This past Sunday was Mother’s Day, the day we all try to remember to thank our mothers for all they have done for us and mothers, if we are lucky, get one day off. This Mother’s Day started off with ex surprising me with a cake. Then we all went out for breakfast.
Throughout the day I checked in with Facebook to follow the well wishes of offspring to their mothers and I started to notice an interesting trend. I started seeing posts from my friends who were not mothers about how they were still mothers in a way because they cared for pets or had a nurturing personality. What I found curious about this was the apparent need to participate in a holiday that honestly wasn’t about them.
I tread very delicately here because in no way do I feel that by not being a mother, whether by choice or no, is in any way an indication of how nurturing a woman is or could be.
But, at the same time, I do not feel that being a loving pet owner is the same as being a mother. I have been both. Before I had children I had wolf-hybrid dogs which were a ton of work and I cared for like my “children” and considered them such. But having had children of my own since, I can say without a slightest hesitation that being a mother is a way different experience all together.
What is interesting here is that Mother’s Day is the only holiday I can think of where those who are not included sort of “crash” the celebration. Think about it. On Father’s Day I guarantee you wouldn’t see posts by men saying “I’ve never actually fathered a child but I consider myself a father to my dog.” Women who are not mothers wanting inclusion in Mother’s Day is like a patriotic citizen who never served in a war claiming Veterans Day.
Once again, I mean no offense to anyone here. I just find it very curious.
I have come up with a theory about this and that is that as women, we feel that if we don’t reproduce or mother a child that we have somehow screwed up, missed the mark, never realized our potential. It is true that for most women, the desire to be a mother is very strong. Nature intended it to be so or we would not reproduce at all because having children is wonderful, wonderfully hard.
But those women who are not mothers, either by choice or because the opportunity never presented itself, are by no means less worthy, less compassionate, or less of a contribution to society. They just are simply not mothers.
Culturally we continue to be uncomfortable with women that do not follow the path towards motherhood. If a woman tries to be mother and can not for biological reasons, we encourage them to do anything possible to succeed, no matter the cost or hardship. If they do not succeed we consider it a great tragedy. If, however, a woman chooses not to have children then we shake our heads in disbelief, we wonder what went wrong. Given this baggage, it is no wonder that on the day celebrating mothers as the highest of achievers, women who are not mothers feel left out, forgotten, ignored or even ostracized. It is no wonder that they crash the party and claim their right to be there.
I just find it all so sad that, we as women, still evaluate our worth on what society expects us to be, not on who we really are.
So I say to all the un-mother’s out there, in the spirit of Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland, “No, you can’t have Mother’s Day, it is not your holiday, but you need to be honored just the same. Start your own holiday, an Un-Mother’s Day as it were, and always feel good about you being you.”