Today’s guest post comes from Sarah d’Evegnee, who has her MA in Literary Criticism from BYU and has taught English at BYU, UVU, and is currently an adjunct faculty member at BYU-Idaho.  She is also a mother.  When her two worlds inadvertently collide, she quotes Sesame Street in the classroom and deconstructs Dr Suess as she reads to her toddlers.  The most important thing to know about Sarah is that she just celebrated the birth of her seventh child with a Cinco de Mayo c-section and is fittingly scheduled to bring the new bundle home on Mother’s Day.  No angry letters to Mother’s Day this year–mostly because she and the baby get to stay home and soak in the joy of maternal bliss.  Mother’s Day just as it should be.

Dear  Mother’s Day,

Since you’re obviously female, I will talk to you like you’re one of the girls. I totally love you–you know that, right? So, as a friend, and only because I love you like a sister, let me share some things I hate about you.

1) You are always on a Sunday. Whose warped idea was that? I have three hours of church on Sunday. Husbands have meetings on Sunday and we are left to pioneerishly fend for ourselves in a ragged, harried, Sunday morning seizure of church preparations.

Sunday is the most difficult day to maintain an acceptable maternal disposition.  Squishing and squeezing countless unyieldingly chubby appendages into tights and shoes and button-up shirts turns me into some twisted Mormon housewife version of Joan Crawford.

Crazy Sunday Mommy screams, “We’re NOT going to make it!. . . You just ATE your scriptures?. . . How did you get claw marks on your neck?. . . Get ready so we can go to church and learn about LOVE, DARN IT!!!!” in a freakish, shriekish, shaky pitch that isn’t heard any other day of the week! I am so nice on Tuesdays! Why can’t you be on a Tuesday?

2) I don’t like eating in bed. It’s where I sleep. The idea of crumbs in my bed conjures visions of millions of dust mites the Kirby Vacuum Dude described in surprisingly vivid detail coming for a picnic on my person.

3) In bed, wakefully waiting for breakfast, every minute of the wails of, “SHHHH! BE QUIET!!!! MOM’S SLEEPING!!!” is one more minute late we skulk in to church. I’m a terrible mother who can’t even be on time for church ON MOTHER’S DAY!!!

During my horizontal confinement today, I listen to my sweet husband yelling French curse words as he cooks breakfast with six sous-chef-children.  Post breakfast, he guiltily rushes off to a meeting, and I’m forced to rabidly solo-speed-dunk the breakfast-coated kids.

5) My motherhood is a huge bulls-eye today, targeted by MAMMA-Razzi of the endearingly naive newlywed and/or charmingly critical elderly variety. If caught in the hallway at church with a misbehaving child on Mother’s Day, what kind of a mother must I be the rest of the year? It’s all part of my annual maternal report card.

6) Corsages. At church. It’s like some sort of Mom Prom. Under the Mamma-razzi’s stink-eye today, I must look especially put-together, fashionable yet modest, and just a little sassy. Nurturing, yet with-it. But I’ve been held hostage in my bed all morning, leaving me exactly one minute of prep-time! I arrive in a soggy up-do and the same outfit I wore on Friday to teach, and then again to the temple on Saturday. (Three days in a row. I’m awkwardly tardy and probably embarrassingly smelly. On Mother’s Day of all days! Have I no respect?)

7) I’m conflicted about you, Mother’s Day. I secretly LIKE getting a parting gift at church. I feel my neck actually craning to see what kind of loot I’m going to walk off with. It feels like Oprah.

However, because I love you like a sister, today I harnessed my hatred.

After berating my three-year-old for nearly clawing out his brother’s trachea this morning, flash-bath dunking him, and listening to him cry that he was a “Bad Boy” for five minutes, I hollered ‘TIME!” We had exactly fourteen minutes to be at church, in our seats, looking familialy fabulous.

I saw that adorably pouty kid sitting on the floor in his Sunday best, hair still wet from his dunking, and I gave up. My hair was shower-soggy. I was wearing my rainbow pants and my shirt housed more food than Chuck-a-Rama.

The church Mamma-razzi would pucker their perfectly lipsticked mouths and lower my maternal grade, but I was going to sit on the floor and I was going to love my boy. Mother’s Day on my terms.

On the wet floor, I hugged Peter tight and whispered to his curly little head, “No, Peter. You’re a good boy.” I sat with him as the seconds ticked by. I rocked him and held him close, knowing that those seconds in my arms counted more for him (and for me) than for the ladies at church or my report card.

