A Mother’s Day Manifesto
If Mother’s Day doesn’t feel like a sharp stick in the eye, you’re doing it wrong.
Mother’s Day is a pain in the ass.
There, I’ve said it.
A day when we spend more than $14 billion in this country trying to tell our moms we are grateful for them. With cards and flowers and candy and jewelry and expensive meals out.
A day when, as a mom, you’re set up with all these expectations that your family will come through for you, finally say the words of thanks and praise you’ve been secretly longing to hear since the moment you popped the little ones out of your vagina (through indescribable pain and massive amounts of blood, I might add), a day when they will finally make you feel appreciated enough. Along with giving you a card or flowers or “You’re a special mom” cubic zirconia anklet too, of course. (Just to be clear, I prefer the “I’m expensive but in a totally hip and understated way” looking stuff from the Sundance Catalog…in case anyone in my family is reading this.)
And then there’s the Mother Day Facebook envy situation. Where it looks like everyone is having a better Mother’s Day than you are. Where every post you read makes it sound like other kids love their mothers more. I’m not saying this has happened to me, exactly. I’m just saying…
And, if you happen to be a woman who wants to be a mom, and who hasn’t been able to conceive or adopt, or perhaps someone whose mother wasn’t quite up to par, as in the type who pushed you down the stairs when she got mad at you…well let’s just say, crazy-making… of epic proportions.
Before Mother’s Day got stuck in this mind-effing machinery, however, it was something all together different. In its roots it is a feminist, political and radical religious holiday. A day when mothers banded together to say, essentially, “We’ve had enough of this shit.”
For example, in 1870, one of the original founders of Mother’s Day, Julia Ward Howe, a suffragist and abolitionist and poet wrote this Mother’s Day Proclamation.
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. …From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe our dishonor, Nor violence indicate possession.
I can think of a lot of shit I’ve had enough of. Black men being “accidently” killed by police.
The fact that every 21 hours there is another rape on a college campus.
The idea that women being equal to men is still so frightening to some people that they created #HowToSpotAFeminist to spew 140 character bits of nastiness into the world this past week.
The absurdity that in a country where some of us spend $4 every day on a cup of coffee, 1 in 5 children don’t know where their next meal is coming from. I could go on.
I’m sure you could too.
So maybe we should. This Mother’s Day.
Use Mother’s Day as an opportunity to be a sharp stick in the eye of this country. Occupy Mother’s Day and say enough is enough. Yell like the love-crazed mothers some of us are, that it’s time to stop this shit. And clean up the messes we’re making. Use our blogs and our pulpits and our family dinners and our Facebook posts this Sunday to do our own Mommyfestos, to say: “All lives matter, so we better start acting like it.”
Doing this doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t want the cards and candy and flowers and beautiful tributes written to us on Facebook, this Mother’s Day. Or that we have to give them up.
It just means, that’s not all we want.
What do you say? Are you with me?
Lenora Rand is a freelance writer and advertising creative director at one of the world’s largest ad agencies. She’s also a wife, mom of two daughters, and trying to figure out how to live her life with more meaning and purpose while working 60 hours a week and trying to get the laundry done. You can see how that’s going at her blog, Spiritual Suckitude. Follow her on Facebook at Spiritual Suckitude Society. And on Twitter @LenoraR.
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