As Mother’s Day rolls around each year, I find myself of mixed minds. Don’t get me wrong; even more since she passed last year, I love my mother and would celebrate her and how she raised my brother and me any day of the week. But as a childfree person, I have problems with Mother’s Day as a national holiday. Why? Here are two reasons:
Mother’s Day is a national reinforcement of pronatalist values
The holiday exalts motherhood, and all the myths that surround it. There are many but let’s start with– it’s “the” ticket to fulfillment in life for women. It reinforces the belief that motherhood is synonymous with womanhood, which continues to limit the boundaries of female identity to the confines of maternity. It continues to glorify motherhood and children and perpetuates the assumption that all women will reproduce. Simply put, it perpetuates a child-centric society.
Mother’s Day does not acknowledge all who mother
Mothers are obviously key to the raising of children. But they are not the only people who influence the raising of a child. I’d like to see the holiday be “Mothering” Day—a day in which we celebrate the women in our lives who exhibit mothering qualities and have had special impact on us. Mothers aren’t the only ones who love, have patience, listen to, nurture, guide, care for, and set a good example for children. Many people, parents or not, contribute to the lives of children in powerful ways. “Mother’s” Day focuses only on the person who gave birth to the child—so many more people play a part in a child’s life, and they play an important role throughout his/her life. “Mothering Day” should become a day in which everyone celebrates all who helped raise children and who have played an important role in their lives.
Today I celebrate my deceased mother, my deceased grandmother, my deceased childfree godmother, and all of the women role models and mentors who have been in my life. There is a place for non-parents on the holiday. It shouldn’t just be celebrating the person who gave birth to you. It should celebrate all of those women who helped you become all you can be~
Childfree–how do you experience Mother’s Day?
Originally posted May 2010 – I like to post this each year, as it continues to reflect my sentiments today!