mother’s day: the modern mother revolution
Throughout history, mothers have been celebrated for their love, care and devotion to their children and being the backbone of the family unit. They have been elevated in every religion, every country and every household for their selflessness, sacrifice and strength. In some religions, mothers have been even elevated to heaven. As the saying goes, “Your heaven lies under the feet of your mother.”
The deep appreciation for motherhood dates back to Greek and Roman times when they had festivities for their mother goddesses. In Greek mythology, as well as in other ancient cultures, the word mother personifies power, strength and sacrifice. Mother goddesses, such as Gaea and her daughters, are portrayed as decisive figures making serious decisions, and Gaea was as revered as the Earth itself.
Mother’s Day was also celebrated by Christians and referred to as “mothering Sunday.” It has been noted that the initial purpose of Mother’s Day had been far away from material gifts, rather, “the day was revered by going to church and paying a visit to mothers for love and respect.”
However, as time went by, Mother’s Day took a direction toward a more secular celebration by presenting gifts and flowers to honor mothers. Later, Mother’s Day quickly became commercialized, resulting in abounding consumer spending and a profitable day for businesses. A token day full of platitudes and appreciation, but lacking a deeper meaning or understanding of what the modern mother represents.
As we descend upon yet another Mother’s Day, I believe there should be a more modern view of mothers and Mother’s Day, beyond the limited role of loving and nurturing individuals or adept multitasking family managers. Indeed, it is time to celebrate mothers for their financial, educational and entrepreneurial contributions and achievements.
In the 21st century, we should be celebrating mothers not only for giving birth, nursing and managing their household, but also for their role as equal partners, breadwinners, intellectuals and professionals who are breaking ground and shattering ceilings in every facet of life.
They should be revered and respected in a broader spectrum for their exceptional stamina and strength, not only for their mothering skills but for their vision and being the precursors for many positive changes in communities and the world at large. They must be celebrated for pushing boundaries beyond the traditional roles while also standing strong for their families and embracing and loving their children unconditionally.
Finally, it is time to teach our children that the roles of the classic mother, while fit for its time, has vastly changed and that such roles are on a similar playing field as the father’s roles. Our children should know that while the classic motherly role of nurturing the family unit remains of high importance, it is also important to recognize that mothers, just like fathers, have neither boundaries nor ceilings.
Perhaps we are finally catching up to the expressions that preceded us, as the origin and source of many idiomatic sayings identify the limitlessness of all things mother: mother church, mother house, mother of invention, mother nature and so many other such references in cultures around the world.