Whose Mother's Day Is It, Anyway?

Tuesday, May 06, 2014
It's Kate's first mother's day. She and her husband both work full-time. Kate wishes she could spend more time with her new baby. So she asked her husband if this Mother's Day, they could stay home and relax instead of driving to her in-laws' house as they've done the past several years.

Kate's husband thought this was a fine idea. Kate's husband's mom? Not so much. She was "in hysterics" when she heard, said Kate.

It's a power struggle playing out as Sunday -- Mother's Day! -- approaches. Moms who are now grandmas are used to seeing their children on Mother's Day, why would this year be any different?

Because now their children have children.

"I did not envision spending my first mother's day lugging a million items, renting a car, dealing with traffic, all to be somewhere where I had to pass my son around to everyone," Kate, who lives in New York City, told ABC News. "I just wanted to just spend it with my son, I barely get to see him during the week as it is."

According to a new global study of Skype users conducted by Idea Lab for Microsoft, 58 percent of moms surveyed expect to see their children in-person, but just 44 percent of children actually share the same plans.

And a recent conversation on the topic in a moms' Facebook group where many of the mothers have young children ignited a range of responses. The majority felt now that they were mothers, they wanted to skip the visit to mom's -- or more often, mom-in-law's -- house.

"Since we had kids, my husband and I are firm in the fact that we are celebrating each other as parents in our family, rather than our own parents on Mother's/Father's day," wrote one mom. A few moms did comment mother's day was still "all about" their moms, and they were fine with that.

Suggestions on "how to handle" moms and mother-in-laws ranged from celebrating mother's day on an alternate date, making dinner reservations so the new mom could have part of the day with her husband and child and hosting moms/in laws for brunch so, at the very least, the young family didn't have to travel with the baby and could still stick to the baby's routine, a chief concern among the commenters.

But whose special day is it anyway?

It's all of yours -- new mom, her mom and her mother-in-law. And it's stressful, said Dr. Deanna Brann, author of "Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law."

Of paramount importance to making Mother's day work: your husband. "You can willingly discuss options with him for gifts, outings, and so on, including how the two of you will allocate your time on that special day. But even if your own mother is not in the picture, ultimately your husband needs to learn to honor his mother."

Brann also suggests doing something for yourself instead of, or in addition to, honoring all the other women in your life. "You are doing all these other things for all these other women, so why not indulge yourself a bit? Go ahead and plan some pampering for yourself to acknowledge all that you are-mother, spouse, friend, sister, daughter, and so on."

And if you just can't bring yourself to get everyone together, Babble blogger and mom of two Jeannette Kaplun, said using technology in one way to include everyone. It allows moms to spend "quality time with your own mother and mother-in-law without sacrificing your entire day."

She suggested using group video calling -- like Skype offers for free -- to join everone together at once without actually having to pack the baby and all his stuff in the car.

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