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Miss Manners: Moms should let others celebrate them

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter-in-law is expecting in July. However, she thinks she should celebrate Mother’s Day now. I am a bit old-fashioned; I do not recall celebrating Mother’s Day if you are only pregnant.

GENTLE READER: As the idea of Mother’s Day is for mothers to be shown appreciation by their children, your daughter-in-law has a problem. Even though she is devoting herself to the nourishment and well-being of this child, she is unlikely to receive chocolates, roses or even a card from that source.

Miss Manners recognizes that two ungracious trends have fueled your daughter-in-law’s wish. The first is that people now feel emboldened to declare that others must honor them. Typically, this is expressed in self-generated adult birthday parties and showers. Rather than waiting for others to be moved to organize such an event, the would-be guest of honor initiates it, sets the terms and expects the guests to pay the bills.

The second is the enlargement of Mother’s Day beyond that of filial gratitude. That fathers should participate makes sense, especially when the children are young enough to require some guidance, and because he is an indirect beneficiary. But expectations have spread ridiculously. Miss Manners has heard from mothers who expect even their own mothers to pay them honor, and, in contrast, from childless ladies who are upset that acquaintances and strangers wish them a happy Mother’s Day.

That your daughter-in-law associates the holiday with her impending motherhood does not bother Miss Manners. That she has seen fit to announce that she expects to be celebrated by others does. Why isn’t she busy making Father’s Day plans, instead?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Should I get a Mother’s Day gift for my girlfriend? She’s not my child’s mother.

GENTLE READER: Is she yours?

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