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Celebrating The 'Other' Mother's Day

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.

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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 Day.

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 is.

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 week.

Me personally? I don’t need a special day.

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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.

Because…firefighters.

Of course, I had missed it by one week.

But hey, there’s always next year.

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