Monday, May 12, 2014

Mass Appreciation

I don't know if it's noticed or not, but I tend to ignore holidays when it comes to my blog. I'm not a fan of holidays in general, but that's another story. In the simplest terms for now, it will suffice to say that they're just another day. We do our thing, fly by the seat of our pants, and you never know where we might end up for any of them. That's the long and short of it. I don't get all sappy about them and I'd be fine to ignore them altogether.

I'm pretty sure I cared more about holidays when my life was kind of messy and they were something to look forward to doing something special or different. Or when I was dating someone that was kind of a dick the rest of the time but I had a better shot of him not being a dick on a holiday. Now that my life isn't messy and I'm not spending my days with someone who is a dick, I'm less inclined to be bothered with the hoopla surrounding holidays. And with a small child, holidays mostly signify days that I still have to work so I need to jockey babysitting because school is out.

But, I'm not here today to talk about holidays really. I'm here to talk about appreciation. They are way intertwined, if you didn't know.

I've been on message boards since they were invented. In the 90's. I spend a lot of time talking to my online friends. Every single holiday that comes up, the inevitable questions of the what, when, where come up. Along with the "What are you hoping you get?" or "What are you hoping to do?" inquiry posts. And every single time I know what is going to happen. There are going to be a decent number of the women that are going to be let down. Especially when it's Mother's Day.

Hey! It's NOT. ABOUT. THE. GIFTS. The material things. Ok, well, maybe for some it is. But not most of these women. It's about appreciation. Or lack of it. And it's huge. It starts like this. Someone posts what awesomeness they got or was done for them. THEN... :::cue the sinister music::: comes the post about who was disappointed, angry, got the shaft, etc. "Who didn't even receive a card?" is somewhere in there. And I'm always amazed at how many there are.

I'm not one for forced intimacy or feeling. But dude. If you're a decent mom in any true sense of the word, which I believe all of them to be, you deserve a card. Then you have ones who excuse the behavior by saying, "that's just his personality", "he's not into cards or that sort of thing". No, no. One mom told another she should look at the bigger picture and as long as he's great in every other way, then he should get a pass. Again- NO. Not being able to just pick up a card is a huge character flaw. HUGE. We live in NJ, not Little House on The Prairie. There is a CVS on every corner. But beyond that, it's knowing your audience. If you think it would make your spouse feel good to receive a card, then that is JUST WHAT YOU DO. Not everyone wants that. One woman would kvell over a bouquet of flowers, where as I would probably burst into tears. Why? Because it would mean my husband didn't even know me. Or care what would make me happy. Luckily my husband is fully aware that I can't think of anything I'd want less than flowers. Well, except things like a communicable disease. Or to go hiking.

I know there are some people who do everything last minute. And even that is fine. Except for this past Saturday when the mall was evacuated well before closing time. Those spouses/kids were plum out of luck. But in most cases, last minute works, as long as it's done. Whether you think Mothers and Fathers Day are stupid Hallmark holidays or not, they do exist, and it's a day you can celebrate in some small way the person who brought your child(ren) into the world or the ones who are responsible for raising them. Raising them well.

I'd be as bold to say that it doesn't need to be diamonds, ipads, or expensive anything. They just want to be recognized for the job they do. If they don't work outside the home, there isn't anyone to give their pat on the back. No one to give a positive performance review. They just do their thing with no feedback. Why isn't it on your mind, the ONE day it's shoved in your face for at least a month before the holiday comes, to do SOMETHING? Anything. There are commercials, paper ads, online ads, flyers, direct mail, etc. You can't escape knowing a holiday is coming. Any holiday. Holidays you didn't even know existed are now right in your face with ample time to plan. Go now any buy a card for next year from the ones left over. Make a reservation now for next year's brunch. Know yourself. If there is one thing not to procrastinate on, it's the holiday that celebrates the person you lay your head down next to every night. That's your person. The co-captain of your team.

But by the same token, I've seen the posts asking how to return the crappy favor they were dealt. And the answer is simple. COMMUNICATION. Sorry that it has to be spelled out apparently for some, but it is what it is. I'll give it to some of the Mother's Day Failures that maybe that is what they grew up seeing. A lot of nothing in terms of appreciation between spouses, especially the fathers to the moms. So it will take a bit of work to make them more aware. I'm pretty sure something much more productive will come out of a real heart to heart conversation vs the silent treatment. You have to speak up. If you're hurt or disappointed in the lack of appreciation you're feeling then you have to make your voice and feelings heard. Don't be passive-aggressive. It's not easy to have these talks but they're necessary. And really, based on the response you receive, both in words and actions will be very telling.

For me, I feel like people do what they want to do. If you put your feelings out there and nothing changes, well, draw your own conclusions. I remember telling someone over and over again that I didn't feel valued or appreciated. I didn't feel like I was a priority. Because I really wasn't. In the end we broke up because he just didn't feel the way he should have about me at the point we were at. And he never would. This was long before I got married (to someone else) and had a kid. I couldn't make him care.  I deserved more. Better. And realizing that was a defining moment. It wasn't just that he didn't think of it or didn't want to do it, he just didn't think about it or want to do it for ME.

There *are* also just people who are clueless. Clueless that a simple gesture goes a long way. Clueless that it doesn't need to be a whole fanfare, it just has to say something meaningful. There is no way I'm just going to throw men under the bus and say it's a guy thing. Because I have a husband who is not like that. At all. It's SPECIFIC guys. And you know if you have one of these. You have to work a little harder and open his eyes for him.You have to say something. Rome wasn't built in a day, so it's said. You can't expect magic right away if your person just isn't wired that way. But if nothing changes, that's a bigger problem. Because regardless of anything else, you deserve to be heard and have your feelings taken into consideration with the person you're in a relationship with.

I'm very lucky. My husband is very in tune to these things. He shows his appreciation all the time. I really don't need Mother's Day, the same way I don't need Valentine's Day. I don't need a day because I have a year. He's a great husband and a fantastic dad. He gives me time to myself to the detriment of his own. He never gets a moment's peace when our son is around. What can I say? He's a Daddy's Boy.

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