Mother’s Day Ambivalence, The Nineteenth Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal

Janet Zinn
3 min readMay 14

I, like many, have mixed feelings about Mother’s Day.

As a daughter I knew that I loved my mom, and I also yearned for her acceptance, spending far too much of my babysitting money to bask in the momentary approval of an expensive Mother’s Day gift. I’d set up Arlene’s Kitchen, honoring our mom. It was a made-up restaurant in our home with hand-written menus for the family. Nervous about what I might cook, I’d prep all the possibilities from eggs, any type of French toast or bagels & lox. As down home as those brunches were, they were followed by the certainty that my clean-up techniques would be met with inevitable disapproval. No one could make a countertop shine like my mom.

Then when I became an older mother to a young child I wanted recognition. Even as I doubted my own parenting skills, I wanted my family to tell me I was great. Not that it would have landed with accepting ears, but my insecurities yearned for others to tell me I was up to snuff since I wasn’t able to give that to myself. For many years the let-down from those absent acknowledgements felt like a void that remained empty.

There is no such thing as perfect parenting. We all make mistakes because we all have our own personal limitations. Mothers receive the lion’s share of blame while also receiving less than deserved praise. Parenting is a humbling job filled with unexpected challenges, unwanted criticisms, surprising joys, and a myriad of emotional responses.

Many skip this made-up holiday altogether. Whether you’re not a parent by circumstance or choice, others feel…

Janet Zinn

NYC Psychotherapist, writer, wife, mother, & more...