Mother's Day: a Time for Peace and PrideCategories: miscellaneous, parenting
Tags: travel, toddler, baby, parent travel, mother's day, mother
May 9, 2015
author: Jeanette Mesite Frem
I often wonder, as I hear all the ads on my local NPR station encouraging us to purchase flowers to be sent to our mothers for Mother’s Day, why flowers are involved. They don’t last very long. Why not potted trees…the symbolism is stronger there: the apple not falling far from the tree or how we are rooted in our families but yet branch out?
We send cards and flowers to tell our mothers that they are appreciated (yes, I know, not everyone has a mother still living or one they want to send a card to). As mothers ourselves, we may receive cards or gifts or enjoy a meal or an event together in honor of the occasion (and yes, I know this isn’t the case for everyone).
Yes, I sent a gift and a card to my mother and my mother-in-law. I appreciate them and I’m lucky to have them in my lives. I’ll spend most of the day with my kids (after I sleep late!) while my husband helps run a Mother’s Day Brunch event for almost 700 people, as happens yearly. And then I’ll go teach a group of mothers-to-be and their partners all about the process of giving birth (one way, but not the only way, to become a mother).
However, after being a mother for the last 14+ years and working with new moms for longer than that, when I think of a day to appreciate mothers, I wonder: when do we celebrate and appreciate ourselves as mothers How can we reach a point of peace, self-love and pride for the mothering we have done? When will we trust ourselves to make the best decisions we can and resist the guilt and self-deprecation that is so common in mothers?
I meet so very many mothers who feel like they do most of the parenting in their family. They also feel like they do most of the cooking and cleaning and organizing and appointments and gift-buying and party planning and vacation planning and gardening and the nighttime feedings and the baths and the rocking-to-sleep-times and the…the list goes on. I’ve seen some studies that show this is true for most mothers. There are, of course, partners/fathers/co-mothers/co-parents/grandparents/nannies/others who help or do most of the work. But traditionally, around the world, it is mothers.
So why is Mother’s Day not a DAY OFF for mothers? I propose it should be a day when mothers are pampered and fed by their family and then pushed out to go get pampered or to sleep uninterrupted or do something that MOM wants to do…a day without responsibility. A day just for her.
I also meet many moms who are questioning their every move. I hear a lot, “I feel so guilty.” Or, “I probably did the wrong thing.” Or even, “I’m the worst mother ever.” Do men feel this way? Yes, I know there are two-men families, but I would LOVE to see a study looking at whether or not male couples with children have the same self-doubt and guilt about their parenting as mothers do. My gut tells me no but I’m open to hearing otherwise.
I want mothers everywhere to feel confident and proud about being a mother and about the parenting choices they are making. We all make mistakes and we learn from them. Ask any mother with more than one child and she will tell you that she did things differently with the second child (in addition to the fact that each child is different). Of course, I also want mothers to be open-minded to hear other opinions and learn new things. Too often I hear moms say, “I see my friend suffering with a baby who does _____ but I’m afraid to give her my advice because she’ll think I’m judging her.” We should be happy to share information. And happy to hear it. And then happy to make a decision or change a parenting practice (or not) based on what we know at the time. Then comes the pride and confidence. Peace comes, too, with the knowledge that we are doing the best we can with the information we have been given or have sought out.
I wish all mothers peace and pride this Mother’s Day. And I wish all mothers some time to themselves. With wine, a good book, a walk in nature, a massage and/or lots and lots and lots of love. Especially self-love.
What are YOU doing this Mother's Day?