Mother’s Day, With Meaning

The ads are everywhere.  You can’t miss them.

No, I don’t want a soda stream or a steam mop for Mothers’ Day, thank-you very much, Mister Ad Man. 

What I would love is for all mothers to stand in your power and own your worth.

Being a mother can have pretty low status. There are so many influences for this, but we can be our own worst enemies around our worth.  How often do you hear women say, “I am ‘just’ a mum.” Or, “I am a ‘stay at home’ mum.”

Really? What mother stays at home all day, every day?  And you are never ‘just’ a Mum – you are the whole world to the little people you have grown.

So, to have a day where we celebrate the power and delights of being a mother is special.  This doesn’t have to be about fancy gifts – a HOT tea in bed and home-made cards will do just fine for most of us.  Or, if you have school-aged kids, something from the Mother’s Day stall is very cute and thoughtful.

We want acknowledgement from partners too, if we have them. Dare they tell us ‘you are not my mother,’ and they risk a very cold shoulder. We are the mother of HIS babies and he better get on board (at the very least, wrangle the kids for an hour or two)!

Our expectations could be confusing to the original founders of Mother’s Day. You see, Mother’s Day began as a day of public activism for peace, not a celebration of ourselves as mothers.

 In 1872, Julia Ward Howe, author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, 
proposed an annual Mother’s Day for Peace.  She 
wrote: “Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage… Our sons 
shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them
 of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of 
those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs”.

Although an official ‘Mother’s Day for Peace’ wasn’t declared in Julia Ward Howe’s time, we can still honor her sentiment in the way we celebrate Mother’s Day. 

This doesn’t take away from acknowledging the job mothers do caring for their families, nor the appreciation we have for our own mothers, whether they are still with us or not. Instead, we can celebrate Mother’s Day as honouring the power of mothers, their potential to create a better world and we can each do small things to make a difference for all mothers and children:

  • Pop a letter to your mum into a card – thank her for the happy things you remember from your childhood.
  • If you live close enough, spend time with your mother, perhaps do an activity with her.

Bianca says, “we have a ‘ladies day’ all women. Grandmother, mother, aunties, daughters and grandkids. This year we are doing high tea.”

  • Send a donation in your mum’s name to a charity she supports or, if your mum is no longer with you, a charity that is meaningful to her memory – consider charities that help mums. 

Katie says,” I will be walking in the Mother’s Day classic with my Mum and daughter to raise money for breast cancer.”

  • Surprise a mum you know who is doing it tough or all on her own by taking her a meal or some baking or offer to take her children to the park for an hour.

Rose says, “On my first Mother’s Day my lovely aunt and uncle took me and bub out for lunch.”

  • Take a family photo – and get in the photo yourself, Mama!  

Consider, how many times are you the family photographer? Whether you have make-up on or look insta-worthy or not, your kids don’t give a ‘rats’. When they go through the photo books years later, they just want to know you were there and hopefully, smiling.

If you have babies or small children who still have very high needs,  or perhaps you don’t have a partner to support you, please acknowledge the awesome job you are doing and be kind to yourself.  Mother’s Day can be a reminder that YOU matter. Try to celebrate in some small way, whether this is staying in your pyjamas for most of the day, eating take-away on paper plates or having a picnic in the back yard.  Remember, you are making the world a better place by nurturing happy children, with love.

This is the foundation of world peace.

A Mum of five and Grandmother, Pinky McKay is an IBCLC Lactation Consultant, TEDx speaker and best-selling author of Sleeping Like a Baby, Parenting By Heart, Toddler Tactics and 100 Ways to Calm the Crying. Check out Pinky’s books at her website