So sometimes I actually read Anne Lamott and don’t completely disagree with what she has to say despite her overly religious sentiment in the vast majority of her writing. Sometimes Anne has some good points about society and I find them intriguing, but her post yesterday about Mother’s Day I actually find a bit appalling and completely off base. If you don't like snarky and a little bitchy, then I suggest you stop reading. I love my kids, I love my mother. I recognize not all people have those relationships, but I also believe that Anne's post is 100% wrong and here's why.
Dear Anne, I think you’ve got Mother’s Day all wrong. And if this is the way you were raised to “celebrate” your Mother and the people you claim to love you who raised you, I’m sorry for you.
“I didn’t want him to feel some obligation to buy me pricey lunches or flowers, some annual display of gratitude that you have to grit your teeth and endure.”
Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be about pricey lunches and flowers or annual displays of gratitude that you have to “grit your teeth to endure.” My kids look forward to making me sweet art of their own volition to show their love and appreciation on Mother’s Day. I wasn’t raised to buy my mother flowers or pricey lunches. In fact nothing was ever expected other than a little respect and gratitude for the fact that she was my mother. Maybe a nice card, that I made myself. That’s it.
“We talk about “loving one’s child” as if a child were a mystical unicorn.”
Well Anne, if you weren’t making up nonsense before, now you’re just talking gibberish because unicorns can be way cooler than children. I know. I have four children.
“But in my experience, it’s parents who are prone to exhibit terrible self-satisfaction and selfishness, who can raise children as adjuncts, like rooms added on in a remodel. Their children’s value and achievements in the world are reflected glory, necessary for these parents’ self-esteem, and sometimes, for the family’s survival. This is how children’s souls are destroyed.”
Oh Anne, this one is rich. Your experience is clearly vast. Or not. As a parent of four children, one of which has some mild emotional regulation issues, I can assure you that my “children’s value and achievements in the world are reflected glory, necessary for these parents’ self-esteem, and sometimes, for the family’s survival.” All of my children are different and we welcome, nurture, cherish, and value those differences. It’s what makes us a family. And while life would be easy if all of my kids were perfect and easy and poster children for the Stepford Wives as apparently your son is, my children are not. We don’t use our children’s successes to define ourselves and our parenting success. Maybe you’re hanging with the wrong crowd if that’s your experience?
“You want to give me chocolate and flowers? That would be great. I love them both. I just don’t want them out of guilt, and I don’t want them if you’re not going to give them to all the people who helped mother our children”
If you’re relationship is such that you are getting those items out of guilt, that’s a whole other subject that requires counseling…something that goes beyond boycotting Mother’s Day or any other holiday. I suggest finding a psychologist for starters. You can write all the posts you want on your Facebook page that isn’t going to do much.
If you have the budget to give gifts that touched the life of your child over the years, feel free; that’s your prerogative. However, there are a ton of other holidays also dedicated to that as well. Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Teacher Appreciation Week, National Day Care Provider Week, Neighbor Appreciation Day, National Babysitters Day, Best Friends Day. Oh, and there’s no rule that says you can’t give a card or gift to your mom’s best friend for Mother’s Day if she was very influential in raising you. Did you see that as a rule somewhere? I didn’t.
“Like everything else, it can fill me only if it is ordinary and available to all.”
Well, Anne. Mother’s Day is available to all people who can even remotely be fit into a category related to Mother’s Day. Are we going to start changing holidays to be all inclusive? Is Veterans Day going to include non-veterans? Is Memorial Day going to include people who didn’t die serving our country? Where do we draw the line? Or how about Christmas? Will she stop celebrating that one because other religions don’t celebrate it? Christmas isn’t available to you if you don’t believe in Christ? I could go on but I think I’ve made my point.
Since when did we stop celebrating holidays because someone didn’t fit the bill 100%? Aren’t we trying to become a more inclusive country? Anne mentions how her “all but gay men” friends are excluded from Mother’s Day. Many of the gay men I am friends with who are raising kids or influential in the life of a child would be honored to get a Mother’s Day card.