Monday, May 10, 2010

The Day After Mother's Day (What does it really mean?)

Okay, I wouldn't have posted this yesterday, because who knows who out there is gonna get ticked off at me, but I really don't like Mother's Day. I love my mom, and I like celebrating her and the other mothers that I love, and the nearly-moms who have helped me along the way. But it's a day when I often feel odd, purely for being a woman of a certain age (I'm turning 49 this month) who is NOT a mother.
Anne Lamott to the rescue. This "Why I hate Mother's Day" essay by Lamott on was sent to me by my dad, and I missed seeing it yesterday, because I was at my mom's house, celebrating Mother's Day. This was following the morning of people asking me "Are you a mother?" as if it was a test. Of course it is...If you're a mom, they'll wish you a Happy Day, if not, the person will quickly smile and say something to cover up how sorry they now feel for you.
I'm currently reading Charles Dickens' Little Dorritt (since it'll be hard to find in a bookstore, I don't mind linking to Amazon) which has some of perhaps the worst mothers in all of Dickens' books in it, or at least a couple of contenders, and somehow it was perfect to start the day with them...Especially with horrible Mrs. Clenham, who lies, denies, and always, always, is right and righteous (I won't do any "spoiler" stuff here, so yes, there is more to it--it is Dickens after all).
I say, let's not just celebrate every person who birthed a child--which, after all, is a pretty basic step in "mothering" said child. I'd love to celebrate something called Good Mother's Day, or a Good Aunt's Day, even a Good Mentor's Day. Considering the Octo-mom, it occurs to me that quality is better than quantity in terms of shaping the future, which is what we humans are up to, by raising children.
Isn't the most important thing not whether I have had children (or if anyone has) but whether I care about your children (if you have them)? In fact, the big question is how much we all care about all children, not just "ours." And that applies to all of "our" children, such as politicians who talk about "America's children" as if they were more valuable than other children around the globe.
A good way to celebrate Mother's Day, or any other day, might be to consider how we can better use our time, talents, and resources to help "mother" everyone's children...If we all tried this, even once in a while, we would surely all be better off.
Hasta pronto!