For those not on this side of the Pond, it was Mother's Day yesterday. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Mother's Day the day when we were supposed to appreciate our mothers, be well behaved on that day, bring her breakfast in bed and all that good stuff? If your mother was deceased, or (in my case now) 4,000 miles away, then it's a day of loving thoughts and warm feelings.
Unfortunately, most of what I read yesterday took a surprisingly negative view of the whole thing. Many women re-posted, reTweeted or linked to a post by The Bloggess, who was basically saying that although she loves being a mother, we shouldn't just be celebrating mothers on erm, Mother's Day.
"The women who have struggled to be, or are still struggling to be moms. The women who want children but just aren’t in a safe place in life to have them. The women who don’t want kids and have to listen to a bunch of bullshit about how you’re only worthwhile if you’ve pushed a human out of your vagina. The women who miss the children they once had. The women who miss the children they lost before they ever met them."
On the face of it, there's no arguing with the above words; except, in this particular incident, I disagree. By allowing my children to give me chocolates and flowers yesterday, I was never telling them that women who haven't given birth are worthless; I wasn't for a moment throwing mothers who have miscarried under the bus, nor was I being disrespectful to women who have chosen not to become mothers. That's just ridiculous and, quite frankly, insulting.
And another thing - it's not actually a celebration of motherhood; if it were, it would be called Motherhood Day, surely? As I said, it's a day of showing love and appreciation to your own mother. We can't include everyone in every single day of thanks. I don't get all bent out of shape on Secretary's Day even though I type with only 75% of the fingers I should be using and my kids fall about laughing at me! It'll be interesting to see what happens when Father's Day comes around. I have a feeling there won't be much sniping between the guys about who they should and shouldn't be thinking about.
But I have a theory about why it's got to this in the USA. It's the same as Valentine's Day - originally a day where you sent a card or gift to the object of your desire (whether lustful or not). First came the cries of "What about people who don't get cards from admirers?" (and believe me, I was in that circle more times than I care to remember). Then Hallmark jumped on that little guilt train and began producing Valentine cards from anyone to any one else; cards specifically to grandparents, siblings, the mailman, you name it. Did you know that the biggest recipient group of Valentine cards in the USA is teachers?
Anyway, rant over. I'm just sad that as women, we're so into telling each other what to do, whether that's criticizing women who choose not to have children, or criticizing women who didn't remind their children of those women yesterday. Celebrating (if you want to use that word) one thing does NOT mean, ipso facto, that everything else is worthless or inferior.
Let's not forget the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt - "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent".