Husbands, sons, priests – my plea to you to not ruin Mother’s Day…

… re-posting my most favorist Mother’s Day post. Originally posted May 10, 2012.

Ah, Mother’s Day. Not my favorite of favorite holidays but it’s gotten better. In all fairness the holiday never stood a chance with me. Growing up, my relationship with my mom was strained. So strike one for Mother’s Day.

Then my first ever Mother’s Day as a new mom I mourned the loss of my infant son. Strike two. I went to mass alone and left in tears when the priest asked all the mother’s in the congregation to stand up and receive a special blessing. Note to all you priests out there reading this, for the love of all that’s holy, be sensitive to the women who have suffered the pain of burying their children. No extra blessings at mass, please. For anyone. It’s redundant. You already bless everyone at the end of the mass, and we bless ourselves coming in and out of the church. Not to mention all the grace and blessings received from the Eucharist. We are practically oozing blessings by the time mass has ended. Enough already. No need to make the poor women who can’t have kids feel inadequate either. Sheesh.

Oh, where was I? Yes, Mother’s Day. A got quite a bit of positive responses regarding my advice for men on surviving Valentine’s Day and many of you have written me asking what I recommend for making Mother’s Day extra special. That’s sweet you care so much. I wish I could help you more but my advice is the same. Go with homemade cards and gifts.

Really all women want is a little effort. We like homemade stuff because it’s proof that it wasn’t last minute. How else are we to know if you bought that card last week or this morning at the gas station while you conveniently let us sleep in? If you make it we know you invested a little time and effort. I know how much men hate arts and crafts, I have a son. That’s the whole point why homemade is so special and makes us melt…

You did something for us that required thought and planning and you hated every lousy minute of it but you love us so much that it worth the misery. And we love for it.

I have no idea what the hell I'm doing

It’s not that we enjoy seeing you miserable and suffering. Honestly, I swear. OK, maybe it’s a little funny watching you change diapers while trying not to vomit. We just like to see our men doing the things we think they never notice us doing; like fixing meals, cleaning the house, and caring for children. These acts [all free and 100% more awesome than anything you can buy in a store] say you recognize the hard work we do, understand it isn’t easy, and don’t take us for granted.

Mother’s Day is just about making mother’s feel appreciated. That’s really all we want. I can’t tell you specifically how to make your wife and mom feel appreciated, chances are you already know what to do. You know her best. I can only speak in generalities. What I will do is give you some basic ideas to start with and from there it’s up to you to personalize them.

My Foolproof Guaranteed To Not Leave You Sleeping On The Couch Advice For Husbands:

1- Fix your wife’s favorite foods. Enlist the kids help. If you know what’s good for you, clean up after yourselves or there’ll be hell to pay.
2- Clean the house & do the laundry.. but only if you know how to clean the house and do laundry. Happy Mother’s Day! I shrank your silk blouse in the dryer.
3- Wash her car. Take it to Auto-Bell, whatever, just get the juice stains off the upholstery and the gum out the CD player.
4- Call her single best friend, if she doesn’t already have plans with her own mother, and arrange a surprise outing where she can go to the movies or salon. Or drinking.
5- Take the kids out of the house so she can relax and drink wine in every room of the house. What? Don’t judge.
6- And later at the end of the day when the kids are asleep… bow chicka wow wow. What’s that? After all the cooking and cleaning and policing of small children you don’t have any energy left for sexy time?

My Super Awesome Advice For Sons So They Don’t End Up Being Disowned or Grounded:

1- See advice 1, 2, and 3 for Husbands.
2- Pick the one chore you hate the most and do it without being asked or complaining.
3- Adult sons, especially if you make a point of seeing your mothers only during holidays, shame on you! Stop what you doing right now and call that woman up and invite her over. Then promise to take her to church Sunday. Than make a promise to yourself to see your mother on a regular basis and call frequently. When she’s dead you’ll wish you had. And a hundred thousand curses of Catholic guilt on you!
4- Adult sons, the nice ones that call and visit their mommas, invite her to your home and make the evening special by cooking and renting a movie. Or go by her house and do a chore she’s not able. Cut the grass. Change the oil in her car. Clean the gutters.
5- Tell her you love her.

One more thing, for some general homemade gifts ideas that, if you start now, can be done in time for Mother’s Day heed my advice. I am about to be your new best friend. There is life beyond the coupon book. Don’t do the coupon again this year. Just don’t. Instead look at this website. Save this website. Women spend more hours at this one website than an Irishman at a bar. Make this website your new best friend for gooey sentimental gift ideas. You’re welcome.

