15 May 2023

Mother's day

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?

 Jacqueline Rose

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. 





Colette said...

For me, the best part of Mother's Day is seeing all the photos of my friends' mothers on Facebook and Instagram. Beyond that, meh.

ellen abbott said...

not having a loving or even at times, most times, good relationship with my mother, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, birthday, christmas were all days of duty towards her. by the time I was 15, she had become the formal 'mother', not mommy or mom, just mother. also by the time I was 15 I realized that there was no pleasing her, that whatever the gift, however much thought you put into it, it was never sufficient, never what she truly wanted and she would retire early with a headache. Mother's Day was always a low key day in my home with my children and now they are grown with their own lives I get a text or phone call and that is fine. I know they love me. we just don't do 'required' presents, not for any day or holiday. having a husband whose mother deserted him and his siblings when he was nine has certainly informed my husband's response to the day, which is to say he may or may not say something and I'm OK with that too although he was a little more attentive when the kids were growing up.

Ms. Moon said...

Excellent quotation.

Pixie said...

I used to like mother's day with my mum. I always bought her a plant for the garden and we often went to the greenhouse that day as well. Mum taught me how to garden and laugh, for that I'm thankful.