Mothers Day 2016.
As a new and deliriously happy (albeit perennially tired) parent, I’ve never been more cognizant of the astounding importance of loving, nurturing, anti-patriarchal parenting than I am now.
Truly, it is time we as a species got back to more matriarchal ways of living where the invaluable role of the mother (or the matriarch) is rightfully honored in the social, political, economic, cultural, and spiritual realms of society; And not just by honoring those living breathing people known as mothers, but also the loving spiritual bond and evolutionary, nurturing social structure that is motherhood, quite possibly the most important social structure defining humanity’s existence on earth. Above all else though – and especially when I see the two great soulmates of my life, Sus and Daya, together – I realize just how much humanity owes mothers and motherhood. (I know it sounds like such a truism, as it probably should, but there’s a way in which personal experience brings messages home in a way that no other life activity does.)
So without further adieu…
Happy Mothers Day, all mothers out there however you may define yourselves!!!
Today is the day designated by Western capitalism and greeting card commerce as the one day of the year we pitiably try to honor the most life-giving, self-sacrificing subsection of humanity.
Today, capitalism and our pop culture society will “celebrate” mothers. (Or really, by the time I come round to publishing this blog post, they would have already finished with the nominal celebration and have just slipped right back into the velvety smooth and sexist comfort of taking mothers for granted.)
These celebrations are most likely going to manifest across the e-social universe with a lot of repetitive typing of the “x” and “o” keys as well as the “<” and “3” keys. Maybe some e-cards, real cards, roses, chocolates, a dinner outing, or a gift or two (our society has a very easy, pay-grade-specific, template to celebrate motherhood).
But as commerce and social media goes about fake-applauding mothers, make no mistake – mothers have been treated like shit for centuries, and humanity should be ashamed of ourselves.
Why should we be ashamed of ourselves, you ask (metaphysical person who keeps getting resurrected whenever I need a literary segue into my next point)?
Oh, how about raw, unfettered patriarchy as a social institution.
As I write this, indeed as you read this, there are millions upon millions of mothers worldwide living under various forms of control and authority imparted by different men in their lives (if not outright violence), usually from husbands or adult sons, but also parents, bosses, siblings, colleagues, relatives, and others – a small minority of whom might even be women who themselves impart patriarchal violence due to internalized oppression. Yet, almost as a rule, mothers tend to always try harder and be more nurturing than male parental counterparts, regardless of the systems of male domination those moms might have faced in their lives. If that isn’t heroism of the highest order, I don’t know what is.
And what of the appalling political and economic rights conferred on motherhood the world over while they courageously nurture their children?
Take social insurance, public or even via private company policy. Barring a few rich Western countries and some corporations who give decent, still often insufficient, maternity benefits, it is lacking for the vast majority of mothers worldwide. Indeed, America – king of the goddamn neo-colonial pecking order right now – should hang its head in shame when a flabby Hollywood monarchy like the UK or even a very confused has-been like Turkey is streets ahead of the US in terms of maternity benefits. (But I am absolutely sure that America is the biggest market for Mothers Day greeting cards today.)
Hell, you need look no further than the sexist garbage that is spouted in pop culture the world over – the naked celebration of violent manhood, and the downplaying of nurturing, loving values – to get a reality gut check regarding the shoddy value placed on motherhood by society at a collective level.
(How so many single moms keep it together and kicking, I will have nary a fucking clue. Salutations of the highest order would be insufficient.)
And finally, when we as a species slowly lost our divine feminine, mother earth-centric, spiritual roots many millennia ago and instead found ourselves wading in the filth of patriarchal religions the world over – probably the most significant shift in humanity towards a male-dominated world order occurred.
But all that’s too much for me to think about as my partner and I take turns trying to comfort our collicky little angel (8 weeks old tomorrow!).
So I think I’ll just sign off by giving heartfelt thanks to my mother and to mothers everywhere – while raising a fist in salute of their daily battles with the man.
Happy Mothers Day everyone.