Sorry, Anne Lamott, you are wrong about Mother’s Day

By  | May 9, 2015 |  Comments | Filed under: Feminism, News Commentary

Anne Lamott can stop. She wrote a big old diatribe about Mother’s Day yesterday with two basic points: motherhood isn’t special and we should include all women on this day. Normally the more inclusive route is the high road, but let’s take a closer look.

“Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings” – Anne Lamott

Does she say that about Father’s Day?  Grandparent’s Day? Teacher Appreciation Day? I guess you can’t do anything for women, mothers specifically, without including everyone. Nothing can ever be about girls and women without opening up the celebration to everyone, can it? She’s all-lives-mattering Mother’s Day.

Remember the Like A Girl campaign that aimed to point out how girls are portrayed in our culture as bad (“you run like a girl” is an insult, etc.) That devolved pretty quickly into Like A Kid. God forbid anyone pause for more than a moment to consider the overlooked value of girls and women.

But the craziest, grimmest people this Sunday will be the mothers themselves, stuck herding their own mothers and weeping children and husbands’ mothers into seats at restaurants. These mothers do not want a box of chocolate. These mothers are on a diet.”

So . . . the role of a mother, especially one sandwiched between young children and grandparents, is actually a demanding, thankless position only glorified in Clorox commercials? And that it actually carries a lot of invisible labor? YOU DON’T SAY! Maybe . . . I don’t know, we could have a day to celebrate that dedicated role? Something like a Mother’s Day where we celebrate mothers?

That would be a fine idea, but Anne Lamott goes on to make her second point, that Mother’s Day should be about all women, even those who didn’t become mothers for one reason or another. Also, that some mothers suck and those who have dead mothers or dead children are reason to not celebrate Mother’s Day at all, or change it to include all women.

Remember that on Veteran’s Day – we will now be celebrating veterans and those who wanted to serve, but couldn’t for one reason or another! Let’s just celebrate everyone on every holiday. I’ll take a chocolate cake and pearl earrings on your birthday.

I understand as well as anyone that Mother’s Day will sting for some. In fact, it stings for me from both directions. I haven’t spoken to my biological mother in years after a short and terrible childhood. Then in 2013 I delivered a stillborn twin and we lost our beloved mother-in-law eight months later. I could focus on my pain on Sunday, but instead, I choose not to live in my grief.

Mother’s Day is for people to celebrate those who have mothered them. As with anything in life you can choose the dark side or look to the light. Other peoples’ darkness is not your responsibility.

My kids will be snuggling me and handing me scrawlings they made in school. Word on the street is I have some crayon art featuring a ladybug coming my way. It’s the big way my small people can show me they love me. Even if the rest of the world opens up Mother’s Day to include grandpas and aliens, my kids will still want to make me feel special. No one can take that away.

Wait, maybe Anne Lamott and have common ground after all,

[M]ake mine something like M&M’s, and maybe flowers you picked yourself, even from my own garden.”

That’s all I want, too. After all, we don’t do the work of motherhood for the reward of brunch once a year. If we did, we wouldn’t be mothers at all. We would have had our tubes tied at 18 and chased gold through amazing careers.

We don’t mother for the reward of being celebrated on Mother’s Day any more than nurses change bed pans for the flowers on nurse’s day or teachers teach just for the #1 Teacher mugs. Mother’s Day is between mothers and those they have mothered and Anne Lamott’s Facebook rant can’t come between us.

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Try telling this little girl she needs to celebrate anyone but me this Sunday.

Agree? Or punch me in the face?