I love my mom. She supports me, remains one of the first people I call when I’m sick or crying, and genuinely cares about what’s happening in my life. Growing up, my Grandmom lived down the street from us and I still feel her unconditional love flowing down despite her being gone for most of my adult life. I have an awesome mother-in-law who is an ever-present Oma to my boys, showing up and ready to play often.
Loving and being loved by these strong women has shaped me as a mama. I love being a mama to my two littles (even when I don’t like a moment in time), and can no longer imagine life without them (although sometimes I daydream about things I could be doing instead of being present in the moment). What I’m saying is that I have so much to celebrate and be thankful for this Mother’s Day.
Not all women feel the same way, however. Mother’s Day is a triggering event for some, and their feelings are valid and need to be considered. People grieve their mothers who are no longer with them. Some mothers are separated from their children. Other mothers are abusive or unkind. Still more mothers have children who don’t love them. There are also women who want children but cannot have them. And mothers whose children have predeceased them. I can understand the need for sensitivity towards women who have experienced these relationships and more, especially on a day celebrating moms.
Mother’s Day originated in the 19th century as “Work Clubs” to educate women how to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality rates. They also tended soldiers from both sides of the Civil War. This evolved into post-Civil War “Mother’s Friendship Day” picnics promoting reconciliation in the South. Julia Ward Howe’s “Mother’s Day Proclamation” called for mothers to unite in world peace. Anna Jarvis organized the first Mother’s Day in May 1908 to honor the sacrifices mothers make for their children. She never married or had children, but felt it necessary to honor women due to the American bias of celebrating male achievements. It became an official holiday in 1914. Since then, marches in support of underprivileged women and children, as well as advocacy for equal rights and access to childcare have occurred on Mother’s Day.
Take a moment and think about it. Mother’s Day started because women tend to be bridge-builders and peacemakers, and in that vein they wanted to honor each other for their awesomeness as women. How cool is that? Let’s continue the process by uplifting all women, especially regarding issues unique to us.
It takes a village, right? That’s what everyone tells us about this whole parenting thing. I don’t know about you, but my sons have many women in their lives who care about them and make raising them a priority – from official Godmothers, to little church ladies, to honorary aunties, to teachers. They all matter. So let’s take Mother’s Day and turn it into a celebration of ALL women! We deserve it.