What does Mothers Day mean to you? All right, I know, it was yesterday, and these comments are after the fact for this year. I was busy, ok?
I had a conversation with my son on Sunday; he and his wife live on the other coast, so I cannot help with babysitting. Our conversation wandered over to my years of single parenting and the difficulties of going to school and working when your kids are young. I was so angry those years, knowing what daycare should be, and constantly dealing with what it was not. Any working parent knows that:
- Daycares are not open evenings or weekends, so forget that job with those hours, or taking that lab class you need to graduate in engineering.
- Daycares charge you BY THE MINUTE if you get stuck in traffic or your boss makes you work 10 minutes overtime.
- Daycares do not take kids who are sick, even if they are only mildly ill and only need to rest most of the day.
- Daycares are almost never close to work; if they are close to home that is a mega-bonus, but don’t count on finding one.
- Daycare work does not pay enough to consistently get high quality people. If you can find daycare help who do it because they love kids and don’t need the money, I’d like to submit their names for sainthood, and I don’t think they exist.
- Daycares are mega-expensive. If you have more than 2 kids under 12, you are screwed.
The original purpose of Mothers Day was not to buy flowers and candy for your mom, saint that she is, but was proposed by mothers of dead soldiers after the Civil War. It was to be a day of peace.
The following article on Slate says a lot about mothers day: Soap to Ploughshares: How to return Mother’s Day to its original meaning. By Ruth Rosen, Posted Friday, May 8, 2009, at 7:07 AM ET
“The women who originally celebrated Mother’s Day conceived of it as an occasion to use their status as mothers to protest injustice and war. In 1858, Anna Reeves Jarvis organized Mother’s Work Days in West Appalachian communities to protest the lack of sanitation that caused disease-bearing insects and polluted water to sicken or even kill poor workers. In 1870, after witnessing the bloody Civil War, Julia Ward Howe—a Boston pacifist, poet, and suffragist who wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”—proclaimed a special day for mothers to oppose war. Committed to ending all armed conflict, Howe wrote, “Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage. … Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.”
I do not say these things to denigrate gift giving on Mom’s day; to the contrary, remember that it is a truly sacred day, for the contemplation of peace and respectful treatment of mothers, and all that the human race could be if it lived up to its full potential.
If you like, you can check out the AlterNet article or the Slate articles:
Peace, a mom 🙂