Wow, O.K., here I go.
Over the past several years of blogging, I have sucked it up and put on a happy face when it comes to writing about Mother's Day. (You can read them here and here.)
Well, I decided I'm not going to do that this year.
Here is the thing...
As a girl, I really struggled with this Hallmark holiday because I did not have a very motherly mother. In fact, my deceased mother was whatever the opposite of a mother is.
When I described my mother to my friends in grade school, the first question they asked was, "Is this your step-mother?" Boy did I wish that the answer to that question was, "Yes."
Needless to say, my circumstance made it pretty difficult to come up with something sincere and heartfelt to write inside of the card I bought my mother every year. One year I actually wrote Thanks for giving me life. because those were the only kind words I could muster that year.
It amazes me that in spite of that rough start growing up, I knew from the time that I was a teenager that I wanted to be a mother myself. At the very least, I figured I could do a better job than my mother did. But the Universe had different plans for me. It made me choose between fighting cancer or preserving my fertility. Since you can't have kids when you are dead, I chose to fight.
Then, just when I got my life into a good place to pursue adoption, disabling chronic illness put the kibosh on my plans.
I hate to admit this, but in the weeks leading up to Mother's Day I start think about all the women in the world who are "breeders." Then I think how crazy it is that we celebrate those women who, through luck, mishap or fate, give birth.
How unfair is that to all the women like me, who desperately want but can't have children?
I'm not saying that mothers who take their job seriously and do everything they can to be good moms don't deserve a day filled with applause and recognition. Motherhood is hard work and mothers deserve flowers, gifts and thank you's every day of the year. I just have a problem with a womens' holiday that excludes women who haven't given birth.
Every year the thought crosses my mind that I should just make Mother's Day my own personal pity party and just not tell anyone. I should just stop celebrating Mother's Day.
But after some more thought this year, I have a better idea.
Let's change Mother's Day into Mothering Day.
Mothering Day would celebrate the act of being a mother, which means anyone and everyone who mothers can celebrate. That means all the family members in a child's life, both female and male, as well as community members like childcare providers and teachers, could stand together and enjoy recognition. This new celebration would bring together the village that surrounds each child born into this world.
In addition, I think Mothering Day is also an opportunity to do two more very important things:
- help children in the foster care system get adopted and find forever families
- encourage more people to get involved in children's lives through volunteering and supporting children's charities
I also feel that Mothering Day is inclusive of those who nuture and care for animals, pets, gardens, farms and all the other things on this big, blue planet that need love, attention and tending to flourish and grow.
So am I advocating for the abolition Mother's Day?
Perhaps, though I doubt I have the power to remove it from the calendar. But if I do, at least I am offering an updated, modern alternative.
Have I upset all you mothers out there with this post?
I hope not. But if I have, be sure to let me know by leaving me a comment.
As for me, I think the process of writing this post has help me decide against turning Mother's Day into a personal pity party and transform it into a celebration this infertile woman can embrace and enjoy.