Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day - The New Valentine's Day?

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". 

10 comments:

  1. I agree with you, although it has become hugely commercialized, I did very much appreciate the fact that my grown up daughter remembered me yesterday because I am her mother.

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  2. I agree too. Why is that that if people can't be part of a celebration and force everyone to include everybody in it, they try to stop the existence of that celebration? Christmas becoming part of that, too. Happy Holidays to one and all. Bring back Nativity Plays! They do still exist over here, but an awful lot of schools are presenting some very odd plays in their place. Sorry, yes, where were we. I demand lunch out now, because there's no way I can get my kids to be up before me in order to bring me breakfast in bed. Something floral is usually required too, even if it's a pansy in a pot. Cards are compulsory, even if they have been hastily conjured from the depths of the computer. I have held whiffy trainers at arm's length for too many years not to need recompense in some form.

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  3. I feel like Mother's Day has got out of control here actually. My kids had a Mother's Day and Father's Day fair at school, and were encouraged to buy gifts for siblings and grandparents too - in fact they were disappointed that I had not given them enough money to do so. It is sweet to receive gifts from the children, but I spend half yesterday reading text messages from friends and random acquaintances wishing me Happy Mother's Day. Never mind Valentine's, it's more like Christmas!

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  4. NVG - I think you might have blogged about this but one thing it took me a while to get used to was that Mother's Day is a complete no-go zone for doing anything with anyone else. Even if people aren't actually visiting mothers or grandmothers, it just seems like it's totally not OK to suggest a playdate or god forbid, book a party.

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  5. People these days seem to go out of their way to find things to get their knickers in a twist over.

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  6. Why keep something simple when you can make money by making it complicated? Oh and providing blog fodder to desperate bloggers who snipe at the simplicity and try to make everyone feel guilty because some are left out. Nuts.

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  7. Ah blogging...where would we be without others opinions? Happier? Maybe!

    Thanks for the wonderful quote...

    Karin x

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  8. I'm with you. Never mind the drama, leave the fuss and just celebrate your mama. It is a shame society can make it so complicated.

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  9. Ps desmondvoodoo comment was from me, was signed into the hub's account!

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  10. Yes! I was surprised when my wife and daughter exchanged Valentine's cards, but even more shocked when I found that I was expected to give my wife a mother's day gift!

    There is something a little incestuous about the whole thing!

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