Sorry You Feel Bad. But Don't Tell Me Not To Celebrate.

Sorry You Feel Bad,
But Don't Tell Me Not To Celebrate.

I was debating about what to write on this much awaited Friday. 

Should I go light and fluffy or should I get a little edgy and uncomfortable and maybe a little unpopular? 

So I decided to go with uncomfortable and unpopular.

But don't worry. It's about mom stuff. I'm not leading a march or anything.

Back in April I wrote a post about the Mommy Wars and how I'm over them. So cliche, I know, to write a post about Mommy Wars, you know, being a Mommy and all. But my whole point was really about why we feel the need to compete and why we can't feel secure in our own decisions.

I guess I feel like I see a lot of mothers who are insecure and defensive about their own decisions. I'm not excluded. I'll cop to that. But I've seen this, for some communities of moms, turn into shaming the other side. 

What do I mean by this? 

Well, my post on the Mommy Wars was fueled by a shared article on facebook. I can't even find it now but there are plenty just like it so I'll just give you the synopsis. It was basically a mom complaining that other moms are making it hard for her because of their incessant need to celebrate every holiday. Particularly, in classrooms. 

This mom's problem was with St. Patrick's Day. She claimed that the other mom in her kids' classrooms were making it hard on her because they were setting unreasonable expectations with her own kids. So the other moms were building leprechaun traps, leaving chocolate gold coins under pillows, and making a whole deal out of a somewhat benign "holiday," if you can call it that.

Her main message was asking other moms to scale it back. Her kids were waking up expecting gold coins under their pillow left by the magically delicious leprechaun and they were upset when nothing was there.

So this mom felt guilty. She said she was too busy reading to her children, teaching her children, spending time with them, to follow along with every holiday. So could other moms please just stop with the over celebration of holidays. It was too much for her and too much to let her kids down when all the other kids were getting over the top celebrations that spilled into the classroom.

She got a lot of You go girl! comments. Hundreds. And so did the shared version on facebook. I've seen articles like this everywhere. They're not unique. It basically boils down to a request to moms who do crafty, over the top activities, color coordinated parties, holiday gifting, and the celebrating of every holiday listed on a calendar to stop. Because it makes other moms looks bad.

And my answer is no. 

I believe everything you want to celebrate should be celebrated. Life is short. And parts of life can be really crappy. Why not celebrate? Why not make a big deal of things? 

I don't build leprechaun traps or leave gold coins under pillows. That honestly sounds like a melty mess. But it certainly doesn't make me feel bad if other parents do it. I pick up where I can. I try to leave over the top Easter spreads because I felt like my mom did and it made us feel special. It made childhood feels special. No, I'm not going to stop doing that because other moms don't. And their kids get sad. 

Well, other moms do a library playgroup every Tuesday. I don't do that. They enroll their kids in tennis. I don't do that. My son's friends live in big houses and will probably get cars given to them in the next few years. Probably not my kid. But will I ask these parents to stop? No. 

And, by the way, if you don't feel like doing something, kids can hear the word no. It's okay for kids to be disappointed by not getting melty gold coins under their pillow. Life goes on.

And, me? I bake. I like to give gifts. (I mean, seriously, if you've been reading this blog, you know this about me.) I bring cookies to my kids' school meetings. I bake brownies for the teachers at the end of the year. They got a cake pop bouquet for Christmas. 

And, dammit, we celebrate.

You know why?

Because my kid almost died four years ago. I try not to pull that card often but it tends to keep things in perspective. I will CELEBRATE everything. We will celebrate a random Tuesday with cake and frosting if we want to because that Tuesday for him might never have existed. We'll bring goodies to his teachers and my kids will get over the top celebrations as far as we can afford (which, isn't a lot, believe me) because it's totally worth it to parents who were faced with the prospect of not having something to celebrate. And sorry I'm not sorry if you feel bad about it. 

You know what else happened? Tornadoes hit schools of kids. Evil people try to blow up others at marathons. Life is so fragile and we have a lot of bad and sorrowful parts. Why wouldn't you celebrate the good parts? And if you don't want to, no big deal. But why complain about those who do?

If you feel inadequate or annoyed or whatever you want to call it that other mothers are making a big production about seemingly unimportant events, that sounds like it's your problem. And take a moment to consider why celebrating is so important to that mother. Don't assume it's because she wants to kiss up to a teacher or make other parents look bad. 

She and her children just might rightly deserve it.


  1. Oh my oh my oh my. I love this!

    It seriously is basically word for word how I felt when I read that article!

    And, it reminds me of a favorite line from one of my favorite movies:

    "If you've got a problem, mate, it's YOUR effin' problem."

    Simple but says volumes.