Eric screeched in and saw me parked there in my pj’s not caring a bit. He helped get Marie dressed and sang to her about her shoes.

We snapped photo-ops. I touched Holden’s arm and noticed how tall he’s getting. I memorized the girls bounce-stepping in tandem, hand in hand, Eve calling Marie her “Little Pumpkin Pie.” I told them I was happy just to be with them, even if we were a few minutes late. And I meant it.

Twenty-four minutes late to church, I walked right up to the fifth row with my messy, drippy head held high and my hand in Peter’s.

Oh, how I love being a mother. It was my choice before I knew it was a choice. It is the reason I wake up in the morning, breakfast in bed or not.

I just HATE you, Mother’s Day. Nothing personal.

Love ya! ‘Preciate ya! Don’t tell ya enuf!

-Sarah

May 9, 2011

39 Comments

  1. Sharon

    May 8, 2011

    Sorry – Mother’s Day is agony for me. The only gift I want is one I can never have – the gift of doing it over again, only better – so much better.

    I don’t like being given gifts because someone dictated a day as a “you have to give a gift to her” day, i.e. Mother’s Day; birthdays, etc.

    “I WANT to give her something” and spontaneously throughout the year is where the genuine meaning is; not “I have to” because its Mother’s Day.

    And then the Sunday talks from people praising their mothers while I sit there, silently weeping in guilt.

    Being a mother and grandmother is the best part of me – its what I live for. My children and my grandchildren are my ultimate source of joy. But I did it so poorly.

    And Mother’s Day reminds me of that – over and over and over.

  2. Rachel

    May 8, 2011

    I loved this. Thank you!

  3. Ana of the Nine Kids

    May 8, 2011

    This was funny! Thanks so much! I just told/mildly yelled to two of my children that the BEST gift they could give me today would be to stop arguing. (Barring that, take the tattles to their father to settle!) After a few years of feeling guilty on Mother’s Day I think I have finally settled on a system/view of it that works for me–I consider that all the praise heaped on “perfect” mothers is only one side of the story. There are NO perfect mothers but there are good things people can say about EVERY mother(myself included), so I sit there in Sacrament Meeting and tell myself (and I really believe it) that the people speaking are glossing over the less than perfect stuff about their mothers and focusing on what they did right. (Which is only appropriate on Mother’s Day.) (And if I am wrong about this then I’ll just consider that those people who are speaking are either blissfully un-self-aware or that I am blissfully deluded. Either way works for me.)

  4. Mossbloom

    May 8, 2011

    When I was a kid, we had a Primary President who seemed to be the perfect mom, so sweet, had it all together, her hair was always perfect, she never raised her voice and was always kind and loving, not at all like my mom who would yell and lose her temper and get frustrated. She was an amazing mom, but I thought that she could learn a thing or two from this perfect mom. I remember very distinctly one day when I was 12 or so, mentioning to her son how lucky he was to have such a perfect, nice mom, and he said, “Are you kidding? She’s not like this at all at home. This is my fake mom.”

    That helped me so much to better appreciate my mom, and has also helped me to not be too hard on myself as a mother. I mean, I am sure that there are moms who do have it all together and are perfect all the time. But at least this one turned out to be normal like the rest of us. 🙂

  5. Sharlee

    May 8, 2011

    I love this, Sarah! Brilliant.

  6. James M. Becher

    May 8, 2011

    Sorry for all your negativism, but mother’s do deserve to be honored.

  7. Ana of the Nine Kids

    May 8, 2011

    It is not negativism. It is brilliant satire.

  8. FoxyJ

    May 8, 2011

    I thought this was funny, and a great look at what happens when reality collides with our expectations of how things ‘should’ be. One year I got a beautiful lei for Mother’s Day–I spent all of sacrament meeting fending off my small children who just wanted to grab it and pick it apart. Flowers are nice, but wearable flowers aren’t great for mothers with small children.

    And I have definitely been the ‘Sunday Mom’ yelling at my kids about reverence. For some reason I get that way about scripture study too 🙂

  9. she-bop

    May 8, 2011

    I loved this. Thank you. Our meeting starts in 4 minutes and I have chosen for my mother’s day no to go. I’ll probably make it in time for RS, but that’s about it. We just talked to my missionary child who just arrived in the field, and my emotions have the better of me. All I need is to go bawl through Sacrament meeting. Yea, that would be great. Anyway, loved the post.

  10. m2theh

    May 8, 2011

    My mom hated Mother’s Day, and I did to because she was so cranky about it.

