• Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


Happy Mother's Day

Sharing the love.

May 11, 2014

(A day late, but I'm writing on Friday)

Each year, starting early in May, people start posting about the meaninglessness of Mother's Day. It is a "Hallmark holiday," its original purpose of raising awareness of the plight of women internationally having been subverted by commercial interests. It is a way of patting mothers on the head, buying us off with flowers and a restaurant meal for the raw deal we get the other 364 days. It is a distraction from the real atrocities being perpetrated against real women in real time.

I don't disagree with any of this, especially the last point. I can only imagine what the mothers of the kidnapped Nigerian girls are feeling right now, to name just one horrendous situation.

And yet, like Father's Day, birthdays, and any other excuse to celebrate people we love, or even just like mildly, Mother's Day makes me unreasonably happy.

I love it that our office manager and I hugged when we said goodbye for the weekend and wished each other a happy day. I love this. I love expressions of love, and I can't help wishing we had more of them, not fewer.

My own mother never liked me very much, and although I loved her, I had to distance myself from her emotionally for my own survival. So expressions of apparently unambivalent, heartfelt love for one's mother are doubly moving to me.

In this spirit, Bill and Ben will celebrate the day by accompanying me to an improv show, starring one of my favorite teachers and three other amazing improvisers, along with their mothers, none of whom have ever tried improvising before. I have no doubt it will be a strange experience, and possibly a complete train wreck. I don't care. I plan to revel in their courage and in their unconditional support for one another. I plan to laugh and applaud and probably cry a little bit as well.

The name of the show says it all: "I love you, Mom."


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