Today is Mother’s Day in the United States and as someone whose mother passed away 22 years ago and never gave birth to or adopted a child of my own, the day has become for me what I imagine Christmas is like for Jewish or Muslim people.
As the years have gone by, I’ve noticed that the marketing of Mother’s Day has gotten even more intense. You used to only see it in the mall or at a greeting card store, but these days it is everywhere. It is estimated that $20.7 billion will be spent on mothers for Mother’s Day this year. That is big business. Now it isn’t at the level of Christmas yet, but it beats out what is spent at Easter ($14.6 billion) and poor Father’s Day ($12.5 billion).
The founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, envisioned the day as one where sons and daughters would visit their mothers or at least write them letters and “live this day as your mother would have you live it.” She had hoped that the day would be a holy day, not a commercial holiday and fought vigorously against all of the commercialism, but was then ridiculed in press for being a spinster and bit a cranky.
I certainly don’t begrudge a day set aside for honoring mothers and all that they do to keep our civilization going, but it can be an emotional time for people, women especially, when they have lost a mother, had a terrible mother, never knew their mother, have never been able to have biological children or have lost children themselves.
For those of us with those circumstances, I would offer that it is our thoughts about our mothers, our children or lack thereof that really bring any discomfort we feel around the day. Granted, reminders are everywhere and that in a way is a good thing because it is bringing up feelings that you need to deal with.
The dictionary defines mothering as bringing up a child with care and affection. What if that child was you? What if you mothered yourself and took a look at the thoughts and feelings you are having and showed yourself some compassion? The past is over with. What is causing pain now are your thoughts. By looking at them non-judgmentally and offering yourself some love and understanding, those thoughts can change. The reminders can be less painful.
Today can be a day that you mother yourself.
Whatever your circumstance is today, I hope you will do what Anna Jarvis planned over a hundred years ago, but with a twist. Live this day as YOU would live it.