Acknowledge the wide continuum of mothering.
- To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
- To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
- To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
- To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
- To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
- To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
- To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
- To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you
- To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
- To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience
- To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
- To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
- And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you
- This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
At the risk of offending, well pretty much everyone, here's what I think. It seems to me that Father's Day seems less fraught. We intuitively get that the concept of fatherhood may be tricky ground for some, so we tread lightly. And as for honoring the dads, sure there's the sentimental and meaningful stuff, but there's also the light-hearted lampooning (e.g., the proverbial loud tie). Whereas motherhood is so close to sainthood that we feel we have to pull out all the stops to honor the moms, and many moms expect (however explicitly or implicitly) some affirmation for all their hard work, which exacerbates the dissonance between all the glowing hosannas and the real dysfunction that characterizes many of our intersections with the concept of motherhood.
Which is why I liked this post, and the part I pasted above, so very much. Because motherhood is so precious, and because there are so many possible positive and negative feelings we can have about it, it is so very affirming to be told that you are not alone in whatever you are feeling on that day. It is inclusive and confirming, rather than demeaning and exclusionary, to be reminded that there are so many ways to join in with those who rejoice and to join in with those who mourn. I hope I will be more mindful of this 360 days from now, and throughout the year, as the topic of motherhood comes up.