When you're a business owner, holidays are kind of hard. You want to jump in and get amped about it. For example, for photographers, when we know that Mother's Day is approaching, we start to plan and market for portrait sessions centered around the holiday. Whether it's just dad and the kids, just the kids, or a session of the mom and her kid/s, and whether it's a themed mini-session or a discount off the normal price of a full session, we want to start booking sessions.
But here's the thing: not all of those scenarios fit all families.
It doesn't even fit all scenarios where there are mothers. You're going to exclude some families. You're going to amplify the shame and differences that some feel on holidays where they don't fit society's definition of "normal."
Maybe it's a household where there are two mothers. (I am personally glad that advertisers, as a whole, are starting to get more inclusive with showing same-sex parents, so this scenario isn't as in the shadows as it used to be.) Maybe it's a single-parent household, and maybe that parent is a father. (Yes, I know: next month we'll be celebrating Father's Day, but I think that single parents should be celebrated on both Sundays because they are doing double duty.) What about the mothers who were born men? What about those transgender men who transitioned after giving birth? What about the families where the grandparents are raising their grandchild/ren for one reason or another? What about the mothers who have lost children? What about the children who have lost mothers? What about those who have strained relationships with their mothers? Or those who have decided to not be mothers? Or, others, who are yearning to be mothers?
Should those people not be included in the happy images that we see for these holidays?
For me, I am going to say, "Happy Mothers Day," because I include all mothers in that phrase -- yes, even us pet moms! -- and because it's what I'm celebrating.
Much like Christmas, I'm going to wish you a Merry Christmas, and you don't have to celebrate it. I'm not pushing it off on you -- I'm not one of those members of the dominant sector of society that expects everyone to conform to my beliefs and way of thinking. If you celebrate Hanukkah, wish me Happy Hanukkah in return to my Merry Christmas.
Please know that if you hear and have heard "Happy Mothers Day" this year and you don't feel that it applies to you, please know I see you and I hurt with you. When I say Happy Mothers Day, I'm not doing it to be a jerk. I'm doing it because I know lots of mothers (including plenty who don't fit the societal norm of 'motherhood') who deserve to be celebrated. Guess what? You deserve to be celebrated, too. <3
So, tell me, how did you spend this second Sunday in May? How did you spend this Mothers Day?