For Mother’s Day: let’s be more MOM-passionate, less MOM-petitive


On this Mother’s Day, I have a wish for mothers:

I wish for a society that is more MOM-passionate and less MOM-petitive.

Mothering is a difficult job involving just about every physical and emotional resource a woman can call upon. From the physical pain of childbirth to the emotional pain of leaving a child at college, from the physical exhaustion from staying up all night with a sick child to the emotional exhaustion of staying up all night waiting for a teen who has broken curfew, from the exasperation of negotiating with a toddler to the even greater exasperation of negotiating with a teenager.

We know what it is like; we all go through it. That makes it all the more surprising that we live in a society where the dominant mothering ideology, natural parenting (natural childbirth, lactivism and attachment parenting), is so utterly lacking in support for each other. Natural parenting —high intensity/high stakes parenting — sacrifices MOM-passion on the altar of MOM-petition.

There appears to be no recognition that different children have different needs and that different mothers also have different needs. There is a tremendous emphasis on a woman’s reproductive organs and very little emphasis on her emotional identity. There seems to be precious little acknowledgement that children are people, not products to be primped and primed for adult economic competition.

Our society has missed the most critical insight: there are many different, equally excellent ways to raise a child. Instead, we have reduced mothering from a complex alchemy to a simple recipe … the better to keep score with other mothers.

But we have the power to change things, from this Mother’s Day forward we can replace the senseless MOM-petition with compassion for our fellow mothers, struggling, just as we are, to do the right things for our children.

I am not a particularly religious person, but when my four children were small, and I went from room to room each night gazing upon them before I went to bed (so angelic compared to their devilish selves during the day!), I often said a little prayer:

“Please grant me the wisdom and the patience to be the mother they need me to be.”

My wish on this Mother’s Day is that we can be the mothers our children need us to be in order to thrive, not the mothers our friends need us to be in order to approve.