Heresy on Mother’s Day


"Mother and child" by Juan Gris

“Mother and child,” Juan Gris (1922) Source: The Athenaeum

Bear with me. Here are some thoughts regarding this sacrosanct day:

Sure, I love flowers. Sure, I could go for a nice meal and no cleaning-up afterwards. Sure, I love the attention. Sure, I could use a day of being the object of people’s admiration, adoration, adulation even. I’ll accept gifts. And cards. And phone calls. Not to mention chocolates.

But you know what? If I was a good mother to my children, then I already have all that. So it’s a moot issue, isn’t it?

Yes, I understand the principles of economics.

Yes, I understand that conventional Mother’s Day celebrations are a welcome relief for some of us.

Yes, I understand that recognizing a mother’s accomplishments with a day dedicated to her is an important statement, considering the invisibility of womankind throughout history.

Which brings me to the gist of this post.

We women living in what was commonly referred to as “the West” (the distinction between East and West no longer applies in our globalized, digitalized, twitterized world) lead privileged lives. I usually try to avoid generalizations, which tend to feed into stereotypes that the culturally savvy (like the followers of this blog) abhor. However, it behooves us, women whose basic needs are met, whose aspirations are realizable, women with access to education, legal representation, healthcare–in short, women who have choices, to acknowledge that freedom of choice is not a given.

On Mother’s Day, rather than to partake in the fleeting rituals called for by our consumer society, I will be thinking of women around the globe who do not have the luxury of resting, even for a moment, let alone a day. These women are in survival mode: They do whatever is necessary to stay alive, taking care of their children as best they can.

Should we feel bad that we have so much and they have so little? Far be it from me to tell you what you should feel. But being aware of our privileged position might be helpful.

This Mother’s Day, do something different. Help another mother, one who is not as lucky as you.

2 responses to “Heresy on Mother’s Day

  1. To that tune…
    You can help no matter where you are, check out these cool organizations I came across:

    NYC Area:
    Florida: AND
    Cali (my personal favorite):

  2. I agree wholeheartedly! Most of us in this country are so insulated from the reality lived by the rest of the world, and in particularly the reality of women. Thanks for connecting that to Mothers’ Day, and encouraging us to become aware of our privilege and take action that reflects that awareness.