Mothers Day Expectations vs Reality

The Disappointment of Mother’s Day That Many Mothers Feel

The disappointment of Mother’s Day is a real thing. Mother’s Day is all about celebrating moms but for many, it falls flat. This can lead to disappointment, resentment, and feeling like all hard work we do isn’t appreciated.

What We’re Led to Believe

As mothers, we’re led to believe that Mother’s Day is going to actually be a day all about us.

A day where things will actually go right.

Our kids will actually behave, use manners, won’t fight, and will give us hugs.

Partners will bring us breakfast in bed, make other meals of the day, help with the children, and overall parent more than they usually do so we can have a well deserved break.

We feel we deserve this day, this one day, to actually be celebrated as mothers.

Especially by those who made us mothers.

Truth be told, we DO deserve it, it just sadly doesn’t happen that way for many mothers.

The Way it Really Is

Often, what really happens, is Mother’s Day is forgotten by children and partners.

Leaving them to feel like an empty shell of themselves.

For others, Mother’s Day is remembered but not celebrated.

For others still, they celebrate our own mothers and do what they want to do for the day but they themselves aren’t celebrated. It’s still all about their moms.

Often, the day might start out fine but within an hour of them getting up, they’re drinking cold coffee because they had to spend the last 45 minutes dealing with constant fights between siblings, tantrums, crying, and a partner who sits there and plays video games only upset that the kids are loud and disrupting him, not paying any attention to the fact that mom is dealing with all this crap on what is supposed to be their special day.

On Mother’s Day moms often feel like they have to put on a happy face, pretend like everything is great, and pose for photos with the kids, when all along the thing they want most is just some time to themselves to do something that they find enjoyable instead of what everyone else needs or expects.

Even the photos are annoying because the kids won’t just sit there or stand there nicely for a photo, they have to be running around, bumping into each other, causing fights, and often injuries to mom.

Or moms are left thinking of the mothers they never had.

The mothers that weren’t around for them, weren’t like ‘the other moms’, or simply left all together.

They’re left thinking of their mothers who have passed on or who are still with us but don’t know what Mother’s Day even is anymore because Alzheimer’s has taken over their brain, like the case of my mom.

Some are left childless because their children were taken too soon, they struggle with infertility, miscarriage, or other ailments that have made it difficult to become a mom.

Others aren’t moms because they haven’t found the right person to become a mom with. Today is a reminder that their biological clock is ticking and they are sad it may never happen.

Others aren’t mothers by their own choice, because one doesn’t have to be a mother to be happy or fulfilled. Yet so many don’t get that and on this day they get asked everywhere they go if they’re a mom, they get wished Happy Mother’s Day and they have to make the choice to either just pretend and say thanks or to explain their situation (which they don’t owe anyone an explanation, by the way!)

All in all, often Mother’s Day…

It isn’t what they had hoped for.

It isn’t what they expected.

And it’s frustrating, incredibly frustrating.

rose on ground

I See You, Disappointed Mom

I see you, I hear you, I notice you and the fact that Mother’s Day didn’t turn out as you’d hoped.

One thing I learned many years ago was to have extremely low expectations for any holiday, especially birthdays and now Mother’s Day.

Too many times I’ve been let down so now it’s just easier to not expect anything and if something nice does happen, then great! If not, I’m still sad and disappointed, but not as badly if I had built it up to be something more than it was.

The crummy part, is no matter if we have high expectations or not, we as mothers DO deserve at least one day a year where we are celebrated.

Our kids put us through a lot, no matter how perfect many pretend life is, it’s hard being a mom.

Realistically, a child won’t change their overall personality for one day because it’s Mother’s Day, but hey, they could at least try! (ha!)

I see you, I hear you, and I’m sorry if things didn’t go as you had hoped.

You are a great mother, you do deserve a special day, and I hope your kids at least can give you a hug today, if nothing else.

Sad mother on mothers day

The Way it Really Is for Me

I wrote this based on a lot of what I’ve seen as I peruse social media on Mother’s Day.

I feel for the moms who are so let down and feeling unappreciated, and wanted them to know they’re heard and that I care.

My kids started off Mother’s Day weekend with putting sand from the sand table in their brand new hats and then putting said hats, filled with sand, on their heads and walking into the house to eat dinner. They were in the garage when they did this, while my husband and I were making dinner, so we didn’t know until I went to the bathroom and there was sand all over the toilet.


So in addition to doing dishes after dinner, I also got to spend time vacuuming, yet again, even though I just did yesterday, because now there is sand all over the house.

I have to admit though, my husband typically does a great job at ensuring I have a decent mother’s day, and has the kids make things for me, etc. I’m very fortunate.

Though typically, the kids find one way or another, or many ways to thwart his efforts. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids but just wish they could fight a little less and scream a little less, for just one day.

But alas, that just isn’t reality.

I realize so many mothers are forgotten on this day or hurting, so I wanted to write something to show that I hear you and you’re not alone.

My kids being goofy as I was trying to take a nice mother's day pic with them  - well at least they're happy at that moment...

Setting Expectations & Clear Communication

I’m not saying this will fix everything and I realize that for some partners, no matter what you do or say won’t change the lack of appreciation on this day.

However, it can be very helpful to tell your partner what you’d like and expect for events such as Mother’s Day.

I realize it’s frustrating to have to do so but remember that they can’t read your mind.

I also realize that there are many moms out there who do tell their partners what they’d like, such as time to themselves, a warm breakfast, etc. but their partners don’t care and don’t deliver.

At least you tried to communicate what you’d like.

I’ve found that I need to be open and honest when telling my husband what I expect for a holiday such as Mother’s Day and over the years he remembers most of my expectations. I don’t have high expectations, pretty basic, and he has expectations for Father’s Day as well.

Not saying that either of us knowing what the other is hoping for means the day is perfect, I mean come on, kids are involved, but better than when I would just hope he could read my mind.

Again, I do realize that most partners aren’t as receptive and that’s even more disappointing.

And that it’s even more difficult when you’re a single parent and don’t get recognized at all.

Wanting Time Alone

It’s ok if all you want for Mother’s Day is to be alone. Honestly, that’s what I ask for every year.

I have every Sunday off to recharge my always overwhelmed and exhausted introvert self and work on my business, uninterrupted. Mother’s Day, and may other holidays, fall on Sunday and I’ve learned to KEEP that as my day off because I deserve the time.

I typically will visit my mom the day before and will spend time with my husband and kids sometime on Mother’s Day but for the most part, I have the day off, which is great.

It’s even better when I have the day off AND the house to myself, like I will this year.

I felt kind of bad, mainly because my husband was giving me a hard time about it, that I want time to myself and a quiet house for Mother’s Day but then I saw on social media that many women want the same thing.

So here I am saying to you, it’s ok if you’re one of those moms who just want a day off, a quiet house, and a hot cup of coffee for your special day. I’m with you.

Big hugs to you if you’re reading this because your Mother’s Day has flopped hard. You deserve to be celebrated and I’m sorry that you weren’t.

Mother's Day expectations vs reality

Founder, Professional Blogger at The Way it Really Is, LLC | [email protected] | Website

As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.


  1. Leslie May 8, 2022
  2. Chantal May 9, 2022

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