I’ve been reading a lot of articles the last few days about people’s feelings about Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, many of the articles you find out there are about why we shouldn’t celebrate Mother’s Day because it’s hurtful to some people, and I felt the need to respond to that. Being a mother is tough, and not being a mother and being reminded of it, that might just be tougher. I think there’s a way to acknowledge all of that without getting rid of a special day to remember the place that mothers hold in our hearts.
The first thing I would like everyone to remember is that no one can make you feel the way you do. You are the only person in control of your emotions. No one can make you feel sad, happy, or otherwise on Mother’s Day or any other of the 364 days of the year that we should be appreciating mothers but don’t necessarily. Having said that, it is important to keep in mind that Mother’s Day doesn’t serve to make people who can’t conceive or haven’t had a successful adoption or have lost a mother grieve. Just like Valentine’s Day doesn’t exist to make single people feel lonely and inadequate. Perspective, people.
Which leads me to my next point. You’re probably wondering, how am I supposed to celebrate Mother’s Day if I am dealing with some sort of pain in relation to motherhood? As much as Mother’s Day celebrates being a mother, it also celebrates having a mother. Not being with your mother on mother’s day can also hurt, especially if she’s recently passed, but I encourage you, as hard as it may be, to look past that to the wonderful way in which she touched your life and celebrate that instead of mourning.
Which leads me to my next point (see a pattern here?). Everyone has some sort of mother figure in their life. They may not be biological, foster, or adoptive. They may be a grandmother, aunt, close friend, mentor, stepmother, mother-in-law. Are they not mothers too? I don’t just mean that they may have their own children, but do they not function as a mother figure in your life? They love you unconditionally. They show you how to be the best person (and maybe, mother?) you can be. They have some of the best ears to listen. Sounds like a mother to me.
Still not convinced? It goes the other way too. Story time! You all know that I am just weeks away from graduating high school and implementing one of the biggest changes in my life (college!). By no means am I a mother in a narrow-minded definition such as “one who conceives and gives birth to, providing half of the DNA to, a particular human being.” Don’t get me wrong, that type of mother is wonderful and wholly necessary! But this is where people get touchy because a) not all women end up being able to use that potential and b) that is not the only definition of being a mother, although it is heavily stressed. However, I am still a mother. Don’t believe me? Well, I’ve been in my school’s drama department for six years now, and I have lots of deep friendships with a lot of people in the department, including the people younger than me. They call me “Drama Mama.” Not because I’m an over-dramatic, histrionic drama queen, but because within the drama department, I am the mother. They all come to me because they know I will care are be there for them. Am I not a mother too? If I have the capacity to touch people like that, I’m sure you have done the same to at least one person. Celebrate that! You’re a mother; this is your day too!
And if all else fails, celebrate the mothers of the world. Mother Teresa. Mary the Mother of Christ. Prime examples of what it is like to be mothers, and not just in a biological sense. I’m not dismissing the importance of biological mothers or the hurt caused by the inability, for whatever reason, to become one, but just keep in mind how much harder and more special it is to be a mother in character than it is to be a mother in body.
To all mothers, in every sense of the word, thank you for what you do for us, whether it be give us life, love, happiness, or a little bit of each.