Happy Mother's Day
"To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power."
I will start this week by sharing a courtesy reminder that in the United States and in many other countries, Mother’s Day will be observed and celebrated in the coming weeks. Here in the US Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14th. Mother's Day is a special day dedicated to honoring and appreciating mothers around the world. It’s a day to express love, gratitude, and respect for the women who have played such an important role in our lives. Whether it's our own mother, grandmother, or other mother figure, Mother's Day is an opportunity to show our appreciation for all that they do and what they mean to us.
The origins of Mother's Day can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where the concept of a mother goddess was worshipped. In the United States, the modern holiday was first observed in 1908, when Anna Jarvis organized a memorial for her mother, who had been a peace activist during the Civil War. Jarvis campaigned for the holiday to be recognized officially, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.
Of course, Mother's Day can be a difficult time for those who have lost their mothers or who have strained relationships with them. Not all mother-child relationships are positive, so Mother’s Day can be emotionally challenging for some people. Also, not all mothers fit into traditional gender roles or stereotypes, and the definition of motherhood is diverse and evolving.
But regardless of whether or not you have or had a biological mother in your life, it’s quite likely there was someone who cared about you along the way who “mothered” you with love and if that’s the case, then it would be very nice if you could think of a way to honor or offer some thoughtfulness towards that person. That could be your own mother of course, the mother of your children, a sister or other relative with kids, a close friend, or someone else who has experience as a mother.
For the past several years popular survey research has found consistently that the number one thing mothers say they would like when asked about Mother’s Day is “time alone.” That may seem surprising but when you think about how demanding and all-encompassing the role of a mother can be, it’s not at all bewildering to realize the moms in our lives can really use a break.
Another bit of survey research I find interesting is that despite all the advances in equal rights, awareness of sexism, and advocacy for women, it is still a prevailing truth that in most traditional two parent families, the mother still ends up being the partner who does the proverbial lion’s share of all the work in keeping house and caregiving for children. This holds true whether mothers are employed full time outside the home or not. In fact, economists estimate that the average mother of two children works the equivalent of 2.5 full time jobs (roughly about 100 hours per week) in doing all that is required or what falls to the mom to take care of.
In financial terms, economists also estimate that if moms were paid for all their time and effort, their average annual salary would be somewhere around $130K per year based on prevailing wages, level of skill required, and mainly due to the extensive hours involved in that 100 hour work-week. If the kids are awake, Mom is on duty, and as kids get older, sometimes that duty increases more than decreases as adolescents often need time and attention from parents even more than children may need.
Imagine if the average household with children had to hire someone to do all the jobs a Mom does routinely? That would include: a full time Nanny to provide care and supervision to the children during waking hours; a cook to prepare meals; a housekeeper to clean; an office manager to keep bills paid, appointments attended, and logistics addressed; a driver to get everyone here and there; a tutor to help with homework; and a coach or therapist to keep the kids and partner in good spirits.
Mothers are an integral part of our lives, and they have a profound impact on our development and growth. They are our first teachers, caregivers, and role models, and they shape our values, beliefs, and behaviors in countless ways. Whether it's through their words of wisdom, their comforting hugs, or their selfless acts of love, mothers leave an indelible mark on our hearts and minds.
Mother’s Day is therefore an important time to reflect on the ways in which our own mothers, or the mothers we know, have touched our lives. This can involve recalling fond memories of childhood, appreciating the sacrifices they made to provide for us, or acknowledging the challenges they overcame to raise us. Whatever form it takes, reflecting on the impact of motherhood can be a powerful way to cultivate gratitude and appreciation for the mothers in our lives.
Once we have taken the time to reflect on the role of motherhood, then we can think of ways to express our gratitude and show our love to the person who was the mother in our lives. This can take many forms, from a simple phone call or text message to a thoughtful gift or gesture. It could involve cooking a special meal together, taking a walk in nature, or doing an activity that your mother enjoys. Whatever the approach, the key is to take the time to make your mother feel special and appreciated, and to show her how much she means to you.
So, I hope you can take time this week to think about your own mother, or a mother you know, and think about how their lives have impacted yours. Think of something thoughtful or special you can do to show them how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate how they’ve touched your life. These opportunities won’t be here forever, so take the time and savor some moments of life together.
Have a great week!