kind want to go from the airport to yoga and then come home and then have dinner. Great, thats it!
I think probably that.
Angela: My husband is going to be gone for work. I dont think he even knows, honestly, that its Mothers Day on Sunday. Im going to be at home with our kids and my mom. And Im happy that my mom is going to be with me on Mothers Day.
Ed: You look convincingly happy.
Angela: I am happy. She likes Mothers Day. The big take away: no special plans except to spend time with my mom and my kids.
Ed: What are you going to do with your mom?
Angela: I dont know. I really meant to make freaking brunch reservations.
Katrina: Freaking brunch, thats a good one for home.
Angela: I dont like cooking.
Katrina:Im hosting a Mothers Day brunch thingy or dinner, I guess. Dinner with my mom and Andys mom. My grandmother.
Amanda: Growing up, it was important to my aunts that they were around their nieces and nephews on Mother's Day. To recognize that they were participants in their lives and had appreciation in that day as well.
Angela: I think when used properly Mothers Day relieves symptoms of neglect, disconnection, the sense that you are not seen. That sort of invisibility thing that we sometimes feel.
I think its a really good idea, and its sad when it turns into a stressful occasion; when theres commercial pressure, or consumerist pressure.
What Amanda just described, that sounded fantastic - generations of women together with their children and their nieces and nephews just to celebrate.
A celebration of the women in my family that sounds beautiful.
Mike: I dont think Mother's Day is bullshit. It creates a focal point for your appreciation throughout the year.
Ed:It probably teaches kids how to show thanks and be appreciative.
Angela: It all comes down to time and sentiment and intention.
Autumn: Wow, we worked it out didnt we?
It’s the New Year, and I have been doing a lot of thinking. I want to say, with all of my heart and all of my soul, that I am sorry. I want apologize for anything (and everything) I have said or done that made you feel less-than or sad or small.
This year I am resolving, with a twist. There will be no diet, exercise, less swearing and drinking, "more church" kind of resolutions. This year I'm simply letting go of the things that are just not productive nor conducive to my life. This is the year I give up several of my hard-earned mom-related titles.
Surround yourself and your kids with piles of magazines and update vision boards for the fresh, new year to come. If nothing else came from this evening together, we exercised our creativity and bonded while reenacting some of the over-the-top advertisements we came across.