Mother’s Day is coming soon. How do I know this? Well, it’s on every calendar on my phone and my computer and in my daily planner’s calendar too. I also know because every single pharmacy, supermarket, and card store has been telling me for weeks now that Mother’s Day is coming up with advertisements and prodding to “make her Mother’s Day memorable!”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about celebrating mothers on Mother’s Day if that’s what they want to do. For me, I tend to believe that the best way for me to spend Mother’s Day is to do exactly what I want, which sometimes means being by myself and relaxing and taking a nap and making myself macaroni and cheese.
My mother usually likes a fair amount of attention on Mother’s Day, and I am grateful that my ex wants our boys to shower me and her and their grandmother and great-grandmother with a fair amount of love and attention on Mother’s Day.
Do I have a lot of feelings about holidays that are generated to create expectations that many people can’t live up to? Do I have a lot of feelings about the assumption that all or at least most women like to be pampered in a way that I typically don’t like to be pampered? Do I have a lot of feelings about holidays that are generated to make money and to force people to eat out at restaurants where the wait to get a table is two hours? Of course I do. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t.
I also have a lot of feelings about a project that Jewish Women International is doing. JWI sends bouquets of flowers to approximately 200 shelters for battered women every Mother’s Day. It may seem like a small gesture, but for women whose lives have been torn apart because they have been beaten by people who are supposed to love them and care for them, the flowers are a small but meaningful gesture to let these women know they are remembered and supported.
JWI doesn’t stop there. Acknowledging the significant link between financial insecurity and domestic violence, along with the flowers, financial literacy resources are sent to the shelters. For example, each shelter is in contact with JWI to let them know what the women in their shelters need most, whether it’s information about creating a budget, or resources to help women rebuild or establish credit since so many have had their credit destroyed or have been prohibited from having access to their own finances because of their abusive situation.
How does JWI do this? By selling Mother’s Day (and this year, Father’s Day) cards. For $25, JWI will send a card (or e-card) to any Mom in your life you want them to send it to. Even if Mother’s Day is challenging for you – perhaps because of the loss of a mother, or because of estrangement – this is an observance that offers an opportunity: to honor mothers past and present, paying some love forward to women who are trying to make better lives for themselves and, in some cases, for their children. With the money that you spend, a battered women’s shelter will get the love that many of us take for granted.
After learning about this project, I feel much more comfortable about Mother’s Day to be honest. I am making my donation several times over. What better way to say “I love you, Mom” than to support a mom in need? I can’t think of any. (And you can participate in this project by clicking here.)
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers, mother types, and also to all of you fathers and father types as well, and to all who nurture and care for others!