Motherhood is the place in our culture where we lodge, or rather bury, the reality of our own conflicts, of what it means to be fully human. It is the ultimate scapegoat for our personal and political failings. For everything that is wrong with the world, which it becomes the task - unrealizable, of course - of mothers to repair. What are we doing to mothers when we expect them to carry the burden of everything that is hardest to contemplate about our society and ourselves? Mothers cannot help but be in touch with the most difficult aspects of any fully lived life. Why on earth should it fall to them to paint things bright and innocent and safe?
When I was small, there were the drawings and cumbersome school art projects, fiddly cardboard baskets and stuff. My mother put them on display for a while. Three kids meant three of each.
Later, there was the debate on how the nazis glorified mothers and the day, never really a marketing gig anyway - it was the early 1970s - lost its appeal. One year, probably when I was 15 or so, I bought my mother a set of household scissors, bold and red with a magnetic hook, in a clear plastic box. She recoiled when I passed it to her, she knew quite well that I bought this because in our/her messy household, scissors were always hard to find.
Later, the feminists helped me along, why celebrate just ONE day? With flowers and sweets? Motherhood as a marketing strategy, sentimental advertising features to demean women's work etc. when you are a mother every day and every night, often single and juggling employment.
And that was that. As for my own mothering life, not a tinkle. Possibly my daughter went to schools that did not buy into the hype. It's never been an issue but then, we are also a Valentine's day-free household.