    I'm glad your wrote this. So in the words of those "let's not celebrate it" moms, you go girl. ;)

  2. You go girl! I thought I'd start with a quote from the crazy boring moms. I love celebrating! And frankly, if you want to celebrate, you celebrate! Thank you for celebrating! Thank you for teaching your son that he will not get everything he wants in life. Frankly, when I was a kid, I always wondered why all my friends' parents would buy them Abercrombie clothes and I got mine from WalMart, but you know what? Knowing that I can't afford everything I want right away has made me a better person. Hearing "no" has made me a better person.

    Keep celebrating, lady!

  3. HI, first time commenter, longtime reader. LOVE this piece. We really don't know when our time on this earth is over, so CELABRATE!!!!!!!!!!


    ps.#anonymous #secrecthusband #hashtag.

  4. I want to share this EVERYWHERE! I couldn't agree with you more. My kids cherish the things that make our family special and the celebrations that we choose to have. If others do something else, they know that we love them anyway :) Well written and very necessary dialogue. Thanks!

  5. This is probably the best mommy post i've read in weeks. Maybe months. You only ever hear the opposite of this topic about moms who feel intimidated, threatened or looked down upon. I think as mamas we all give in our own unique ways. You bake? Awesome. Me, I create. I make sloppy finger painting masterpieces with my kids. Every mom is different but contributes just the same. I love this! I already said that. But I do. I love reading other mama's blogs.

  6. Preach mama! These are the mom blogs I want to read! Personally, I wouldn't go nuts with St. Patrick's Day, because I worked in a bar for three years and hate the holiday, however, celebrating a random Tuesday just because? That's what life is about. If you let the small things in life pass by, you're going to miss them later and wish you had spent a little more time celebrating them.

    1. Exactly! St. Padua day isn't huge for us, either. I'll drunk a green beer, dress my kids in green, and go to a parade. But I'm not opposed to anything else fun associate with it. Whatever I choose to do, I sure as hell won't be stopping because somebody else feels inadequate.

  7. Damn, this is good. I couldn't make everything fabulous, but whatever I could do, I did. Cheyenne never had fancy but she always had enough, and because she knew about not having a lot, she gave away half her wardrobe. Whether I did face painting for events, chaperoned field trips, or baked edible planets instead of sending in Styrofoam (the class loved them & I didn't need to store the solar system), I'd overhear snide comments about how nice it must be to have so much free time. I'd politely explain I was a single mom who worked full time (maybe not always politely), and suggest that maybe we just prioritized our time differently. It takes a lot of nerve to get bitchy right after I just turned your kids into Spiderman, did origami with him for two hours on a bus with bad shocks, or fed him. So much negativity when a simple "Thank you" would suffice.

    1. You are speaking my language! Edible planets??? You are awesome! And I planned parties and baked even when I worked full time, too!

      You rock, Lupita!

  8. I love this post. I'm not a mommy, but I think you do what you do because you want to. I have two sisters and both have 3 children 5 and under. All close in age. One sister is a Pinterest pinning, toilet-papering, breakfast fixing elf mom and the other is ...well, your Elf's here go find him. They do what they do and it doesn't bother them about what the other does. I love Chantal's movie quote because the problem is with the one who has it. Bravo!

  9. Yay Shauna- I'm tellin' ya - a book is in your future.

  10. Yes, we celebrate for whatever reason whenever we want. I understand that some moms put pressure on themselves because they want to live up to the "Pinterest expectation." But, like you said, I think that's something THEY need to deal with - I mean that with all due respect. I'm not a "Pinterest" loving mom, but that doesn't make me feel bad about myself. I am very secure in how I do and don't choose to celebrate something. Women need to own their decisions and stop comparing our way of life to someone else's. If a mom wants to stay up until 2 AM making the perfect cupcakes for her kid's class, great. More for us all to eat. ;)


  11. HaHa Shauna!!! I'm not a mom, so I don't feel I should have any say in this. I understand your point girl. It is important to celebrate everyday! Provide the best for your children and give them beautiful memories that they'll always remember. Parents should do what they can and that's all a child asks for. I think society has become too materialistic and there's a holiday for everything. One could definitely go broke trying to keep up with each one. Just do and celebrate what is important to you.

  12. It is important to celebrate everyday because tomorrow isn't promised to us! And I believe that its good for children to hear the word no sometimes so that they can learn about disappointment.

  13. I think those type of moms just feel inadequate and need to make it known that they do things for their kids. But asking someone else not to celebrate something is ridiculous. I do some things over the top. I celebrate May Day, and we are big on Halloween and Christmas, we do the other holidays as well. I don't have much money so I make the most out of what we have, my kids know the word NO. But they get spoiled when I can. Why? Cause life is short and precious and bad things happen and we could all die tomorrow. Cause my daughter was 2 months premature and I missed a whole month of life with my son while I was stuck in the hospital hoping that my daughter was going to be ok. Cause I had postpartum depression and the good ole regular depression rule my life for so long that I missed out on things. And damn it we will celebrate what we want to cause who knows what will happen tomorrow.

    1. Exactly! Everyone had a reason and a story for why theydo what they do. Other moms should remember that before they start judging.

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