    Fast forward today. My five-year-old daughter was super excited to wake up her mommy, had to have me wear a crown and sit on a special chair while I unwrapped my present. Then she insisted that we needed to make a cake and play party games.

    Best Mother’s Day ever! I now celebrate Mother’s Day as a special day to enjoy the joys of motherhood, and ignore the negative parts. Plus there’s cake.

  11. Jennifer

    May 8, 2011

    Awesome. Well-written, and very true. (The ward I used to be in has NO MEETINGS on Mothers Day, period–none before church, none after church. This should be in the handbook.)

  12. Tiffany W.

    May 8, 2011

    So funny! I loved it!

    On a more serious note, our ward donates money to a local women’s shelter in lieu of corsages, potted plants, or roses. I love it! I don’t need a plant/flower/corsage that will wilt. And the women’s shelter needs the money so much more.

  13. Jeannie

    May 8, 2011

    Today’s sacrament meeting extolled all the virtues of womenhood: patience, charity, no envy, longsuffering, kindness, soft voice, gentle, etc. I then realized I must be a man!!!! hehehe

  14. heathermommy

    May 8, 2011

    yes, there should be no meetings on Mother’s day. In fact the exec. sec caled last night and asked me to pass on the message to my husband that there would be no meetings because “he needed to be home taking care of me.”

    I don’t really think too much about Mother’s day. But as I sat in sacrament meeting I realized this was my husband’s first Mother’s day since his mom died. I cried as the speakers kept saying “go home and call your mom.”

  15. Sharlee

    May 8, 2011

    Just have to share this:

    My husband is out of the country on business this week, but my children (ages 13 to 24) have taken very good care of me today. I told them that all I wanted was a day off (no cooking, no cleaning up, etc.), and an evening musical concert, performed by them. I’m getting both those things, but they also brought me breakfast in bed (vanilla cinnamon oatmeal, prepared just how I like it with bananas, peaches, and almonds; Greek yogurt; fresh kiwi and mango; and a fruit smoothie), a bouquet of roses, a crown (of course!), the BBC production of George Eliot’s “Daniel Deronda,” and beautiful handmade cards that made me cry (of course!). But my favorite gift of all was a new set of pink pajamas which my very bright but sort of oblivious returned missionary daughter picked out for me. She thought the top said “Mommy’s Off Day” (which she interpreted as “Mommy’s Day Off”), but what it actually says is “Mommy’s Off Duty”–and beneath the lettering is a picture of a martini. (“I thought it was lemonade!” my daughter wailed.) The pajama bottoms are covered with pictures of full martini glasses and sayings like “Happy hour!” “Drink o’clock” “Mommy’s little helper” and “It’s 5:00 somewhere!” LOL! I call them my drinking pajamas.

    Happy Mother’s Day, all!

  16. Carrie

    May 8, 2011

    So with you about the Sunday thing and the breakfast in bed! Luckily, my husband knows better. I got to take a nice long quiet uninterrupted shower while breakfast was being made, instead of the tortured ‘pretend sleep’ that always makes us even later.

    And LOVED this:
    “It was my choice before I knew it was a choice. It is the reason I wake up in the morning, breakfast in bed or not.”

  17. Cheri

    May 8, 2011

    Sharlee, I love the pink drinking pjs!

  18. Tay

    May 8, 2011

    Nice. And Sharlee – those PJs sound Awesome!

    All I ever want is a handmade card and to feel thought of. And so far we’ve celebrated differently every year, which has been nice. I did get breakfast in bed, but without the pretense that I was asleep and waiting for it. I was up and about and changing diapers and ate in my bed because it meant that I got to eat without being peppered with adorable questions from my preschooler and squawked at by my 7-month old. Heaven.

    And then I spend most of Sacrament Meeting in the Mother’s Lounge while the baby played on the floor and I actually got to hear what the talks were on. Then I went back and sat with my boys just in time for the closing things and to get my chocolate. Heck yes.

    Thank you for your satirical honestly – and I agree that sitting on the floor with the sad son is so much more wonderful than getting ready for church.

  19. Jewel

    May 8, 2011

    Yes, we were late for church because I couldn’t tell my kids that I didn’t have time in the morning to open the presents they had worked on at school. We went without the dunks and still got the back row.
    But hey, I have a few minutes to read a Segullah post… must be a pretty relaxing evening. Yes!

  20. JK Frome

    May 8, 2011

    When I was Primary president several years ago, we were trying to rehearse for singing on Mother’s Day in church, and the older boys (not surprisingly) were just slumped over in a state of ennui. So, I asked them why they thought we were singing in Sacrament Meeting the next week. I got the usual responses: it’s Mother’s Day; So they know we love them; it’s nice.

