Motherhood’s legacy — the bad and the good.

I wonder what the founding mothers of Mother’s Day would make of it all. Those 19th-century women who organized “Mothers’ Work Days” to improve sanitation. Those post-Civil War mothers who tried to bridge the gap between North and South. And that pacifist, Julia Ward Howe, who organized the first Mothers’ Day for Peace.
What would they make of a holiday that began with feminism and pacifism and ended up with perfume and flowers? What would they make of a day to change the world that became a day to get breakfast in bed?

So begins Ellen Goodman’s Mothers Day rant, in which she also reports:
Today the scariest part of Social Security privatization is the effect it could have on survivors’ benefits for mothers and children. But it’s much easier to argue about whether a 13-year-old in Florida should be forced into motherhood. There’s no law requiring paid sick leave for private employees in Texas, but the state House of Representatives just passed a law that “empowers parents” by prohibiting suggestive cheerleading.
Our country is one of only five in the world without paid maternity leave, but we are focused on runaway brides. We are in a national state of overwork, but the welfare debate now hinges on getting the poorest mothers of young children to work longer hours.

I’m one of the lucky ones, who, as a single mother, had the education necessary to get a good job to help support my kids. I’m one of the lucky ones who has a pension and could manage to pay my bills even without Social Security.
My mom is one of the lucky ones, who married a man who supported her in the style to which she enjoyed becoming accustomed.
Sometimes my mother asks me if I’m her mother. Sometimes she talks to me as though I’m one of her siblings and remember those years before WWII when they lived in Poland with their mother.
Today is Mothers Day. I put on the Polish music that airs locally every Sunday morning and I let her lead me around her living room. We have bagels and cream cheese for breakfast.
My daughter sends me two encouraging Mothers Day e-cards and calls. She tells me sweet stories about my grandson.
[This added in after I posted because Oregon’s morning begins three hours after New York’s: my one-true-son, the One True b!X also made his Mother’s Day call. Of course, we talked about the extensive conversation going on over at his Communique about the elements of journalism and weblog ethics as pertain to what he writes on his weblog.]
Motherhood. I got it coming and going. The bad and the good.
Meanwhile, my mom unearths this old photo of my two kids that I think their dad made when he used to fool around with photography.
Ah, these are the good in motherhood.
AND, in case you’d like to read one of my better Mothers Day rants, check out this post of two years ago.

2 thoughts on “Motherhood’s legacy — the bad and the good.

  1. my mothers day:
    Son had a fever the day before and didn’t sleep well. Nose running forcing calls of “NOSE BLOW!” from him every five minutes. Tantrum in Home Depot prompting me to carry him sideways out the door as he yelled “I wanna walk!” until I put him down at which point he just stood and cried, apparently forgetting how to walk altogether. No nap I think because of stuffy nose, so temper short (including mine).
    But yes, he did pick out, all on his own, a pot of mums that he told his father “I want to give this to mommy.”
    Guess it all balances out.

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