Mother’s Day and Childfree People
I originally published this post two years ago, but I liked it and thought it was worth another look. My friends who are mothers have declared me a “Dog Mom,” which I suspect is one step closer to Crazy Dog Lady – a moniker I fully embrace.
Hubby and I do not have children. Why, or how, is no one’s business and not subject for a public forum. Suffice it to say, that in our mid-40s, we are not planning to start a family, as our family is complete.
This brings me to the awkwardness of Mother’s Day, and the exploitation….er, “celebration,” of motherhood. It has become a slippery slope like wishing someone “Happy Holidays.” My response when someone wishes me a happy anything, is to say, “thank you.” I don’t care to have a long, drawn out discussion of religion, philosophy, end-of-days, heaven, hell, bunions, facial hair, acne or explosive diarrhea. Although, as a Nursing Student I have an unnatural fascination with bowel movements. They are magical!
More awkward than wishing someone a “Happy Mother’s Day,” is the “do you have children” question. When I answer, “no,” there are two reactions. The cover-up “oh,” followed by uneasy silence, or the probing “why not?” My typical response is to shrug my shoulders and stare at the person, because saying “none of your damned business,” seems unnecessarily harsh. And, it really is NONE of their business, so I don’t engage in conversation about it. I simply don’t care to hear their thoughts about my personal life. Ironically, the people who are most likely to ask, or make unsolicited comments, are those least closest to me. Interesting.
Many of us mentor others throughout our lives. In my case, there are several women whom I have advised during incredibly difficult experiences in their lives. I was the “adult” they turned to for support and advice. They chose me, for their own personal reasons and I was honored to be their shoulder to cry on or first person to celebrate with. Did that make me a mother? <shoulder shrug>
Which brings me to Mother’s Day. What do you say to single fathers, grandparents raising their grandchildren, foster parents, gay dads, siblings raising other siblings? I still struggle with this.
However, in honor of the “holiday,” I wish EVERYONE who is mother, or serves in the role of a mother a happy day. May you be celebrated for your personal contributions to forming the next generation by being acknowledged for being YOU. (Free meals, coffee and gift certificates are also nice, people.)