Did you know that the person who invented Mother’s Day, Julia Ward Howe, back in the day was a social justice advocate? The intention of Mother’s Day was a focus on peace and justice. I did not until recently. Go Julia! When she realised it had been hijacked and commercialised and to be honest, patronised, she spent the rest of her life campaigning against it.
As a single mom, I often check in with my boys to see what they are learning from me. This has helped me readjust my thinking and behaviour. So I have just asked my older son now as I am writing: as Mother’s Day is coming up, what do you like most about me as a mom? He said, “That you teach us to always do something for a good reason and for a good cause.”
Now, this is closely linked with the intention. Maybe it is not just me… I think there are a lot of moms out there. We do not want you to buy us cards that say: Mom’s do it all and they do it with ease; Mothers are like angels; Here is your annual thank you.
Let’s keep it real. My best cards were the ones they made. My best wake-ups were the songs they made up and sang. My Mother’s Day is every day. It is filled with triumphs and tears, trials and tribulations. Mothers do not know everything and we do not have immense patience and the capacity to take life on. We are real. And we try our best because we love our children and we want them to grow up in a way that is ethical and just adds value to them and us and all they do. We want them to be happy. And so we do our best. One day a year of ‘squishiness’ makes no difference in our lives.
So on actual Mother’s Day this year, I give this challenge:
- To kids (no matter how big or small): Don’t give her things. Don’t do things for her. Show your mom that you have grown in ways that she may not be aware of, because of her influence on your life. See her as a person. The good, the bad and the ugly. And let her know that she is loved for all of this on every day. Allow her into your thoughts and emotions so she may see and feel the lessons you have learnt from her. That has no price tag on it.
- To significant others: It is not your day. Don’t try to take glory for burning the toast or paying for a lunch. Just relax. Show your partner the appreciation you feel about her role as a mother in the home.
- To moms: Do something different. Think of the real and initial intention of Mother’s Day as it was around social justice. Set a goal for yourself to make a positive difference in the community in some way.
I salute all mothers everywhere every day. Let’s start to take back the real intention of Mother’s Day!
Source: Gil Harper