    I said, well, most of those reasons are all true, but the real reason is so that the Spirit will be there. I said, “Did you know that some people really don’t like Mother’s Day?” This got their attention. I told them about my husband (one of our teachers) whose mother died unexpectedly when he was eleven years old and so for years M’sD just made him feel sad. How about the women who don’t have children? Either they’ve never married, or they couldn’t have children? There are mothers whose children are doing wrong things and so their mothers are sad, or children who ignore their mothers or treat them badly. There are a lot of reasons why some women don’t like Mother’s Day. But, here they are at church and everyone is talking about it and so Heavenly Father wants them to know that He loves them no matter what. So, our purpose in singing is to do such a great job that these women will feel the Holy Ghost telling them that they are daughters of God and He’s thinking of them today.

    Wow…did they ever do a FANTASTIC job of singing in church on Mother’s Day.

  21. Stephanie

    May 8, 2011

    I was in such a foul mood this morning as I looked for tights and shoes and tried to finish gathering up all my materials for sharing time – all while my husband was at a meeting.

    Our ward didn’t give carnations this year, though. They passed out chocolate to the adult women. I approve.

  22. Cissy

    May 8, 2011

    My favorite part is point #1–that it’s on a Sunday. Spot-on observation, Sarah. With 1pm church this year, I enjoyed a more leisurely morning than usual; otherwise, I’m often a harried mess who barks dressing orders as I put on make-up.

    Congratulations on baby! Love the sweet newborns.

  23. Jennifer Cobia

    May 8, 2011

    Couldn’t agree more. This year I frontloaded Mother’s day with a Tuesday pedicure and new pjs. Worth every penny. Also late to church, sporting wet hair. Been in my pjs since chuch ended.

  24. Kellie aka Selwyn

    May 8, 2011

    Now that is a letter that I’d be delighted to put my name to – sounds like it could be a winning petition too =)

  25. Katie

    May 8, 2011

    JK Frome, so appreciate your comment, thank you!

  26. Emily

    May 8, 2011

    Dear Mother’s Day,

    I love you not for what you do for me, but for what you do for my children. No, I am not a saint, I am a wholly imperfect and flawed mother. Selfish, with more shortcomings and flaws than I can bare to examine. BUT–what you do for my children:

    -The parting gift at church: this is something tangible that my children see. I can see the excitement on my 6 year old daughter’s face as she anticipates what gift you will bring. Today it was fudge. I love fudge. But I’ve had fudge, and you know what? Fudge is fudge is fudge. But to my daughter? Fudge today meant the whole world honoring mothers. Fudge meant something that made her feel special by way of honoring her mother and the other women around her, including her adolescent babysitters peppered throughout the congregation.

    -I love the week before your day, when my children are making construction paper cards with a billion x’s and o’s and “I <3 U" and "MOM" all over them. I do not need these cards, they will be soon tossed in the garbage. But, oh the joy they bring to the maker and giver of these cards.

    -I love the excuse (nay, even the obligation) that dad feels to take the kids out, admittedly late on the night before Mother's Day, to the story to buy some lame gift. This is great because 1) everyone leaves and I get to be home alone, 2) it's Daddy Time, and that is good, even when it is bad (i.e. if Daddy is also imperfect like me, and exhausted, like me, etc.).

    -Mostly, I love that in a world where "scientific" studies are being reported in the media as uncovering the truth about Motherhood: that mother's are depressed and unhappy, unhealthy and unfullfilled, that they regret the decision to have children and if they could do it again they would not do it at all…I appreciate that in this world where I read these studies and listen to them on NPR, and see them reported in my internet search window, that there is a day when the community stops to honor mothers, to communicate a shared value: Mother's are important.

    I can see that Mother's Day makes my son and daughter feel special. I can see that it reinforces for them the special priveledge.

    If I ever think Mother's Day is about me, I will usually be disappointed. When I was a new mother, this was a mistake I made the first few years. When my children became older, I began to realize that it was really about them. It's just a regular Sunday, but with a few nice touches, tokens of love, usually mundane and bound for the garbage can. But hugs and kisses and warm feelings that are very important. Things I wish to remember.

  27. Sharon

    May 9, 2011

    Thankyou, JK Frome. Your remarks plus the most real talk I’ve ever heard given on Mother’s Day today by a sister in my ward who based her remarks on Sister Okazaki’s book, “Being Enough” have tutored me and given me new insights from which to view Mother’s Day.

