Monday, May 13, 2013

When bad things happen to Mother's Day

I hate the "supermum" meme. I hate the "I don't know how she does it" trope. I hate the "Mother's Day is your one day off for the year" joke.

Mothers shouldn't have to be superhuman. The humanity should be shared around. It's an empty compliment.

Mother's Day shouldn't be to thank mothers for doing more than everyone else for the rest of the year. It shouldn't be about looking at mothers in amazement and awe because they cope with most of the burdens of family life.

If it is any of that, I don't want it. You don't hear similar things about Father's Day. Think about it. You don't hear "Dad, you work so hard for us, take the day off." Fathers are congratulated simply for being. Mothers are congratulated for always holding down the fort. For being everything. It's too big a burden. Don't thank them for that. Lighten the load.

Fathers and mothers should be supported and and acknowledged for the gifts of humanity that they hand down to their children. For their unique and important role in society. Raising children. Fathers who do this are just as important as mothers. But we expect so much more of mothers.

It's sexist to perpetuate the "put your feet up, love, I'll do the dishes tonight" attitude towards Mother's Day. If you're doing something that should be shared equally on any given day as part of generally being a decent human being, and you think it's doing a special favour to volunteer for it on Mother's Day, you're doing it wrong.

The reality is most women do bear the brunt of the household manual and emotional labour. But a day of fawning doesn't cut it. I think symbolism, ritual and gratitude are important, don't get me wrong. A day to celebrate mothers is welcome. But don't co-opt it.

Mother's and Father's Day, any day of celebration, should be a chance to honour the unique qualities of that individual in a way that they would like. Say thank you. But mothers deserve appreciation and support every day of the year.

1 comment:

  1. This is exactly what I needed to read. Well said.