There's no "right way" to do motherhood, and there certainly isn't a "right way" to celebrate it. As "feminist" becomes more of an accepted label, feminist mothers are changing the parenting game and re-defining what it means to make the choice to be someone's mom. This means, of course, that
feminist moms are choosing to do mother's day differently, creating their own personal, inclusive celebrations that promote equality.
I remember the first Mother's Day I ever had as a mom: small, low-key and anything but over-the-top. I didn't require or ask for much, just time with my family and (if I'm being honest) time by myself. I didn't demand breakfast in bed or flowers or chocolates or an expensive brunch, although there's obviously nothing wrong with celebrating any of those ways (or all) either. Instead,
I made the conscious decision to do Mother's Day my way, a way that wouldn't put me "on the spot" and make me feel uncomfortable, a way that didn't reinforce the ridiculous gender stereotype that parenthood is primarily a woman's responsibility, a way that would not just be about me, but about everyone who has helped me become the mother I am, and everyone that has chosen not to be a mother, too.
Like I said, to each their own, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating Mother's Day any way you see fit. However, it's worth nothing these 10 ways that feminist mothers celebrate motherhood differently.
They Insist All Women Are Celebrated
There is no "right way" to be a mother, and no two mothers are absolutely the same. To a feminist, it won't matter if the mother being celebrated is a transgender woman, in a same-sex relationship, adopted her children, became pregnant via IVF, an aunt or grandmother who has custody of her kids, or any other possible type of mother you could think of. For a feminist mom, a celebration of motherhood is all about inclusion, so she'll make sure to include
all women in her Mother's Day thoughts, well-wishes and celebrations. They Celebrate Single Dads, Too
And, of course, a feminist mother will take the time to celebrate single dads, too, who are both mother and father to one or multiple children. She won't see it as inappropriate, and she won't see it as a slight to women; she'll see it as another way to be inclusive, and to promote equality, because, yes, there are plenty of men who — like single mothers — are fulfilling both parenting roles.
They're Not Afraid To Ask For What They Want
A feminist mother isn't going to be afraid to ask for what she wants and/or needs on Mother's Day (or, honestly, any other day). If she wants some time alone, to take care of herself and only herself, that is exactly what she is going to ask for. She won't worry about what someone else thinks, or wether or not other mothers are choosing to celebrate Mother's Day the way she does, she will do what works best for her and her family. Even, and especially, if that means
not celebrating Mother's Day at all. They Acknowledge The Maternal Figures In Their Life
Again, feminists are all about inclusion, so while a mother is getting pampered or spoiled or celebrated on Mother's Day, she's also going to be acutely aware that the day isn't all about her. She will take the time to thank, acknowledge and celebrate all the other maternal figures in her life; whether it's her own mother, or father, or grandmother or aunt or a best friend or a teacher or a neighbor. It truly does take a village, and she knows that the world doesn't revolve around her, just because she was able to successfully procreate.
Insist On Giving To Mothers In Need
A feminist mother is going to look outside herself, and see how she can promote gender equality by assisting other women in need. If this means donating to a battered women's shelter or serving a meal at a homeless shelter for women, she'll do it. If it means making a home-cooked meal for someone she knows is struggling, or watching another woman's kid(s) while she works a double shift, she'll do it. The ability to take a "day off" from motherhood, the ability to be celebrated by others, is a privilege; a privilege many women are not afforded.
Remembering Those Who Have A Hard Time On Mother's Day
Have I mentioned that feminists are a big fan of inclusion? Just because a feminist mother is able to appreciate and enjoy Mother's Day, doesn't mean that everyone does. For many, Mother's Day is a painful day; women who can't have children, women who have lost children and women who have lost their mothers. A feminist mom is going to remember that her joy is another woman's pain, and she will be kind and understanding and sympathetic to those women. She'll take the time to think of them, perhaps contacting them if she deems it supportive and appropriate, and she will work to ensure that her celebration doesn't cause another woman added pain.
They Acknowledge The Help They Receive...
A feminist mother is all about equality, so she will be quick to point out that there are others who are supportive and helpful and deserving of praise, even if they don't hold the title of "mother." Honestly, the parenting responsibilities do not all fall on the woman, just because she's a woman, so while a mother does many things, a mother doesn't (or shouldn't) do all the things, so she will take the time to thank her partner or parents or neighbor or friends or any other family members, that take part and share in the parenting responsibilities.
...While Taking The Time To Celebrate Themselves, Too
Simultaneously, she won't do that thing that women are constantly being told they should do by a predominantly patriarchal society: shrink themselves. She won't deny herself the joy of self-congratulations, as motherhood is taxing and difficult, and she does deserve to be recognized for the things she does. She won't downplay herself to appease others, or to avoid being labeled as self-centered, but will instead practice self-love, and acknowledge that she is worthy of good things.
They're Not Worried About Fulfilling Social Expectations Of Motherhood Or Its Celebrations
A feminist mother isn't gong to worry about fulfilling social expectations, in either motherhood nor the celebration of it. If she doesn't want to celebrate Mother's Day, she won't. If she wants to celebrate alone instead of her family, she will. If she wants to take on the day by working, she'll have at it. Whatever she wants to do, she'll do, and she won't feel like she's failing as a mother just because she's doing motherhood and/or Mother's Day, differently. Feminism is about fighting for all women's right to choose who they are, who they become, and that choice to make her own decisions will always be near and dear to her, and one she will never hesitate to exercise.
They Acknowledge That Motherhood Was Their Choice, But Not Every Woman's Choice
A feminist mother isn't going to think she is better than women who choose not to have children. In fact, she is going to acknowledge that while motherhood was her life choice, it isn't the life choice of every woman, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. She won't shame them for not being a mother on Mother's Day; she won't make them feel like they're missing out on something; she won't bully them or judge them or tell them they'll one day regret their decision. Instead, she'll acknowledge that we all have our own path in life, and we all should be free to walk it without shame.