Happy Non-Mother’s Day SATURDAY!
With the emphasis our society places on motherhood, it’s only natural that women who don’t have children are probably very aware of the fact that they don’t have children come Mother’s Day. (Others are reminded that they don’t plan to have them.)
This awareness might manifest
- as resentment or sorrow among women who have always desperately wanted children but can’t have them
- as happiness among those who made the choice to not have children and who are still very much enjoying that choice, or
- as irritation that people are celebrating women who choose to have children and consequently take on the associated duties and therefore don’t necessarily “deserve” a day celebrating all the hard work they do
Reactions vary from person to person. Others will just be annoyed that Hallmark made up this day the same way they made up Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day and yadda blah blah phblt.
In any case, because Mother’s Day rarely goes unnoticed by women who don’t have children, I think we should adopt the Saturday prior to Mother’s Day as Non-Mother’s Day for two very valid and important reasons:
1. Women who have decided to live child-free lives have made every bit a life choice as those who have children, and one that helps determine the course of their future. It’s not a popular choice, and it’s not the obvious choice, which makes it that much more remarkable. There can never too many reasons to celebrate, and the second Saturday in May seems an appropriate time to joyfully reflect on the decision and mark something of an “anniversary” of having made that choice.
2. Women who are unable to have children are, I have no doubt, tormented to some degree every Mother’s Day. I cannot begin to imagine what it must feel like to want to be a mother and not have that option (not everyone can adopt, not everyone believes in fertility treatments), but so much is written about it by women who can’t have children that I understand it’s painful on what probably feels like a cellular level. Non-Mother’s Day Saturday would, I’d like to think, acknowledge their struggle and encourage/remind them to look at their lives in a way that focuses less on the loss, and more on what they currently have in their lives or what they have achieved or hope to achieve.
Non-Mother’s Day should in no way be interpreted as an affront to mothers, or as the anti-Mother’s Day. I love the idea of Mother’s Day – love that children get to shop for their moms and give them something they think they’ll enjoy, love that fathers / husbands have the opportunity to say, “Hey, there was a time we were worried about how we’d do with this whole parenthood thing, and I just want to tell you I think you’re doing a pretty awesome job, which I’m sure you’ll tell me in June when Father’s Day gets here.”
It’s simply an acknowledgement of the other side of the adulthood coin in a society whose grown-up camps – like it or not – are divided into “parents” and “non-parents.” Until the day comes when parenthood isn’t the automatic assumption, non-parenthood itself is a role to be acknowledged, one way or the other.