Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hallmark, Mother's Day, and the Sledgehammer of Guilt are upon us

In a few days it will be Mother's Day, the Mother of all the Guilt Trip "Holidays" Hallmark, Kay Jewelers and countless other bloodless corporations like to toss at us every few months.   Which means it's time to reach into our wallets and pay through the nose for Teddy Bears, Chocolate Roses, and all the other pointless, showy junk that somehow is supposed to send the message "I Love You" to the women who brought us screaming into this world.  Not for bringing us into this world, mind you- because performing that service wasn't doing us any favors.  It's for all the stuff she's done for us since. 

Time to remember all those things Mom Didn't Have To Do For Us, but Did Anyway, without Any Thought of Reward.  Stuff like feeding us and bandaging our scraped knees and rubbing Vicks on our chests and keeping Kraft Mac' n Cheese far, far away from the dinner table.   Because we don't usually remember these things until we are reminded by Mother's Day commercials.  Because we are jerks and need not-so-gentle nudges from the Commercial Fairy, and aren't we fortunate she exists to let us know when it's time to spend again?

Anyway, this especially treacly, manipulative dollop from Hallmark tells us that all our mothers really want is to be told that they are important.  Or that they are "doing this right."  Or that they are in our thoughts.  Or that they are beautiful.  Or that we still remember that they exist, at least on the second Sunday in May, promise.  And how do we carry out this For Some Reason Very Important task?  Well, as far as Hallmark is concerned, it's by dropping in to the nearest drug store and grabbing a One Size Fits All card off the shelf and mailing it to her.  Be assured that she'll treasure it forever- or at least, until garbage day.

Because really, there's nothing warmer than a piece of paper upon which is typed a poem, or pithy saying, written by someone who has never met your Mom and never will.  You can make it extra personal by signing your name to the bottom of it.   Does the post office still sell those "LOVE" stamps, because that would be the icing on the cake, wouldn't it?

As usual, I'm going to be 540 miles away from my mom on Mother's Day.   I'm not going to be sending her a Teddy Bear (because she's not five years old) or a bouquet of roses, real or plastic or chocolate.  I'm not even going to be sending her an Approved By Committee Hallmark card.  I'll just give her a call, like I do pretty much every weekend anyway.  Sorry that doesn't add a whole lot to the economy, but I wasn't raised by someone who sees spending money as evidence of love.   I guess I'm just lucky that way, and I chose my mom very wisely.


  1. You'll notice that there isn't an equivalent Big Push on for Father's Day. I think that the reason is, as Cosby said, real easy to figure out. He had his wife talk about how Father's Day is an irrelevance cooked up by the greeting card people but how she spent 4000 hours pushing each of her children out so they'd better pile on the presents, damn it.

    Simply put, it's

    Mother's Day: Guilt :: Valentine's Day : Operation "Get Me Some."

  2. This is my first Mother's Day without my mom. All she ever wanted was an acknowledgement, but it wasn't guilt-based. I had a great mom.

    That said, I don't even care about "Mother's Day" from my kids. They tell me they love me often and every once in a while, they thank me for "raising them right".