Happy Mother’s Day to all who do the work of mothering in this world, and all who care and provide nurture to the young (and not-so-young) who need it. I am enjoying a very unusual, for me, Mother’s Day and am writing this in bed while my husband and children are cooking me breakfast. Normally I have to be up and off to church so early on a Sunday that I have missed this particular Mother’s Day ritual over the years, but in the last week of my sabbatical I get to enjoy this lazy Sunday.
And Happy Mother’s Day as well to those who may not feel included on this day: the foster parents, the women who have struggled with fertility, those estranged from their mothers or their children, those who have lost children, or the women whose choice to not have children often feels judged or criticized. As a wise friend wrote on her Facebook page today: “just because I’m celebrating doesn’t mean everyone is, and I have to remember that.”
Mother’s Day itself began as a rallying cry for mothers to band together and call for peace, and for an end to their children (sons, mostly, back then) being sacrificed to war. Unitarian Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870, following the American Civil War.
In the last few years, the Unitarian Universalist Association has partnered with Strong Families to promote a Mother’s Day (Or “Mama’s Day) that is a more diverse and multicultural and justice-oriented affair. I’ve also been reading other wonderful ideas for a way to make Mother’s Day go beyond a card and flowers:
Support a local diaper bank, if your community has one.
Light a Candle and pray for the girls kidnapped in Nigeria.
Take action on any of the issues identified as important to Moms. Most of these issues should be important to us all!
The flowers, cards, gifts, and breakfasts are lovely, but this day can go beyond that. My experience of motherhood has been all about loving: the love my mother gave me and the love I give my children. And that motherly love seeks to provide nurture and safety. Wouldn’t a world transformed by motherly love be a world where everyone received what they needed (food, shelter, love , acceptance, opportunities, etc) and were safe? While appreciating the mothers closest to us is a lovely thing to do – and I appreciate it! – we can also see this as a day to extend that ideal motherly love beyond our own family circles, and spread it out into the world. May it be so.