For me, Mothers Day is the plain worst. In the past it made me weepy; now it makes me grim. I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I also know that vocalizing this dissent is controversial at best, toxic at worst. (I’ve got stories.) That said, I’m going to vocalize it once again, and not just in solidarity with all those who don’t have kids or lost their mother or don’t exactly have a hearts-and-flowers relationship with her. I’m calling out Mother’s Day because shattering myths is one of the few upsides of our new dystopia.
I’ll start with this: I am electively child-free. I mentor, I big-sister, I god-parent, but I never wanted to be a mother, and I say this as a person who has been pregnant twice. (What happened in either instance is a story I’ve yet to tell in print.) I like some kids, even love a few, but ended up feeling I’d spent too much of my youth babysitting adults and other people’s offspring to sign on for dirty diapers and asshole adolescences as a grown woman. As well, I don’t much care for the emphasis of nuclear families over other, more elective types of human relationships; the fact that Freud is still a common reference is evidence enough of their inherent dysfunction. And the relationships between mothers and daughters? Oy vey. I hear they can be great but rarely observe this phenomenon first hand–not in my intuitive practice and not in my personal life. Even now the shadow of female oppression, both internalized and societal, seems to complicate if not outright tarnish most mother-daughter dynamics. What we expect of mothers should be what we expect all other nurturers–which is to say, a hell of a lot less than we do–but I don’t see the expectations foisted upon moms changing any decade soon. Instead, I see the worst kind of pit-and-pedestal mishegos–sentimentalization without true support or flexibility. Insert the hypocrisy of Mothers Day here.
So what is my point, aside from clouding this little corner of your day? I’m saying I respect everyone who consciously parents but Hallmark holidays are generally a capitalistic nightmare and this one is more fraught and forced than most, especially in a political climate in which women who flout conventions are facing serious hot water. I’m saying that this day, like Fathers Day, leaves in the cold all the people who parent in other capacities or gender identifications. I’m saying I’ll be celebrating Mother Mary May instead, pretty people. See you on the flip flop.