09 May 2009

What if Mothers Reclaimed Mother's Day?

Guest post by Deb Maike.

My mother was born in 1920. For the first nine years of her life she was a Canadian but not a 'person' under Canadian law. Thanks to the women of HER mother’s generation this injustice was rectified and thanks to the struggles of subsequent generations of women, many of them mothers, demanding the right to work in 'non-traditional' jobs, women of today can be anything they want in Canada… except Olympic ski jumpers.

Men can be anything they want… except mothers. They simply don't have the wherewithal. The role of motherhood is enormous, far greater than anybody lets on. Apparently too great to teach in school… oh, we get the 'whatever you do don’t get pregnant'; 'here's how you put on a condom'. It is the role and responsibility of every mother to raise an independent, productive, confident, educated child but in our society mothers are inclined to coddle, to make sure that their children's lives are 'better than theirs had been' by ensuring they have their every want if not their needs satisfied. Ours is a privileged culture.

Can you imagine being a mother in Darfur, Afghanistan, Congo, Cambodia, Pakistan and the plethora of other countries where the rights of women are diminished? Can you imagine giving birth to a child of rape and having no reserves to produce the milk to keep this innocent child alive? Can you imagine gazing into the eyes of your newborn and fearing that when she toddles she may be blown apart by landmines left over from long ago wars?

Do you imagine that any mother suckles her child and says ‘I will raise you to be a killer.’ Do you imagine that any mother provides the education, to load an AK-27 or RPG or make a roadside bomb, that her newborn may already have by the age of ten? Do you imagine any mother who has less than less, wanting even less for her child?

That’s just not the way of mothers. Mothers want more for their children. Some simply want clean water, enough food, a safe place to live, and an education for their children. In our culture we have these things in such abundance they are taken for granted. Most of our kids are housed, clothed, fed, watered, and educated without a sense of the value of these basic human rights.

One only need look at the places in 3rd world countries where the responsibilities of life are demanded of very young children; they tend goats, gardens, and pigs; they learn to sweep and cook and gather water. When, through assistance, these children are provided with their basic needs they are EAGER to be educated. they know their responsibilities and yearn to explore their abilities; they understand and appreciate what our children have yet to learn. Motherhood is a razor’s edge; a juggle to maintain the balance between, survival and coddling. Raising an independent child is an education unto itself.

What if the mothers of the world ALL stood up and said ‘Enough is Enough’ and say to their sons ‘I did not teach you to kill’; and say to their daughters ‘You will not teach your children to kill’?

What if all mothers stood together and said: ‘Together we will share responsibilities; together we will drink of clean water and eat enough food; together we will learn; so that our children will know peace.’?

What if Mother’s Day referred more to Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870 than the cards and flowers of today?

What if mothers reclaimed Mother’s Day?

What if mothers were truly celebrated and supported on a daily basis for their roles as nurturers and educators?

Hug your mother, if you have one, and look at her through a mother’s eyes.

Oh, and, what if women ski jumpers win their rightful place in the arena of their choice, the Olympics? What if at least one of them is a mother?

Recommend this post