Talk a walk down the Hallmark aisle of your local pharmacy this weekend, and you'll notice a common aesthetic: pink flowers, blue jays in flight, a blond mother being served breakfast in bed by her perfect little child and her perfect, Don Draper-esque husband. Like every other holiday, it tends to be overcommercialized and cutesy. It's often an idealized vision of motherhood that, more likely than not, is a different world from your reality. Your mom may be single. She may be queer or a woman of color. She may be poor, disabled, or incarcerated. She may be an activist or a professional caregiver. Or maybe you don't have a mother anymore, and you're sending love to another mom this year—your sister or your best friend or your aunt.
These myriad scenarios are why the Strong Families Initiative is celebrating "Mama's Day" with a custom e-card tool that gives all mothers and families a chance to be visible. The site provides eight offbeat, non-flowery templates by artists like Nikki McClure and Melanie Cervantes that feature motherhood in all its diversity, with space for you to write a personalized message and email to the mother of your choice.
This week, the accompanying blog has been featuring posts about different issues affecting mamas, from immigration to pregnancy to trans mothers. One post reminds us that Mother's Day has its roots in protesting the Civil War, that it "was meant to be a radical revisioning of what is possible when you put mothers at the center of things." In the spirit of the original holiday, let's not follow the same, played-out script. Mother's Day can be more than brunch and carnations.
Image courtesy of Miriam Perez