Showing support to make Mother's Day events at school equally accessible to all mothers.
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It’s that time of year again. The time when I anxiously check my children’s take home folders every evening looking for the invitation to a mother’s day event at their school that inevitably will be scheduled in the middle of the day. Yesterday, a beautifully designed flier inviting us to a poetry reading and bruch was neatly tucked into my 9 year old’s folder, explaining how hard our children have worked on learning poems, and putting together a special brunch for their mothers to come in and see how much they are loved and appreciated. Trust me when I say there is nowhere else I would rather be than listening to my 9 year old son reading a poem and having tea poured for me by him in his cafeteria; seeing his face beaming with pride and feeling the love he has for me shine through. The importance of these events is not lost on me, allowing the students to take ownership and give them the opportunity to show a special lady in their lives what they mean to them. They are adorable and heartwarming, and come complete with a handmade gift that will be a new treasure in our home. What I can’t accept however, is that these events fall in the middle of the day (don’t even get me started on the time in preschool daddy’s night out was at 6:30pm, while mother’s day tea was at 10am..)
All mothers, but in this case working mothers, are being held accountable to a list of impossible expectations. We are already the mothers who can’t come in for holiday parties, who have to find a stand in to cut the cookie cake for their child’s birthday, and who have to trust another parent’s watchful eye to care for our children on fieldtrips. Each of these coming with their own unique brand of heartache and guilt. We have to rush home from work to immediately turn around and get our kids to sports or activities. We are the moms who are in heels on the muddy sidelines, the ones who rush in with 40 seconds to spare to the spring concert that starts at 2:30 in the afternoon, the ones who have a really solid e-mail based relationship with our child’s teacher.
I think that’s why it stings even worse that Mother’s Day; a day when all mothers should be made to feel nothing but good, to be shown that their hard work and juggling acts are noticed and appreciated, that we are valued for more than prompt arrivals to evening practices and remembering to put ice in the water bottles, is transformed into another guilt and heartache riddled event that we have to either miss or perform the sometimes impossible task of getting out of a morning of work. Of course the moms who don’t have a traditional work schedule, whose presence is already felt in the schools will be able to attend with no questions asked, dissecting the message this sends to our children is an entirely different issue, but where does that leave us; The working moms who see a working hour time frame for festivities and immediately feel our chest tightening with stress, anxiety, and broken hearts? Where does that leave our children? Teary eyed without their mom there? Paired up with a friend and their mom? Alone with a school assigned special friend? None of these prevent broken hearts for our kids, or ourselves, and I believe you would be hard pressed to find a working mom who wouldn’t do anything in her power to be there for their child. Sometimes however, it’s just simply not an option. It feels as though of all events, Mother’s Day should be the one that is free from the potential exclusion of those who want to be there the most. I have to believe that there is a different option than Mother’s Day tea during working hours, one that doesn’t ‘ruin it for everyone,’ but in turn also doesn’t ruin it just for the working moms and their kids.
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