Overheard at the Bend Post Office a couple of days ago:
“My mom will be shocked that this is on time!”
“I used Amazon for a few Mother’s Day things, so I won’t be in trouble if this is late. Plus, they gift wrap.”
The guys behind the counter were learning new software so our line moved slower than usual. Because we live in Oregon, we were chatting. The conversation tended towards Mother’s Day. My fellow postal line-standers seemed to be victims of our relentless commercialization of Mother’s Day, far far from Julia Ward Howe’s vision.
Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation (you can read it here), written a few years after the Civil War’s terrible carnage, called on women to act politically in the revolutionary causes of feminism and pacifism.
Her vision of Mother’s Day was never enacted.
Instead we have this lovely, sweet celebration consisting of cards and flowers and brunches and full church pews. (Mother’s Day is usually a high church-attendance day, presumably due to conversations like this: “Mom, what do you want to do for Mother’s Day?” “All I want is my children with me in church. *gentle sigh*”)
May I suggest, instead, a donation to a cause more in line with Julia Ward Howe’s vision? Women and children bear the brunt of war and poverty. These are three trustworthy organizations creating real change in women’s and children’s lives.
On this Mother’s Day, let’s empower women around the world with the resources they need to care for all our children.
Let’s honor our moms by making a tangible difference in the lives of our most vulnerable kids.
Let’s be revolutionaries and take back Mother’s Day.
You can still take Mom to brunch.
I’ll give the last words to The Compassion Collective.
Mother’s Day IS about Love. But it’s not about commercial, comfortable love that snuggles up and stays home—it’s about love that throws open the door and marches out of our homes, beyond our fences and neighborhoods and into the hurting world to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, comfort the hurting, mother the motherless. Mother’s Day love is dangerous, revolutionary love that unites our one human family and reminds us that we belong to each other and that there is no such thing as other people’s children.