Mother's Day: UGH.

Hello friends,

I've been dreading writing for Mother's Day all week

but here it is

so here goes.

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Women are always whole people.

And sometimes, they are mothers.

In a culture that exalts and idealizes motherhood

but dislikes actual, human women

Mother's Day easily becomes yet another day

where women -

mothers, daughters, with and without children -

feel Not Enough.

*

My heart goes out today

to my friends who by choice or by circumstance

don't have children.

My heart goes out today

to the mothers and daughters

whose relationships are fraught and fractured,

laden as they are with expectations.

My heart goes out today

to the mothers sitting through stupid brunches

when they'd rather be anywhere else.

Cleaning up the kitchen

(again again again again)

even though it's Their Day.

My heart goes out to all women.

Women who are whole people.

Women who are actual human beings.

Women who get angry, sad, and selfish.

Women who want to be alone.

Women who want to put themselves first,

guiltlessly.

Women who want choices.

*

Speaking of choice:

This particular Mother's Day occurs

the same week states are enacting anti-choice legislation

that forces motherhood on the bodies

of women and girls.

One of them is an 11 year old rape victim in Ohio,

It's another reason I don't feel like celebrating.

*

To be honest,

the Mother in me is a bit worried in this moment.

Is this note too heavy for Mother's Day?

Will it make you sad? Bring you down?

Oughtn't I find something to say

that will lift you up?

And there it is:

the sense that I must suppress my own feelings

my own actual humanness

in order to care for everyone else.

In her fabulous book, Rage Becomes Her

Soraya Chemaly is eloquent in her anger.

She writes,

For women who have children,
motherhood becomes defining,
and the love that we feel for our children
is often overwhelming.
We care in so many ways,
but for motherhood to be truly dignified,
compassionate,
purposeful,
and fulfilling,
it must presume a woman's right
to freely choose to be a parent.
Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in.
Instead, motherhood, the ideal,
smothers women's ability to protest unfairness and injustice.

The challenge we face
is in being unapologetic about our desires and decisions
and in not judging other women's choices.
It is in rechanneling the anger,
guilt,
and shame
that we often encounter
into creating a culture
that no longer conflates the word 
woman with mother
and the word mother with sacrifice.

*
It's Mother's Day.

How about

for one day

for actual, human, women's sake:

we all do what we want

and let all the other women do the same.

natalie millerComment