Lastly, here is what you can do for me since I don’t have a husband and my sons too young to be trusted with the oven…

Pray the rosary for all the mother’s who have aborted their children. They are still mothers and need to be recognized this day too. For women suffering from post-abortive depression Mother’s Day can more painful than I can begin to describe. One whole rosary for them, please.

That’s all I ask. Thank you.

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  • Rr1481

    Church can be difficult on Mother’s Day…We’ve been unable to conceive the past 6 years & two years ago I just skipped (was Baptist at the time) b/c I knew what was coming. I feel fine about it all now, and have no issue attending mass, but when you’re in the midst of all those feelings, it’s just the worst.

  • Infinitegrace822

    Thank you for the suggestion of a rosary for the postabortive. Mother’s Day is a tough one.

  • Stefanie Vance

    Even though I had a mostly-great relationship with my mom and a mostly-great relationship with my children, this year, I told them to buzz off on the Mother’s Day forced-celebrations.  They all looked relieved.  Of course, Mother’s Day is a working day for those of us employed by our parish (my youngest and myself), so trying to sandwiche in a brunch or dinner is difficult anyway.  But I digress…
    And I do detest the Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) blessings as well.   I know too many women at every Mass for whom Mother’s Day is a painful one (for various reasons).  It is the height of insensitivity to point out the mothers — even when the prayer is that long — ‘for anyone who has ever wanted to be a mother…’  dreaded thing.
    As you pointed out, we all get blessed at the end of Mass — people should stick around and receive it instead of rushing off after Holy Communion for-what-comes-next-on-the-family-agenda.  And Jesus never blessed mothers in a specific way so to do so is unbiblical (I think) 🙂

    end of rant….

  • shana

    One gift I love to get on Mother’s day are living rooted flowers and fruiting plants.  Blue- berries, roses, carnations, lilies – things I can plant and see and enjoy.  My oldest son has bought me rose a beautiful Our Lady of Guadalupe rose and some gorgeous pink shrub rose, both of which he took the time to plant exactly where I wanted them, and every year I remind him of how much I enjoy them.

    Over the years I’ve also been given apple, peach and cherry trees, blueberries, red and yellow raspberries and strawberries, serviceberries and a fig tree.  My husband gets some as gifts, too. 

  • GeekLady

    Just don’t forget. That’s all I care about. I know everything that goes in this house, and that includes whether you remember Mother’s Day.

    That, and maybe the new Avengers movie.

  • Jimmy

    “And later at the end of the day when the kids are asleep… bow chicka wow wow.”

    But guys (if you’ve read as far as the comments), don’t bet the farm on it…

  • D Laviano

    I love that “bow chicka wow wow” makes the appropriate guitar noise in my head as I read.

  • Karyn

    I hope a lot of priests have read what you said about the blessings.  I’m dreading Mass for just that reason.  My mom died in January.  Her birthday and mother’s day are close together.  I know Ill be an emotional wreck, which is not something I like to be in public.  Also, I’m single, never married, never a mom, nor will I ever be a mom.  99% of the time I’m perfectly fine with that, but on Mother’s Day, when I’ve just lost my mom….  

    • Kristen InDallas

      My heart goes out to you. Try a Saturday evening Mass… those always seem to bypass a lot of the fanfare for me, especially since it’s not technically Mother’s day.

      Also, for what it’s worth, finding a way to catalyze the day around someone or something that needs me more than I need whatever I think I need… always seems to help. Whether it’s a retirement home with a lack of visitors, or a big sisters type program for youth, or going full-court-press for a charity or cause I care about, I always feel better if I can give a cause to an especially difficult day.

  • *shutter

    • Neal that is hilarious!  I hate and I mean HATE that stupid liberal/protestant/charismatic ‘All hail the chief’ solute of a blessing by lay people during mass.  It’s almost as bad as having to listen to a choir belt out “I am the lord of the dance’ abusive liturgical song and dance music.

  • Kristen InDallas

    thanks for pointing out what non-traditional moms are going through on this day. In addition to moms who are mourning their children, it can be tough on single moms with young children too. Vibrant and lively and uniquely wonderful (as everyday of motherhood is), but tough when the ideals of sleeping in and breakfast in bed are thrust in your face (hahaha). I know it’s also really hard on a friend of mine who lost his mom young.

    So yeah best for everyone to keep in mind that mother’s day really isn’t just about being a mom, it’s about the relationship between a mom and her kids (cause that’s what motherhood IS). And every person you know has that relationship (for better or worse) and it’s good to think of not only mom, but everyone you know who’s mom-child relationship may have some damage, and who could use that extra love. Preists if they feel the need to extra bless – should bless everyone who has or has had a mother. No one left out and it makes you think a lot more about the role of mothers in terms of, you know, a little thing like life.

