This post is for my mother. This is in recognition of the countless hours of unpaid labour she did and continues to do for my sisters and I. This post is an acknowledgement of the fact that I have taken her for granted; she’s given her time and energy to me so freely and generously that it wasn’t until I had my own child that I understood how much this must have personally cost her. She is someone whose love and support I can rely on even when she disagrees with the choices I make.
This post is for all the people who work in childcare and are underpaid because what they do is undervalued by our society. This is for the folks – mostly women – who are often offered minimum wage or less to nurture, engage, educate and love a child.
This post is for all the people who are helping me raise my kid – my husband, my family, my friends. Thank you for being a part of his life. Thank you for being a safe person. Someday, when there’s something that he needs to work through that for whatever reason he feels he can’t talk to me about, he might come to you. Thank you in advance for being amazing when that day comes.
This post is for all the ways our culture simultaneously fetishizes and belittles mothers. This post is for all the women who have been told in the same breath that motherhood is the hardest job they’ll ever have but also staying home with their children is lazy, unfulfilling and un-feminist.
This post is for the mothers who couldn’t afford to go back to work.
This post is for the mothers who couldn’t afford not to go back to work.
This post is for the women who can’t take time off work to care for their sick children. This is for the women who have been threatened with termination if they take one more day off because of their kids.
This post is for my grandmother, who was appalled that I was breastfeeding because for her formula had been a miracle that allowed her a freedom her own mother had never enjoyed. This post is for the women like my Nanny who choose to go back to work a few weeks after giving birth because they love their jobs, but at the same time don’t love their children any less for that fact.
This post is for the mothers who have no choice but to go back to work only a few weeks postpartum because their government doesn’t guarantee them access to a maternity leave.
This post is for the mothers who have no choice but to go back to work only a few weeks postpartum because although they have paid maternity leave, their wage is reduced during that time to 55% of their income.
This post is for every mother who’s had to spend time on welfare or food stamps and has gritted her teeth through ignorant comments about government hand-outs.
This post is for every mother who is doing everything she can to make sure her family survives.
This post is for all the mothers of Black sons who are afraid for their children’s lives. This post is for every woman who has to teach her child to view police officers as people to be afraid of rather than people who will help them.
This post is for all the mothers who have felt ashamed of the ways their bodies have changed during pregnancy. This post is for the women who never appear in photographs with their children because they hate the way they look.
This post is for the mothers who receive endless societal messages about how they should always be sacrificing more, more, more for their kids. This post is for the women who have been told that if they really loved their kids they would breastfeed/stay home/give up caffeine/never check their phone/make all their food from scratch.
This post is for every mother who has been frightened by yet another sensational “study” that somehow proves they’ve ruined their kids. This is for all the women who have lost sleep wondering whether their children have been put at some kind of risk because they had too much screen time or not enough Omega-3.
This post is for the mothers who struggled silently with postpartum depression because they were afraid that if they told anyone, their children would be taken away from them.
This post is for the mothers who struggled silently with postpartum depression because they felt a crushing guilt over the fact that they didn’t love motherhood the way they thought they were supposed to.
This post is for every mother who has complained about some aspect of child-rearing only to be told to enjoy it while it lasts and it all goes so quickly and all the other trite platitudes that just make them feel worse.
This post is for my great-grandmother, who wouldn’t let her kids get after-school jobs because she wanted them to have real childhoods, not like the one she’d spent working under the eye of her brutal stepmother. This is for all the women who have had difficult childhoods and, instead of furthering the cycle of abuse, do their best to make sure their children have time for fun and play just plain being young.
This post is for those of you who are estranged from your mothers and have to endure endless questions and advice from prying strangers, as if it wasn’t a decision you’d properly thought through. I can’t imagine how tricky it must be to navigate holidays like Mother’s Day, when you’re inundated with reminders of your loss.
This post is for the women who wish so badly that they could be mothers, but for whatever reason can’t be.
This post is permission for you to mark this day however you want or need to, in grief or in joy or something in between.
I love you, Mom.