Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to Mothers

Today is Mother's Day. Established by Anna Marie Jarvis in 1905 as a way of honouring her mother, Ann Jarvis, who died on May 9, 1905. The elder Jarvis had pioneered attempts at establishing a “Mother's Friendship Day” to reunite families who had been divided during the War Between the States. The holiday was declared official by the state of West Virginia in 1910, and the rest of states followed quickly.

Like most other holidays I believe Mother's day has been trivialized and can be added to the ever growing list of commercial events rather than a day set aside to reflect upon the contributions of the people or person it was intended to honour. I still wonder each year what attaching stickers of the characters of the latest popular animated children's program to coloured eggs has to do with Jesus.

Jarvis also opposed the commercialization of Mother's Day which had become rampant within 10 years. She saw the purchase of greeting cards as a means for those who were too lazy to write a personal letter. Jarvis was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization of Mother's Day, and she finally said that she "...wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control ..."

I am dismayed by the far-reaching stretch that card makers and others are attempting to make to sell more products. Apparently it is becoming common to provide your grandmother, aunt, sister or practically any female who has given birth with a Mother's Day greeting card. It should really come as no surprise though.

Since the 1970's motherhood has been trivialized through the feminist movement which sought to limit women's choices. Being a stay-at-home mother and providing the necessary, intimate care to your children was projected as caving in to the demands of a male-dominated society and was no longer acceptable. The myth that children could be reared just as effectively in institutionalized settings was projected.

Women who chose child-rearing of their own children were failing to meet “their needs”. Instead they were programmed to forgo early childhood and pursue additional institutionalized education for the purpose of entering the job market as a career woman. Many bought into it which – with what they lacked in parenting skills and commitment – they made up for in denial.

Grandmothers, aunts, sisters and practically any other person are now the ones who are raising many children in our contemporary society while birth mothers abandon their obligation in search of other pursuits. We often hear about how society has failed our children or it takes a village to raise them. Your children are not mine or my neighbors though, they are yours and if they are failed or need to be raised by a village it is because of two people – their mother and father – who should have raised them but failed. Still, all too often mothers and fathers are willing to shirk their responsibility and hand their children over to a stranger to raise.

For all those mothers who made personal sacrifices to provide their children with the important elements in their lives – regular routines, rituals, consistency and the sense that you know and care about them – you are the ones deserving of the rewards of parenthood and the accolades of Mother's Day.

For all those who laconically pass their children off to be raised in an institution or by a nanny, you should give it up. You are no more a mother than the “family” dog. You should have had a parakeet instead. That way you could just throw a towel over its cage and quiet it whenever you are too busy or just not interested enough to tend to its needs. Finding a babysitter or having to take your car to be detailed to clean up after the children is not the type of "sacrifice" that a true parent makes for their children.

Instead of you pseudo mothers lining your dresser top or some other acquisition with the impersonal cards and flowers you received for Mother's Day, you should bag that stuff now while the nanny clears the dinner table and prepares the children for bed. Put that bag in the hand of your child as you send her off in the morning to the primary caregiver and enclose a note that says this: “Thanks for picking up where I have failed. You deserve these Mother's Day praises more than me.

Better yet don't bother. You have already rationalized your abuse and neglect of the child you chose to have. Why would I possibly think you would owe up to it and accept that you are only a mother through biology. Tell your husband to bang the nanny tonight. At least that way “your” next child will have a better chance of getting raised by his mother.

If you need assistance in building a relationship with your child then please contact my scheduler to arrange an appointment with me.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2011 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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