When Cam in Modern Family is upset for being lumped together with “other mothers” on Mother’s Day, he feels emasculated, and has to prove himself by throwing a football as far as he can. His experience reminded me of all the men out there mothering, and a lot of women fathering. I wonder if there are other fathers out there are feeling like Cam, filling a maternal role yet feeling uncomfortable being acknowledged on Mother’s Day. (Same thing goes for the single mothers on Father’s Day.)
We celebrate our mothers bringing us into this world, nurturing us, and giving us the opportunity to live and love, but to expect one person to provide all the love and support we need seems unrealistic. What about the teacher, mentor, or family member who made us feel better about ourselves, loved us for who we are, not what they hoped we would be? What about the therapist or life coach who helped us work through issues with respect, openness, and acceptance? Can we celebrate their efforts on Mother’s Day?
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Unfortunately Mother’s Day is not a day of celebration for everyone. Some among us had terrible mothers, and a day to celebrate a mother that abused and ridiculed seems like a cruel exercise in remembering past trauma. Perhaps by celebrating the “mothering” that went beyond the mother, acknowledging those women and men who nurtured us to become better human beings…why not celebrate all of them?
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Nurturing is traditionally a maternal trait, but I know men who are very nurturing to their loved ones, and it’s my hope we can include celebrating them on Mothering Day. I know, not very catchy, Hallmark may reject the idea, and some men may be uncomfortable with it, but let’s try it anyway.
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