A few weeks before Mother’s Day, a good friend and fellow
adoptive mother sent me an e-mail. She wanted to know what I was planning on
doing for my daughter’s other mommy on Birth Mother Appreciation Day.
I’ll admit to being momentarily thrown off. I had never even heard of such a day. And
while I whole-heartedly appreciate and love the woman who is solely responsible
for making me a mother, something about this felt off.
First of all, birth mother appreciation day is the day
before Mother’s Day—which felt awkward in and of itself. She is a mother. Not
only to the three children she works hard to raise to the best of her
ability on a daily basis, but also to the daughter she has entrusted me to
raise and love. I have never been a fan of the term “birth mother,” because I
can’t help but feel as though it in some way diminishes her role in this
incredible child’s life. For the same reasons I wouldn’t want to be primarily
referred to as an “adoptive mother.” I am a mother. She is a mother. Period.
On top of that, I had already been working diligently on
something special for her birthday the following month, and I honestly wasn’t
even sure she had heard of this whole “birth mother appreciation day” herself.
I was willing to bet she hadn’t, and that the whole thing might make her a bit
uncomfortable if I went out of my way to recognize it.
So after a bit of soul searching, I decided this was one
made up day I just wasn’t going to honor. Not because I don’t appreciate her,
but because the whole thing just felt a little uncomfortable to me. Instead,
I acknowledged and sent love to her on the real Mother’s Day.
As I was in the midst of contemplating the odd mix of
feelings surrounding this random appreciation day, I remembered the day I had
turned to Facebook and noticed everyone I knew posting photos and tributes to
their siblings: April 10th—which is apparently National Sibling
I remembered feeling the same confusion surrounding that.
Was I supposed to call my brother on this day? Was this a thing he knew about but I had somehow been in the dark?
Probably not, I
had guessed. And I further assumed he would make fun of me if I tried to
acknowledge it to him personally—because that’s kind of how our relationship
I started to post a picture of the two of us together,
because it seemed like the thing everyone else was doing and because I really
do love and appreciate my brother. But I wound up deleting it before sharing it
with the world. Again, something had just felt odd and forced about the whole
thing. I love my brother every day. A random designation on the calendar for
me to share that appreciation just didn’t seem all that genuine to me.
Seriously, who is making these holidays up?
Flash forward to the week before Mother’s Day. My daughter’s daycare sent out the monthly newsletter, and there in bold print was a reminder of Childcare Appreciation Day. Again, something I had never before heard of.
I thought maybe I was in the dark because my daughter hadn’t been in care this time last year, so I asked my friends with children if this was a legitimate thing. They were split pretty evenly down the middle between those who had and had not heard of this day. When I asked for suggestions of what I was supposed to do, many mentioned gift cards.
The problem is that my daughter has, at any given time, eight different teachers who interact and work with her. Gift cards for each of them would have quickly burned up the single mommy budget I work so hard to adhere to. I wanted to appreciate them. I wanted to show my love. And I certainly wanted to avoid being the only mommy who didn’t do anything.
But again, this just felt a little forced.
In the end, I made cookies and wrote personal notes to each of her teachers. I wanted them to know how much I truly do appreciate all they do for my little girl. But I couldn’t justify breaking the bank to do it.
That same week, a few random posts about Military Spouse’s
Appreciation Day popped up in my feed; so I made a concerted effort to send
love to those friends of mine who have husbands in the service. Then I noticed all
my nurse friends posting odes to themselves all over Facebook. Apparently it
was Nurse Appreciation Week as well. But that wasn’t all. I subsequently
caught a conversation about how it was also Teacher’s Appreciation Week, with the running attitude of this conversation
seeming to be, “Don’t they think we deserve our own week?”
All I could think was… who are they?!?
Seriously, who is making these holidays up? And why have we
all suddenly decided to comply? Some creative genius at Hallmark deserves a bonus.
It is not that I don’t believe these people all deserve
appreciation. They do, absolutely. But isn’t it getting just a little
overwhelming to have every day of the calendar designated to celebrating or
honoring some other person or profession? I heard from one friend who told me
the lab assistants at her work were miffed they hadn’t been celebrated on
administrative assistants day, and I just thought…why?
I don’t get it.
You chose the profession. Presumably, you are there because
you want to be. Why do we need to have a separate appreciation day or week or
month to applaud people for sticking with their chosen career paths?
Why can’t we just appreciate each other on a daily basis? It would be so much better to just treat
each other with kindness, respect, and yes—appreciation—every day of the
Which is a good thing, because looking at the list of bizarre holidays—it
would seem as though most of them are already taken up.
Including Firefighters Appreciation Day. Which yes, I did
intentionally look up after being bombarded by all these other days at once. I
figured if I’ve got to appreciate everyone else, this single mommy could
totally handle bringing a plate of cookies to the firehouse.