A Social Action Mothers’ Day
Ah, Mother’s Day. I have wonderful memories of being dragged to nurseries to pick out new trees and annuals, of Mom’s new Toro tractor, of cooking everything-and-the-kitchen-sink omelets with my dad and brothers. Growing up, I didn’t have any idea why the second Sunday in May was the day we did all the chores, planted stuff, and cooked, nor, I’m sure, did the rest of my family. My dad’s argument that “it’s Mother’s Day” sufficed.
Now that I’m a progressive, constantly looking at old institutions in new ways, I’m enjoying my ongoing exploration of ways to imbue Mother’s Day with more meaning. I’ll certainly find more as we get closer to the actual holiday (save yourself potential embarrassment and write it down now: it’s May 9th this year) but for now, allow me to provide one thought: Let’s stop calling it “Mother’s Day” and make it “Mothers’ Day.”
Yes, maybe this seems like semantics, and focusing on each individual mom is certainly worthwhile and wonderful. But marking the holiday by doing something for all mothers shows yours that you respect her gender and the institution of motherhood in general.
We shouldn’t forget the sacrifices women are sometimes forced to make to be mothers, the shared experiences and concerns of motherhood, and that we have an opportunity to shape what motherhood will mean next year, next decade, and next century. Mothers’ Day can be a checkpoint, five months into the year, to ask if we’ve done enough in 2010 to improve our moms’ lives, to ensure our sisters and daughters and we ourselves need make fewer sacrifices in the future when and if they choose to become mothers.
How many men actually believe their fathers are inherently better or more valuable than their mothers? How many would not stand up and fight to protect their mother’s rights to equal pay, equal opportunity, equal privacy if given a chance?
How many women must pursue motherhood without adequate societal support, like day care, or sufficient family leave? What injustices need to be corrected before you need not make the same sacrifices generations of women made when they chose motherhood?
Now that I’ve got you thinking, here’s some takeaway – more will follow.
- Why should male-dominated professions be intrinsically more valued than female-dominated fields? Why should our fathers make more than our mothers just because they’re men? Start to close the wage gap by taking action for the Paycheck Fairness Act!
- Mother’s Day has its early roots in anti-war, anti-violence women’s movements. Honor this commitment by working to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons which indiscriminately kill mothers, fathers and children!
- Motherhood should be a choice! How can it be without adequate, effective, comprehensive sexuality education, which teaches “safe sex” as well as abstinence and strategies for building healthy relationships? Support funding for these programs now!