Friday, May 05, 2006 | Parentally Incorrect
The day is supposed to celebrate motherhood, but it really is an indication of how well the father has done his job.
A mother shouldn’t have to make her own Mother’s Day plan – it’s like the baby Jesus planning his own Christmas party – but most young kids have no clue how to buy gifts and usually no income of their own for gifts.
So it’s up to Dad to instill the importance of Mother’s Day to the children.
To be honest, I haven’t always taken Mother’s Day as seriously as I should.
Once, I gave my mom a poster of Frank Sinatra with him wearing a sweater that said, “Old Blue Eyes is back.” I think I was in seventh grade and got it for free at a record store in Grossmont Center by going there every week for six whole months.
I’m not sure my mom really liked the poster but I think she liked my gumption when she found out how insistent I was with the record store clerks.
Then the year when I turned 18, I had the pleasure of attending a personal appearance by a porn actress named Marilyn Chambers and, as a joke, had her autograph a photo to my mom and write “Happy Mother’s Day.” She added “Hot lust and licks.”
I don’t know how much Mom appreciated the gift but I do remember her laughing and telling a friend that it was proof we MUST have a good relationship.
My mom died 12 years ago and I miss her every day. I regret that I didn’t pay as much attention to Mother’s Day and what it means. Now, I am trying to make up for it by instilling its importance in my daughter, Alexandra and, when he’s older my son, Owen.
So far, the idea is working better in theory than practice.
I want to do something special for my wife but don’t have two months salary to spare for diamonds. I don’t have two days salary, either.
Alex and I have talked about making Mommy a chocolate cake with bananas and rainbow sprinkles. While that sounds great, I know that if I can’t clean the kitchen to my wife’s satisfaction afterwards, it will negate any “thought” behind the gift.
I’m trying to teach Alex a song to sing to Mommy with relatively simple lyrics, but she’s pulling a diva act and refuses to learn lines like “I love Mommy/ She is the best/ I love Mommy/ For that I am quite blessed.”
Can’t say I blame her though.
However, all the mom songs I like are inappropriate such as “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard, with its chorus, “I turned 21 in prison doing life without parole,” or “Cleaning Out My Closet” by Eminem with its opening line, “Mama, I never meant to hurt you/ I never meant to make you cry.”
Although in my heart of hearts, I want Alex and Owen to view Mother’s Day as an important day of the year – even more than Groundhog Day – but sometimes people push me off course by appealing to my baser desires.
For instance, Hal Runkel, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Atlanta, Ga., believes Mother’s Day and Father’s Day should be abolished permanently because they merely remind parents of how much their lives center on their kids.
Case in point: He says Mother’s Day is supposed to be for moms but a lot of families end up in activities designed to make the kids happy – like going to Chuck E. Cheese.
As he puts it, “Putting your kids at the center of your life makes them self-centered – and then expecting them to suddenly show appreciation one day a year puts a lot of pressure on them.”
Plus, he says parents often feel resentment the day after Mother’s or Father’s Day when things go back to normal and the kids no longer obey them.
I get what he’s saying and the selfish part of me wants to agree with it so I can justify doing nothing.
In a perfect world, every day would be Mother’s Day, but it’s not so I’m going to do my darnedest to make sure that my wife remembers Sunday all year long. Hopefully, in a good way.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who has been called a mother in the past but not in a positive sense. He can be reached at