Here we are again at Mother’s Day. And I find myself in that particular configuration of trying to think about what to get my mother, while fending off the requests from my children to tell them what I want for Mother’s Day. While being a mother has shaped and continues to shape my life in profound ways, this particular holiday provokes deeper thinking given the work we do at the Centre County Women’s Resource Center. Working to address the issue of family violence — all types of family violence — means that Mother’s Day is an opportunity to think more broadly about what it means to be a mother and what all mothers need. So I’ve found a list of thoughts for Mother’s Day that I wrote several years ago, but somehow it still seems relevant, especially given recent events around the country and the world.
What I want for Mother’s Day is for all mothers, the ones I know and the ones I’ve never met. It is what I prayed for on the days my children were born, what I work for professionally and personally, what I hope for when I think of children who experience the brokenness of the world at too young an age. Here is what I want for Mother’s Day:
• A world where not one more mother loses a child to violence — in far away countries, on the streets of our cities, on a college campus, or in their own home.
• A world where every mother is loved by the father of her children — or if that is not possible, I’ll settle for a world where each mother is treated with respect and civility by the father of her children (and just for the record, I want the same thing for every father).
• A world where not one more mother has to listen to the cries of a hungry or shelter-less child while helpless to provide food or shelter.
• A world where every mother’s work, in the home and outside the home, is valued, compensated appropriately, and respected.
• A world where each new mother has the support of a community to help her learn how to be a good mom and to reassure her when she feels like she’s not doing it very well.
• A world where not one more mother will have to make a choice between paying the rent or buying new shoes for a child’s growing feet.
• A world where every mother hears “I love you, Mom” freely and joyously offered every time she needs to hear it.
While I will not ask my children to be responsible for the creation of a world that meets my Mother’s Day wish list, I do hope that the will join me in working toward such a world in whatever ways are possible. Actually, I hope that every child of every mother will work toward making this wish list a reality. While I’ll send my own mom a pretty plant for Mother’s Day, I’ll send her this list as well and hope that it is a gift she recognizes as her own.