Instead revive the original intent of the "holiday"
It's that time of year again. The day when everyone decides every woman they see is magically a Mother and so every woman gets wished a Happy Mother's Day. Awwwww, so sweet.
Here’s a radical notion: give someone you love — even your Mom — flowers and candy and breakfast in bed some random day during the year when it’s not expected. It will mean a whole lot more to her than the usual meaningless crap that gets trotted out every second Sunday in May. Better yet, clean your room and make dinner once a week. Or call for no particular reason just to see how she's doing.
Now, let’s take a minute to consider the real meaning of Mother’s Day.
In 1870, following the nightmare of the United States’ Civil War, Julia Ward Howe issued The Mother’s Day Proclamation which included this still-ignored exhortation:
“In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask
that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality,
may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient,
and at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
to promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
the amicable settlement of international questions,
the great and general interests of peace.”
Clearly, this crazy idea never got any traction. Nearly 40 years down the road an official holiday — Mother’s Day — was proclaimed. And that was the death knell of this ever becoming what it was intended. But the folks over at Hallmark and FTD sure are happy about it.
Instead, we have — repeat after me — flowers and candy and breakfast in bed. We have Mother’s Day sales. We have people randomly wishing every female-appearing person of breeding age, and beyond, a Happy Mother’s Day! We have fetishized motherhood so that on this one Sunday a year we can pretend that women who do have children are being recognized and honored. Moreover, it further makes clear that women who do not have children aren’t deserving of recognition or honor.
After all, the real worth of any woman is still her ability to make babies.
What we don’t have — at least not in the birthplace (see what I did there?) of the holiday — is universal healthcare including neonatal care for mothers. We don’t have paid family leave and we certainly do not have affordable childcare options for women who either wish to pursue careers or simply have to get out there and hustle to feed their kids. We do not have real policies in place to support women and children. In fact, right now we have a significant push to end women’s autonomy over their own bodies and futures.
Every year, we chime in with all the sappy sweet stuff for “Mom” without remembering that the holiday was originally a call to end wars. All wars. Without exception.
Whoa, slow down there. That’s a bit much. After all, war is very profitable. Peace? Not so much.
Yeah, I’m looking east to Ukraine where the richest people in this world are benefitting tremendously while another generation of mothers loses their children. Nice way to celebrate all those moms, World. Memo to Chinese and Taiwanese Moms, your families are in the crosshairs of the next "justified" war. The time to shut this down is right now.
Ok. I’m done.
Go on and scarf up the deals at Amazon, Kate Spade, Samsung, Kohl’s, AT&T, Macy’s (naturally!), and Adidas. Remember to pick up flowers which will be easy because every street corner is guaranteed to have someone with a flower cart. Oh, and candy. And a card. Don’t forget the card.
However, fair warning: wish this woman a Happy Mother’s Day at your peril.