What’s this? One single solitary day of recognition on an annual basis? Wow, it’s like you can read my mind. It’s exactly what I wanted for Mother’s Day.
Back when I was 13 months pregnant and my crotch felt like an inside out cheeseburger solely held together by gigantic cotton underpants, I thought, Maybe, just maybe, there could be a whole 24 hours of half-assed thanking in this for me.
And again, when my nipples were cracked and bleeding and I had to remind myself it’s “not okay” to think about wanting to “slap my infant daughter to the ground” when she approached my naked vulnerable breasts with her gaping gummy vice grip born of the River Styx, I knew it would all be worthwhile if just once a year I could get a handmade “napkin card” that had been phoned in that very same morning.
And most recently, as I sat through what must be my 543rd school team meeting where I had to really commit to not blurting out, “Oh my god kid, JUST LEARN A TRADE” to try to bring all meetings forever to a real and final conclusion, I thought, If I could just feel mandatorily appreciated for no more than a day and in all likelihood about 2-1/2 hours max, all of these exchanges with incompetent school administrators, humorless hard-ass teachers, and genuinely helpful and lovely people who are having their love of working with children slowly drained out of them by the system, it will all have been worth it.
And here we are.
What day is Mother’s Day again? A Sunday? You mean a day everyone else has off anyway? Of course. Perfect.
So let me see if I’ve got this straight — you’re saying that me, a mother, will have the same hours of national recognition also afforded bobbleheads, lumpy rugs, personal trainer awareness, spaghetti, one-hit wonders, Baked Alaska, “hole in my bucket,” cellophane tape, home warranties, “something on a stick,” spiral glazed ham, beer can appreciation, cabbage, cheese doodles, and earmuffs?
Someone pinch me.
Next you’ll tell me something like my personal reward for mentally keeping track of roughly 1,375 food dislikes, dentist appointments, classmate birthdays, theme weeks, other mothers to avoid, parties to coordinate, and snacks to bring to school for whatever the hell they’re celebrating this week will be forcing some kind of garbage smoothie and a charred heel of whatever crap bread no one else wanted to eat past my involuntarily pursed lips with a “Mmmmm-mmmm good” while noticing that the tulip on my breakfast tray bears a striking resemblance to one of only two tulips the squirrels managed to miss in their dippy daffy frenzy, GOD DAMN IT. And I have to smile because pictures on Facebook? And be grateful? And not gag over that smoothie because, honestly, I think there might be canned dog food in it? Or not lose my shit — even a little bit — over that tulip? Jesus, this really is some kind of… a day … isn’t it.
Couldn’t I just lock my bedroom door from the inside, smash my phone, and sleep in forever instead?
No, don’t worry, I get it. If I “complain or don’t well up with spritzy love tears over the meager/contractually-bound efforts of my family then I am a selfish monster who should be grateful to have ever experienced the sublime and life-affirming joys of motherhood that are myriad, ceaseless, and without parallel in the human experience.” And if I “dare to gripe even the tiniest bit it must always, always be immediately neutralized with some kind of pat statement like ‘But it’s all SO worth it’ said through an unnaturally tight smile and with the dissociative stare of a hostage.” Oh, those aren’t my words, that’s actually page 3 of the papers I had to sign before they’d release me from the maternity ward.
I’m trying to think what could really put this whole thing right over the top, though. Just spitballing here, but I’m thinking maybe something about a culture that superficially worships at the altar of motherhood while simultaneously not offering any genuine support or respect, just a whole lot of soft-focus commercials, bad jeans, and sexless minivans? Man, that’s good. Or maybe that same culture could also simultaneously shame mothers who pay “too much” attention to their kids while also screeching “WHERE WAS THE MOTHER?!” every time a child so much as gets a wayward mayfly right to the eyeball while enjoying more than five seconds of unsupervised freedom? Or here’s another one — maybe businesses could just decide for themselves what sort of maternity leave they feel like offering because if capitalism has taught us anything, it’s that self-serving empathy should always be used as a recruiting tool. A recruiting tool for people who are already pretty rich to begin with. I’d like that last one worked onto a Hallmark bordered with roses and white doves, please.
Anyway, I want to thank you all for thanking me on this day of required thanking. Now everyone go outside and play so I can throw up this smoothie and clean the kitchen in peace.