Let’s take a step back to think about what are we actually celebrating. Are we celebrating the fact that many of our mothers sacrificed their careers because of us? Or the fact that we made ‘food made by mother’ into such a deep emotional issue that we tied her up to the kitchen? Are we celebrating that many of our mothers had to juggle with work, raise us and also manage the kitchen?
I know many people will justify this by saying that this is a day to thank our mothers for all the sacrifices, for all that they have been to us. I feel instead that it is a perfect day to apologise. It was wrong to expect mothers to make those sacrifices. Thanking and celebrating will only reaffirm those expectations.
Mother’s Day is a perfect day to apologise for not seeing beyond the gendered roles, for maybe not encouraging our mothers to drive or for always running to her when it came to tiffin issues.
It is definitely not a day to celebrate with discounted spa coupons – almost like giving her a break day from the daily ritual and also indirectly implying that if you continue to make all the sacrifices, you shall be rewarded. I understand that we all want to say ‘I love you’ to our mothers but I feel it is a perfect day to think about the social expectations of a ‘mother’ and maybe how demanding it gets for a mother to meet all those expectations. I am sorry if I contributed to those expectations as well.
It is a day to remember all those young mothers, who in their teens had to take up responsibilities of raising children, all those mothers who were forced to produce multiple children till they delivered a boy, all those mothers who had to face violence for anything wrong that the child did, all those mothers who were abandoned for producing a girl. It is a day to remember all those mothers who are sticking with their partners not because they love them but because of their children. We, unfortunately, live in a country where maternal mortality is still high and so many mothers die during childbirth. It is a day to remember all those construction sites where mothers bring their child and work for their daily wages.
According to me, a perfect way of celebrating Mother’s Day would be to demand creches for these mothers, demand for maternity leave in the informal sector, demand for paternity leave so that the responsibility of raising the child does not fall entirely on the mother. It is time to talk about glass ceilings where so many mothers had to choose between children or rising higher on the ladder. It is time to talk about bigger shifts so that the role that the mother is expected to play is not so demanding.
Motherhood is misconstrued at many levels. And I feel it is a perfect day to discuss with our mothers the sacrifices that they made because of us and sincerely apologise. I would not want to celebrate those sacrifices or thank her for those. I feel sorry that she had to do so much. I would rather change what society expects from a mother.