I feel like holidays are uncomfortable for a lot of people, but Mother’s Day is especially awkward.
And it’s not just because for one day (or two days) a year, we force folks to confront the deeply-buried and often traumatic issues they have with their parents and call it a holiday.
But because folks put all sorts of stipulations on who gets to celebrate it and
Yesterday, I decided that I would say “Happy Mother’s Day” to everyone. I was inspired by several old Black men who over the weekend kept wishing me, as well as the other women who passed them by, a “Happy Mother’s Day.”
I note that they were old Black men because they were the only ones who said it to me. Not one Asian, Hispanic, White or young Black guy wished me anything. Just old Black men.
Anyway, I thought it was a nice gesture of appreciation coming from an old Black man. And during my early morning Boxing and Toning class, I decided to pay it forward by wishing the instructor a “Happy Mother’s Day.”
To which she replied, “Aww thanks, hun. Are you a mom?”
I shrugged and said, “No.”
And then she said, “Oh that’s a shame. Don’t worry, you’ll be one some day…”
Whoa there, presumptuous Nelly! All of that shade just for wishing someone a good one?
First off, who is to say that I want to be a mother in the first place?
And even if I did, who are you to put me on a timetable? If I were a woman stressed over not having ducklings of my own, her unnecessary concern trolling might have made me feel really bad about myself, which I feel is the point.
The need to make ourselves feel good by casting subtle slights at other people.
Sadly, I wish I could say that it was just her. A day of wishing other women “Happy Mother’s Day” resulted in one of two things:
- She would say “thank you” and either say it right back, or say nothing else at all. Or;
- She would say “thank you” and then ask “Well, are you a mother?”
Of course, the second question would grind at my gears the most. Like, why you need to know all of that just to say “Happy Mother’s Day” back.
But to answer folks’ question: I’m not a mother. I’m a single and childless Black woman in America. Boo!
And maybe it’s just me, but I always assumed that this holiday was meant to celebrate all mothers and not just your selfish ass. Even if you are not a mother or on good terms with your own mother, there is a mother somewhere out in this world whom deserves our love and appreciation. So when we say “Happy Mother’s Day,” we are not just extending personal accolades at each other, but acknowledging the often ignored labor of mothering that we do in general.
But for some reason, we have to make it so complicated. And competitive…
By noon, I was exhausted from dodging all of the unnecessary meddling from folks who couldn’t give a simple “Happy Mother’s Day” back that I decided to abandoned the mission all together.
Fuck Mother’s Day.
Nah, I’m kidding.
But next year, I don’t know if I will be wishing anyone a happy one.
For a lot of reasons, this holiday is pretty controversy (Shout-out to all the women who I thoughtlessly made to feel awkward because they lost their own mothers recently and this day ain’t all that “happy”). And while I won’t give up on the spirit of the day, perhaps I’ll switch to wishing folks something more generic like “Happy Holidays.”