Am I the only mother who doesn't like Mother's Day?
I have two children of my own whom I love beyond anything I could have imagined. I spend almost all of my waking (and many of my sleeping) hours with them.
But Mother's Day leaves me grumpy and cranky and all in a funk.
I don't like being told that my most important roles are chauffeur and cook and maid. Even if it's said in earnest by men and children trying to show their appreciation, it falls flat. I don't like the sentimental tributes that lump all mothers together and assign us certain universal qualities. Like The Amazing Ability To Clean And Cook And Look After The Kids Since I (The Masculine, Slightly Helpless Husband) Am Just Not Born With Those Skills.
I'm just not feeling the love.
If we really valued mothers--speaking both individually and culturally--we wouldn't have one day of lip service, followed by a year of neglect. Give us a year's paid maternity and paternity leave. Give us Mother-Friendly care in all hospitals and birth centers. Give us a culture that really, truly values mothers and children and finds ways to keep them together even when the mother needs to earn a living, like flextime, on-site childcare, or babies-at-work programs. Give us a month of daily home visits from postpartum helpers who can cook, clean, do laundry, and help with the other kids so we can snuggle and nurse our newborns. Give us generous social and emotional support for the tremendous work of mothering.
But please don't give us flowers and a sappy tribute to 1950's gender roles and think that will suffice until the next Mother's Day.