    Today has been a turning point for me – tender mercies from you sweet sisters of Segullah and
    a sacrament mtg speaker

  28. handsfullmom

    May 9, 2011

    Emily, I LOVE that!

    JK Frome, thank you for sharing that as well.

  29. Paula

    May 9, 2011

    I LOVE this. I have a love/hate relationship with mother’s day too.

    1. I don’t like eating in bed either. The thought of sleeping on crumbs is not my idea of fun. It freaks me out! Just come and tell me when breakfast is ready ok?

    2. I do want a nap on mother’s day or sleep in if we have late church. I don’t want to be woken up by children arguing. Actually I don’t ever like being woken up by children arguing.

    3. If you want to make dinner that is fine but please clean up after yourselves. Do I need to say more?

    4. I love being a mom and all the fringe benefits that come with it. I love getting a hug and cards from the kids for mother’s day. It is so nice to get those things other days too. A card or note keeps me going for the days when mothering is just hard.

  30. marla

    May 9, 2011

    emily — i loved your comment! you are a writer. that was beautiful.

    to the crazy man who commented, please seek therapy for a sense of humor.

    Sarah d’Evegnee — that was so entertaining and very well said. thank you!

    jkfrome — very well said. i told the kids to pretend like they were singing to mary, the wonderful mother of Jesus. they settled down for about 2.5 seconds and then it wore off. i’ll try your idea next year 🙂

  31. JM

    May 9, 2011

    The best Mother’s Day gift we could get from the ward would be a Sacrament Mtg. only Sunday.

    Can so relate to your Sunday experience, except, do you really have that many judgmental women in your ward? We all have a few, but nobody should be that worried about how well they measure up in the mommy points. I would contemplate moving.

  32. Anna M

    May 9, 2011

    great post. It’s all love, Mother’s Day. Even though you’re kind of distressing.

    My 7yo son was SO excited when we all woke up. He asked, “What are you making for Mother’s Day breakfast?” I told him he could have cold cereal or I’d make him an egg.

    “Mom, it’s a special day. You need to make something INCREDIBLE for breakfast.”

  33. Melissa M.

    May 9, 2011

    Anna M, lol.

    I didn’t get breakfast in bed and, though I had to get ready for church and wouldn’t have had time for it anyway, I missed the gesture.

    The best part of Mother’s Day for me yesterday was talking to my missionary son. That’s hard to beat.

  34. Laurel C.

    May 9, 2011

    A wonderful post! I loved it! (Maybe it’s because I feel the same-exact way about breakfast in bed. Gah!) Wonderfully written… I love your humor.

  35. Andrea R.

    May 9, 2011

    Sarah,
    I loved your post so much that I put a link to it on Facebook, and I wanted to tell you that I got so many positive comments from friends who are not of our faith. It’s not just Mormon moms who have husbands who go off to meetings leaving breakfast detritus in bed and messy fighting children for the mom who has to herd everyone into the chapel 24 minutes late. Everyone can identify with the love/hate relationship with Mother’s day.

    Excellent post!

  36. Barb

    May 9, 2011

    Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion but I think some out there like the day. This was pretty funny and I know it is satire. I especially like the “mom prom” part.

  37. Sarah d'Evegnee

    May 10, 2011

    THANKS for all of the comments. I laughed; I sighed; and I got such a kick out of many of them in a variety of ways!
    As one of my favorite authors (who was quiet and saw the benefit of dark humor like I do) said, “Only if we are secure in our beliefs can we see the comical side of the universe.”
    — Flannery O’Connor
    I’m so thrilled that some of the readers recognized the intentional humor in this! At least now I feel a kinship with Jonathan Swift in new ways. It’s true. I hate Mother’s Day about as much as we should take Swift’s suggestion to make a smorgasbord out of our young seriously! Thank you to those who recognized the subtle transition in tone from the first part to the last and appreciated that the last section is where the true meaning was created!

  38. Ana of the Nine Kids

    May 10, 2011

    Sarah! I just realized that you are in my parents ward in Idaho! (Reed and Donna Nielsen?)

  39. jess

    May 12, 2011

    I took several classes from your husband at BYU-I – and I can imagine all the things you said. (I took his “family through literature” class, so I feel like I know stuff about you and your kids.) Congrats on your 7th! What an amazing feat (which could also be “amazing feet” since you have so many to shoe, and shoo….I’m getting carried away).

    The only time my Mom curses is on Sunday’s. It’s a good day to do it on cause you get instant forgiveness in a cup. Great post, I’m glad I got to read it!

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