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mothers day

I was proud of myself and my family this morning. We finally broke down and got Josie a haircut yesterday, it looks adorable. We got up and got ready for church. I had on a nice skirt, and Josie was wearing this perfect dress with butterflies. She skinned her face up pretty bad yesterday on our walkway, throwing a tantrum because I'd locked the gate and wouldn't let her run out into the street, so I was happy to have her in a dress that was more noticeable than her barfight-looking face. "I am happy to be a mother," I thought.

Then at church there were the prayer requests from the congregation and I swear, this is the summary of what I heard they were about:

5% celebrating mothers
25% supporting those with missing or lost mothers
30% celebrating mother-figures of people whose original mothers didn't cut it
60% healing for those whose mothers just totally damaged them beyond all earthly help

I stopped to think what sort of prayer my kid would be asking the congregation for, 30 years from now.

I realized, statistically speaking, that my odds are not good.

I've never been a huge fan of mothers day anyhow, but it seems like fathers day is more about laughing at the shortcomings of our dads, there are all the cards about how they like sports or fishing or sleeping in, and mothers day is more like "mothers sacrifice SO MUCH we have to thank them unless they fell short of that perfection so we don't". We're all either IN or OUT. It reminded me of the commonly referred to "deuce bigalow" media trope, where a tragic male is funny, but a tragic female is just tragic.

I'm not blaming the people who stood up. They're telling it like it is. Not all mothers are good mothers. Not all mothers can be there. It's unfortunate, just like it's unfortunate that not all fathers are good fathers. What I don't like is this sugary-sweet holiday drawing attention to it, forcing everyone to walk by the pink store displays and put every mother under a microscope.

I think we should lighten up a bit, that's all. Loving your mother, or considering your mother, should be just a normal part of everyday life. It gets too weird when we take something from the everyday and FOCUS on it. It's like getting a bouquet of 2-dozen roses on valentine's day... what does that couple do the other 364 days a year?

I just want to lay low, be what I'm going to be, and hope that's good enough for my child. No holidays. No analysis. No conformity. Less pressure.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 13th, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
I think Mothers day is a pretty good idea simply because it helps remind kids to appreciate their Mothers. One day a year is not too much to ask to just highlight what your mothers done for you. Sure, there are a few lousy mothers out there, but by and large most moms (including you) are doing a good job that certainly involves more sacrifice than reward in raising a child decently. Nothing wrong with a little bit of recognition for that.
May. 13th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
"60% healing for those whose mothers just totally damaged them beyond all earthly help"

This is a *horrible* thing to ask for on a day that's supposed to be celebrating mothers. If your mother fucked you up, suck it up on this one day and stop being selfish for all those wonderful mothers out there.

It's like the anti-woman crap I saw on FB earlier. Fuck that. I'm a good mother. *YOU* are a good mother. We need to support women and not tear them down. I you can't manage that on one day a year keep your trap (or text) shut.
May. 14th, 2012 03:57 am (UTC)
My mom couldn't agree with you more, which is why it's never been a big "holiday" in our house. She's like, um, I'd rather you just be nice to me all year. Mother's Day is so hard for so many women, for so many reasons. I was so gratified that in church, our new pastor made sure to mention adoptive mothers and women who are mother figures or who have parented in non-traditional ways. I like feeling included instead of sad and a little embarrassed.
May. 14th, 2012 09:55 am (UTC)
My mum and I have been through some shit through the years. My psychologist calls it a "misfit, emotionally." We're just very different people and it's caused a lot of problems. She's not a huggy/kissy person, and I need a lot of affection, for a start.

But she loves me, and I love her. So even if Josie turns out to be the sort of teenager or young woman who makes you want to tear your hair out (like I was), even if you stop speaking for three months like mum and I did when I was 21, things will be cool. Just so long as she always knows you love her and you really wanted to have her.

As for the 60% of folk healing, I think I agree with astrogeek01.
May. 14th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
Mother's Day is just plain weird. As a mother and a daughter, I relate to what you're getting at. For one, motherhood is competitive. Which is interesting when you look at it from a gendered perspective. You'd think Father's Day would bring out the competitiveness being about men and all, but you made me question why and I can only tentatively posit that it has to be related to how significant we make motherhood to womanhood. After all, if all women are supposed to really define themselves as is a Mother, is it any wonder that we're so damn neurotic about it? There exists such a host of complicated nuances of "right" mothering rather than just recognizing that the reality is simply no two mothers are going to do it the same and no one version of motherhood is the ANSWER to perfect children...

As a mother of five children I can tell you, they each demand a different type of mothering. Their personalities are uniquely their's and their development has been on their own terms. I do the damn best that I can but I can guarantee that I'm about 50/50. Half the time I'm dead on, and the other half I'm the Titanic. Or maybe that's just me being overly analytic as usual.

I love them. And that always seems good enough for the Dad's. Why is it never quite enough for the Mom's?

On the other side of the coin, my mother and I had what one could easily call a tumultuous relationship. There is definitely some water under the bridge, yet our rickety bridge is still standing. I choose to celebrate that bridge rather than tear it down by excavating its history and damage. I celebrate our ability to come out the other side of the parent/child dynamic still intact and aware of who we are as women. When questioned how I can "overlook our past" I'm always rather surprised by that angle. I'm not overlooking our past, in my opinion, I'm acknowledging it and refusing to let the negative dictate all meaning for me.

Was (is) she a bad mother? What kind of question is that exactly? I'm alive aren't I? I'm proud of who I am and that came about in part because of the life I had to lead, a life she gave me. She was (and is) a MOTHER. And it is that aspect that I choose to celebrate and recognize.

I suppose because too many fathers are absentee that is the definition of a Bad Father. One who isn't there, versus the vast differences of those who have stuck around for one reason or another (some better than others).

Why is it so difficult to simply recognize that a Mother is still a Woman, is still a Person? We don't need to celebrate some idealized version of perfection vomited out by the media and talking heads.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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