A friendly reminder as we celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow: Mothers are people too!
Before they gave birth to you, adopted you or took on a mothering role, they were (and are) human beings. Yes, mothering is a nurturing position, but a mother’s life cannot revolve just around serving those around her.
Girls are encouraged to marry men, encouraged to have children, encouraged to put those children first above all else. So long as mothering is an action considered specific to women, motherhood is another way women are told to put themselves last.
It’s wonderful that we celebrate mothers! For a 24/7 job that is unpaid and unfairly relegated to one gender, mothers deserve recognition. But Mother’s Day cards and gifts reflect the same gendered mindset that places this burden on women in the first place.
Mother’s Day cards thank mothers for all that they do for others. It’s a system revolving around us: those of us who receive mothering.
In 1976, Marge Piercy wrote the sci fi feminist utopian novel Woman on the Edge of Time. Piercy imagines a utopia where mothering is an action any gender can undertake. Families have co-mothers, people of all genders who take on the nurturing role of mothering and share the responsibility. A Mother’s Day in Piercy’s imagined world would look very different from the pink Mother’s Day cards and breakfast in bed traditions we practice.
A Mother’s Day in Piercy’s world would recognize the nurturer in each of us. It would be a celebration of mothering, not the people who mother. It would be a day to acknowledge all the work and dedication that goes into putting someone else first.
Mothers are people. They deserve more than a day of thanks for what they do for those around them.
Tomorrow, when you thank a mother in your life, let them know you acknowledge not just what they do for you, but the person they are. Their life does not belong to anyone but themselves.