Well, the big day has come and gone. Believe it or not, the cats got me NOTHING. And that’s okay, because for me, Mother’s Day has always been about my mom. Until this year, I’ve never even considered it in terms of what it means to me as a forever-non-mother or a potential-future-mother. But now that this day has ruffled so many feathers in the Childfree community, I feel the need to add my two cents.
But what about ME?!
There are Childfree-by-choice women who complain about being invisible on Mother’s Day. I’m just not sure I understand this. Do they feel slighted on February 1st because they’re not groundhogs? And don’t you want to be invisible on Mother’s Day? Part of this whole lifestyle is not being required to wear homemade macaroni necklaces or fawn over cards featuring stick figures and/or blobs of varying heights holding hands.
Still others feel that anyone who contributes to mothering of any sort should be celebrated on this day – that includes nannies, teachers, volunteers, aunts or uncles, or close family friends. So essentially… everyone.
In short, there are a whole lot of non-mothers wanting to be celebrated on a day that’s quite clearly earmarked for those who have gone through the exquisite discomfort of birthing and/or raising kids. Doesn’t being overly inclusive in the definition of “mothering” defeat the entire point of setting aside a day to thank the woman who has (in most cases) done a whole hell of a lot for you? This idea that everyone should be celebrated equally, regardless of contribution level, has led to very stupid customs. Like giving every kid a first place trophy so the one who practiced his butt off and kicked the game winning shot is equally revered as the kid eating grass and pulling the legs off crickets in the goal box (that was me, by the way).
If there’s a specific day honoring someone, it’s generally for a reason. And that reason is usually Hallmark’s quarterly earnings. But Hallmark doesn’t choose these pseudo-holidays out of thin air. They tend to pick groups of people who have to put up with so much crap the other 364 days out of the year, that the rest of society is guilted into agreeing that they should be shown some appreciation. And yes, it may be annoying that you need to purchase a vase of lilies on National Administrative Assistants Day (a passive aggressive move! Nobody likes lilies!), but would you rather trade spots with them and be on the receiving end? I don’t say that to be demeaning to admins – my point is merely that they have to put up with a lot of sh*t that the rest of us truly couldn’t handle, and many of them do it with a smile.
Why do we concern ourselves so much with what we are not?
If you’re happy and at peace with your decision not to have kids (yet, or ever), then every day should be a celebration of you. Be glad that you don’t have to clean up the disaster of kitchen left behind by kids making breakfast in bed for Mom on this day. If that’s not enough, and you feel the need to have a special day designated, then pick one. Celebrate Non-Mothers and Non-Fathers days with your spouses or friends. But doesn’t it seem a little silly to try and usurp or undermine Mother’s Day? And please don’t let Hallmark grab hold of that Non-Parents idea, I’m already being bankrupted with these cards.
I do realize there are many women out there who want very badly to be mothers, and for various reasons, cannot. There are also Childfree-by-choice people who have already lost their mom. Or had an exceptionally crappy childhood. Or have found yourself in a mothering role without any of the appreciation (stepmoms, etc.). You all get a free pass to hate Mother’s Day. But the rest of us…
Let’s quit worrying about what this day says about US, and focus on our own moms.
I get all the rage over the glorification of motherhood, our child-centric society, etc. I really do. But pick another day to do battle (believe me, it’ll still be raging next week). Because if you have an awesome Mom, it’s a bit of a slap in the face to her to make this day about YOU instead.
On that note, I’d like to say a few words of thanks to ole’ Claudia. It couldn’t have been easy dealing with us three. There were days you found Matt fully dressed in the toilet.
Days that held some pretty brutal fashion standoffs with me.
Days of dealing with Ken’s marked displeasure at having to share your attention with this drooling goblin you placed in his lap (otherwise known as me).
In fact, the more I look into the whole parenting thing through this blog, the more I can’t believe you kept that insane ship afloat so many years. And it’s not over – I know I’m still scaring the crap out of you on a weekly basis with my ever-changing life plans, but you deal with it, happily. And as far as I know, haven’t felt an overwhelming sense of regret at our existence. So for that – thanks Mom, and Happy Mother’s Day from your favorite (albeit only) daughter.
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