Monday, May 11, 2015

Why I Don't Hate Mother's Day

Nana, Yaj and Aiden Mother's Day 2015

 I’ve been reading all the pro- and anti-Mother’s Day comments on Facebook and in the news. Those against the day have a variety of reasons, writer Anne Lamott’s essay “Why I Hate Mother’s Day” being a prime example (Anne thinks the day touts moms as somehow superior to non-moms). Why, even Anna Jarvis, who founded the holiday in 1908, criticized it in the end. Those for it, see it as a nice chance to spotlight their moms, grandmoms, daughters-in-law—much as Father’s Day does for all dads, etc. etc.

How do I feel? Well, I certainly do NOT feel as if I am any better than childless women. Indeed, women who choose not to bear offspring are very often more successful in business, have a more clearly articulated life path, and have a bit more time, not only to develop their own interests and passions, but to selflessly volunteer in a wide variety of ways. My sister C is in this camp, and I am very proud of the wonderful, fulfilled life she has built for herself.

But I am pro-Mother’s Day, and here’s why.

It’s darned hard, this mothering thing, and no one thanks you, a lot of the time. Your kids are either too little to express gratitude, or (in the teen years) too moody. And then, if you’re lucky enough to have children with children of their own someday, they are so immersed in their own babies (who also don’t thank them) that the year can indeed go by without much in the way of recognition, for any of us.

Yeah, I know Mother’s Day is a cash-cow for Hallmark, but as I looked at the display of cards last week, I was struck by the wide variety of “mothers” being honored. Single moms, adoptive moms, mothers-in-law, women who are “like a mother to me.” Even thoughtful cards meant for moms who have, tragically, lost children. All deserving of a little pat on the back, a few words of acknowledgement, a bit of special treatment, at least in May, if not more often.

We may not all be mothers in the technical sense, but we all have, or had, mothers, and that is reason enough to celebrate them. Mother’s Day takes nothing away from non-moms, any more than Easter takes away from the observance of Passover. Lord knows there is not very much to be positive about in the world these days. So why not make a bit of a fuss about the special people in our lives, whoever they may be?

Yesterday, I thought of all the many mothers in my life: my mom Joanie (gone 10 years next September), two wonderful grandmas, many friends who are amazing moms, and now, my incredible daughter-in-law Ya-Jhu, who enjoyed her first Mother’s Day since precious Aiden was born last May 27th. Then I thought of my five beloved kids, and the unique joy they each have brought me. And then I opened my Hallmark cards. And gave thanks.

Mom and little me

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