Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day--A Cash Cow for Hallmark?

Did you know that Mother's Day dates back to the 16th century, whereas Father's day is a late 20th century invention? One COULD deduce (or not) that this is a classic case of gender inequality, which took 400 years to rectify. (are you snickering yet?) According to the preeminent, omnipotent source of Wikipedia, Mother's Day owes its origins to several long standing traditions in Europe and the UK where a specific Sunday was set aside to honor motherhood and mothers. Traditionally the day was marked by the giving of token gifts and the relinquishing of certain traditionally female tasks such as cooking and cleaning to other members of the family as a gesture of appreciation.

I am curious as to when this part of the tradition disappeared? I fantasize about the day when I might relinquish my traditional female tasks of cooking and cleaning. You might be shocked to learn that I don't live in an egalitarian household. Or you might relate to most other women I know who are in the same boat and can't jump ship due to piranha-infested waters. 

Or you might be one of those psychoanalytic judgmental types who say I'm complicit in my domestic drudgery. By cooking and cleaning for my family, I'm encouraging co-dependency. I assure you that I have tried going on-strike and it doesn't work. If I don't make the kids breakfast and lunch, they won't eat or they'll eat out of vending machines. They will develop scurvy from lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. They will become carboholics. I let the dishes pile up in the sink, thinking that their guilty consciouses will kick-in and inspire a domestic urge for cleanliness, if not sanitation. Alas, it is just not the case. I cave when the stink bug infestation threatens to take over the kitchen. 

But I digress. Back to mother's day. I confess to a loathing of sappy sentimental greeting cards. (sorry mom--no offense) Write me a letter and tell me how great I am. Save the $5 on the canned, superficial sentiments, which Hallmark guilts us into buying to show our deep love and profound devotion. Who writes these things anyway? I am thankful that my husband and children did not succumb to the pressure to purchase such dribble. (I always feel guilty after 'trashing' those cards--perhaps ann landers could counsel me on the appropriate length of time before they get 'recycled'. )

Now on to my mother's day. My slugs posing as children slept until approximately 5 minutes prior to departure for church. No breakfast in bed for me. I thought brunch after church might be in order (with mimosas--light on the OJ). But the hubby had 2 soccer games and one kid had field hockey. So we went for bagels. Unfortunately we drove to a brusters and not a brueggers. Brusters is icecream, not bagels as well as closed on sunday mornings. We drive around madly and find a cosi, which has SQUARE bagels. We get bagels and skarf them down in the car in the five remaining minutes before church. (sadly no mimosas on the menu) Then I went to work--which was better than having to chauffeur kids to sports events. 

Back to the mother's day tradition--token gifts. It's ungrateful to complain, but it's illegal to double-dip. Just ask my Uarts students. So technically the U2 tickets can't count as anniversary AND mother's day. The ipod is great, but was free from amex. And I bought my own plants and planted them--so that shouldn't count, right???

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