Writer Anne Lamott recently posted on her Facebook page about how she hates Mother’s Day, something she wrote about that Salon published in 2010. Read the article on either site. She explains why she loves being a mother but taught her son that he isn’t under any obligation to honor her on this one day in May. Among her thoughts:
I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers, and the daughters of dead mothers, and the mothers of dead or severely damaged children, feel the deepest kind of grief and failure.
Her opinion has drawn a variety of sentiments that range from “thank you for saying this” to “stop being a killjoy.”
It’s an alternative perspective worth reading for those who are not mothers and who do (or did) not have good relationships or memories of their mothers. It’s also worth reading for those who celebrate motherhood because of another point she makes: Honor those who deliver the caring of a mother figure, but don’t depend on a holiday to do it.
Do you call up mom on, say Oct. 16, just to thank her for having sacrificed so much so that you could have a good life?
Do you give flowers to the woman who did not give birth to you/your child but who does provide love, guidance, time, and sacrifice?
Do you make time for brunch on a Sunday in January or September with someone who has been a positive, maturing influence on you?
Do you teach your children to express appreciation for what is done for them on a regular basis, not just when the “opportunity” of a holiday comes along?
When Mother’s Day marked 100 years as an official holiday in 2014, National Geographic published an article looking at its origins. The woman who campaigned for its recognition as an official holiday, Anna Jarvis, did so after the death of her mother, whose campaigns against war and disease inspired Mother’s Friendship Day gatherings after the Civil War. Herself childless, Anna wanted to encourage individuals to show appreciation for their own mother. She came to hate what Mother’s Day had become, with its commercialism, and ended up fighting to abolish the holiday. She lost money in legal battle, and even her freedom when she was arrested disturbing the peace at a convention. Odds are good she would agree with Anne Lamott.
Things to ponder: In general, what do you think of Mother’s Day? If you celebrate it, what would it be like if you decided to not celebrate it? Do you think society has a wrong view of the generic value of women who have or have not had children? Mother’s Day aside, have you or would you do something to show women who do not have children or who are not close to their mothers that they are valued?