    PS- a good tip for single moms. Take your young kids to ChuckeeCheese or the zoo, don’t worry that it’s all about them, just know in your heart that they are trashing the zoo instead of your house and it’s one less day to clean up after. Also, you’ll be in the company of other good mom’s who don’t make you feel bad for not having someone around to spoil you. It’s totally okay to spoil yourself with carousel rides or an extra round of skiball.

  • Jamie

    Please pray for infertile couples on Mother’s Day. I’m dreading going to Mass on Sunday.

  • Janet Butler

    The only problem is the priests who give these special blessings aren’t reading things like this blog. And if you object to the blessing for some reason, sometimes you get an honestly puzzled look, like, “Why wouldn’t you want all the blessings you can possibly get?” So how do we reach the priests who are going at this sincerely with good intent?

    At least I don’t go to a parish where we do the Nazi salute anymore. That always creeped me out…

    • Que Fr. Hudgins  ”
      There is an official, prescribed blessing for Mother’s Day in the Book of Blessings. ” 

  • tcn

    Speaking as one who put up with this nonsense for the better part of 20 years, infertile and not ever to conceive, I can say that it does get better. Eventually you realize that it is a very small cross to bear, in the scheme of things. Were it not for my infertility, I would never have adopted my son, who is the light of our lives. To him, I am “the best mom I’ve ever had!” And that works for me. If the priest feels he must indulge in some sort of silliness, remember that he may have a tough go at Father’s Day, and leave it at that.

  • Seraphic

    Mother’s Day is a secular holiday. It is not a feast of the Church.  

    There was once a traditional blessing for mothers recovering from childbirth, which the Anglicans and East Orthodox still have, called  “the Churching of Women.”  Perhaps bishops could revive that instead of allowing their priests to monkey around with the liturgy in a way that makes some of the congregants feel absolutely horrible and even tempted to skip Mass.

  • Fr. Hudgins

    There is an official, prescribed blessing for Mother’s Day in the Book of Blessings.  (However there’s no rubric for everyone in Church raising a hand, so that’s an abuse).  What the Church allows (and even presents as official liturgy) cannot be disallowed.  Nevertheless, I appreciate this post and how the prayer could be hurtful.  So often as a priest I’m placed in these catch-22s.  So it’s gonna be “How DARE you be so INSENSITIVE to women who [have lost a child…cannot conceive…etc.]???”  Or I’m going to get, “What is WRONG WITH YOU Father?  Why do you HATE MY MOM and REFUSE to pray over her on Mother’s Day?”  Anyone have a solution for me?

    • tcn

       How about waiting until after the final blessing and then saying a simple “Happy Mother’s Day?” And of course, it is May, so a nice shout out to Our Lady during the homily will go over nicely as well, assuming it’s appropriate to your topic. Just my two cents.

      • Fr. Hudgins

        Certainly could do that…it’s a good idea.  It’s a “soft” replacement of the official blessing.  It’s less-formal somehow and perhaps less likely to offend childless women?  It could still be open to either criticism, in my opinion.  Folks find faults quickly and are not afraid to voice them.  Now allow me to be nit-picky about the Liturgy.  I couldn’t do it after the final blessing without violating liturgical law; it would be permissible after the Prayer After Communion and before the Final Blessing. 

        • tcn

           And that is why you are a priest and I am not. 😉

      • Kristen indallas

        Make the blessing about remembering the sacrifices of our own mothers. Point it upward, make everyone in the congregation greatful for being given life. I am a mother… but I’d much rather have a priest remind me that I was a daughter first. It makes me a better person to remember the huge debt I owe my own mother (and father) rather than focus on me me me, all my sacrifices and what I should be “owed”. 

  • Joe Tonos

    I hear and obey, Crescat! Sometimes just following the book has it’s advantages.

  • Barb

    Question:  Is anyone ever happy FOR other people?  I am not uncaring; I understand that is knife in the gut painful to lose a child, and I understand that there are women out there who cannot conceive and feel hurt that they can’t, but does that mean that mothers can’t have a day or a blessing?  Let’s be adults about this. 

    • I agree Barb.  As a former religious and former Priest-to-be I always thought it was awesome to witness the Priestly blessing of recognizing the Mothers in the congregation.  Not everyone is called to be a Mother, but that doesn’t mean that we should be politically correct and not give that ‘oh so special blessing to the women who give life’.  

  • Jes

    Could I just point out that no. 4 for adult sons does not count if you are married and not planning to cook dinner ( or tidy up) yourself.

  • After Divine Liturgy, we sing for all the women in church (typical Byzantine song- God grant you many years….) and then do a ‘parastas’ (short memorial service with wine and challah and chant of course) for deceased mothers, aunts, and grandmothers….and we’ll do it again for Father’s Day…every year- it’s our way