Mother’s Day: A Case Against

Let me be clear.  I love my mother. Yes, at times she drives me batty. I drive her batty. It’s called a mother-daughter relationship.  I think my siblings and their spouses are fantastic parents.  And I despise this holiday more than every other schmaltzy Hallmark holiday created.

Why? First it celebrates an ideal.  A June Cleaver combines with post-modernity woman who can balance everything with a smile and STILL have time for a “girls night out”.  Hell, I’m single, can barely get myself out the door most mornings having fed the cats and figured out something for 3 meals.  Mothers aren’t perfect.  Shock, I know.  Mothers are human. They make mistakes. Try finding a card that says something to that effect. 

Second, Mother’s Day doesn’t acknowledge the wounds of being motherless, being un-mothered, not being able to have a child (for many reasons).  That pain is deep and ever- lasting.

Finally, Mother’s Day doesn’t acknowledge those couples, the women who choose not to have children yet provide mentoring roles.  Where is that celebrated? It takes a village to raise a child.  Part of that village very well probably includes childfree couples or individuals.  They may not be raising a child but  in providing a unique mentoring  of not being a parent, these individuals often can be the ‘adult’ sounding board that a child may need and provide insight to the parent(s) about the uniqueness of the child.

To my friends who parent: enjoy your day. May it be full of love of the rewards of your hard work.  To my friends who struggle on days like this, my thoughts are with you.  We don’t live in a Hallmark world, I just wish we’d catch up to it.


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8 Responses to “Mother’s Day: A Case Against”

  1. kit10phish Says:

    I agree whole-heartedly. This is NOT a popular opinion though, especially when I attempted to explain how this “holiday” was a sham akin to Valentine’s Day to my own mother. . .

    • zebrastravels Says:

      For me, Valentine’s day has the perk of the day after . . . and 50% off chocolate. I just see this holiday causing so much pain. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Titus Says:

    So well expressed. I’m not a mother, I’m the Auntie TaiTai. I’m the mentor. I’m the one the kids come to because I’m the one that will discuss what mothers – and fathers – don’t or won’t. I’m the sanctuary. I listen. That’s most of what I do: Listen. I give honest answers. Most of you parents know me because I invite you to visit out here at the ranch. Some of you don’t bother to come. But I have the kids call to tell you when they are here and to ask when they need to be home.
    And the kids come here to play as well. To be silly, to sled, to mountain bike, or play music on the porch, free of their cell phones ringing or text, unleashed and free but for the land line. We knew that as children, to them that is a rare treat. Now that is a Hallmark moment, break out the Lifesaver candy and share it. There is no holiday for that. Where are the holidays that really mean something?

  3. zebrastravels Says:

    So totally agre Ty. I love being an aunt/faux aunt. I think there are so many roles that are not valed/celebrated. Of course, I don’t think that we should just celebrate parents. It does take a village and well, for me, I do find the irony in that we have a holiday that basically celebrates what somebody opts to do. ;)

  4. Titus Says:

    Funny thing is I’m missing my mom today, just like every day since she passed away. We had one of those rare near perfect relationships as peers when we were adults – we simply cherished spending our time together, and we did very well as mother & daughter except for a few of those teenage years when I drove her absolutely insane – mostly so I could go to college as far away from the rest of my crazy family and learn to be me on my own. She’s still in my head giving me the damnedest advice, constantly surprising me, but always spot on as usual – she was an attorney and held a Master’s in psychology. Besides ME, she’s definitely the most influential person in my life so far. My gawd, we had so much fun together, and we could debate and beat a horse till it was flatter than the ancients believed the earth was. She was proud when I could out wit her, which was no mean feat – she was brilliant. And while I was a tomboy and outdoorsy and Grace was never my middle name, she raised me to be a beautiful girl inside & out, praising & promoting my intelligence and education, making sure I had proper manners and kindness, that I wasn’t a doormat, that I immensely lovable, and while I wasn’t a traditional beauty of the times, I was lovely and striking, and possessed lasting qualities that would stand out long after the young things faded away. She did her best – I don’t see that she could have done better really, and I know how to clean up well and move in any level of society successfully and comfortably. She knew I would travel widely and prepared me to immerse myself in other cultures and be respectful. She taught me the value of truth and the only acceptable form of lying is omission, because everyone deserves some personal privacy. That I’m not to play games with other people’s lives, ever. As usual, she was right – can’t wait to attend a HS reunion, perhaps my 30th or 40th.
    We could finish each other’s sentences, but we didn’t always agree. We agreed to disagree plenty enough, but we always heard each other out.We changed each other’s minds too. She entrusted me with her full medical power of attorney, amazingly her attitudes changed over more to mine when it came to those matters. I became the Executrix of her Will and the Administratrix of the small trusts she left for my older brother & nephew. I spent her last year at home with her, my service dog caring for us both, the most amazing year, both sad & filled with joy, discussing every option of my future, plus delicious scandalous family gossip from the past. So yes, we still have our daily “phone calls” as I go about my day. We still laugh at an unexpected event – I know her so well that even though she is not “here”, she’ll tell me something surprising that I have to sit down I laugh so hard. Heaven is in my heart and she’s there. Mom originally taught me to think, so why would the advice not come in her soft New Orleans accent? With her humor? With her straight to the matter legalese, wrapped with a touch of psychology, and motherly love?
    I don’t need a day to celebrate the rare and wonderful relationship I was so lucky to have – and I know it was rare. I have celebrated it all my life, even when I was that beastly wild teenager. I still do. I am my mother’s daughter. I am proud to be my mother’s daughter. And it it because of her that I do what I do now, because every child should have a taste of what it is like to have something, someone, like her in their life. As all my friends who used to come to her for advice used to say, and we actually had a bumper sticker: WWDD – What Would Dorothy DO?*
    So there’s my little back story. :)

    *Mom helped found a women’s center, Belle Reve, for women and women with children who had AIDS in Nola in the where they could go for hospice and to settle their affairs and make plans for their children before they died. Ultimately we sold the bumper stickers in the gay community to raise funds for the center – they were a huge hit, among everyone.

  5. zebrastravels Says:

    I HAVE ONE OF THOSE BUMPER STICKERS! (somewhere). I think that is it – as usual – you hit the nail on the head. If we know we have something, why need a day to celebrate it? I’m pretty sure my mom would agree that me between 14-25 was not the glory decade. My mom is the first person in her family to graduate from college. I told her today that while her 15 year battle with breast cancer has been hell, it has taught everybody in my family to be a better person. And I either call her before or after work. I’m sorry for your loss. She sounds like a fantastic woman, role model and mentor. Her daughter turned out pretty well. :)

  6. Melinda Says:

    Good points! I think the original founders of Mother’s Day would have been upset to discover that it has become such a commercialized holiday. Originally, it was meant as a call to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War.'s_Day_(U.S.)

    • zebrastravels Says:

      One more time! I find it interesting that the original idea was about women working for disarmanet (in the 1870’s!) and then on the 2-3 go became what the credited creator despised. For me, a lot of has to do with how we continue to embrace normative roles.

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