Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Comments on Mother's Day

Many apologies for the lack of posts as of late. I just turned in my final grades for the semester (!) and am only now able to let my mind wander to the creative. Also, happy 17 mo. birthday to Big, an irregular newsletter will be belatedly posted.

From Wikipedia, the definition of "Mother" include the following interesting snippets:
a) "A mother is the natural or social female parent of an offspring."
b) "Mothers typically fulfill the primary role in the raising of children"
c) "The title mother is often given to a woman other than biological parent, if it is she who fulfills this role."
d) "Currently, with advances in reproductive technologies, the function of biological motherhood can be split between the genetic mother and gestational mother, and in theory neither might be the social mother."
e) "The term mother can also refer to a person with stereotypical traits of a mother such as nurturing and other-centredness."

Although I missed last week's ECFE class (Seven and I gave a final exam instead) BioMom reported that the discussion focused on Mother's Day and how the GLBT couples there celebrated the two upcoming parental holidays on the calendar. It seemed that the consensus was that the couples usually each shared the single holiday, either Mother's or Father's Day.

One lesbian couple argued that they "both want to be mothers."

In our house, BioMom gets Mother's Day and I get Father's Day. Its really never been an issue with us. I guess I am used to not exactly fitting in with the social world, either through its social/religious celebrations, or its normative sexuality/family structures. As an economist, I recognize that most seemingly historical celebrations and social connotations are actually contrived occasions with the goal of consumption and increased profits for corporations (see any history on DeBeers and the creation of the social institution of diamonds given as engagement rings).

So how should GLBT families respond to these parental days (or, how can we have our cake and eat it too?)

1. The Separatist Solution: Not celebrate either day.
My response: No cake, and thus, no eating cake. What fun would that be?
2. The Semi-Separatist Solution: We could create our own day. This has, actually been done. See the Blogging For GLBT Families cite, June 1, 2007. My response: A different kind of cake and you get to eat it.
3. The Conformist's Solution: Share Mother's or Father's Day.
My response: At least you get to eat half the cake. This both gets the "word out", and you get at least 1/2 of a day's worth of celebration.
4. The Libertarian-Meets-The-Conservative View: Each GLBT parent gets their own day, Mother's or Father's.
My Comment: Eat the whole cake. This is what we do, and this is where it gets a little weird for me. On one hand, it is a radical solution. A woman is celebrated on Father’s Day? On the other hand, by keeping the existing socially recognized holidays it somehow reifies the normative (at least in theory) nuclear family structure.

In actuality, again based on information from Wikipedia, Mother's Day in the US was founded by Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870) as a call for peace and disarmament. Here is an exerpt apropo for our day:
" From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: 'Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.'
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...


IrreverendAmy said...

Ouch. "Conformist" is a pretty pejorative label.

My beloved and I just had a very meaningful Mother's Day because we're both mothers for the first time. Celebrating both of us--celebrating each other--on that day didn't feel the slightest bit like getting only half the cake.

giddings said...

Hi Irreverendamy!
Sorry if you took my "conformist" label as pejorative. It wasn't meant to be negative in any way. If anything, I was trying to be skeptical about how we do things around here! Please take it as the strange tone in which I write this blog. Happy Mother's Day to you both!!!

IrreverendAmy said...

*tips cap* Thanks for the clarification! And it was a great Mother's Day, thank you. Hope yours was as well, and have a great Father's Day (Baba's Day?)!

Now that Father's Day approaches we realized we both want to shower our dads with tributes on our daughter's behalf. I think it's due to their being her major male role models so far. I can see us making a big deal of the granddads on Father's Day as she gets old enough to make cards and phone calls.

IrreverendAmy said...

Hey! LesbianDad just declared the third Sunday in June Baba's Day! I'd say "great minds think alike" but I daren't put myself in LD's class.