Alternative Mother’s Day

I don’t usually post twice in a day, but I wanted to get tomorrow’s post up early to give people a chance to think about how they might contribute.

            So, I am starting to think I was a little depressed (“no shit,” they say).  But, I feel like I am starting to come out of it (“about time,” they mutter).  Although I am not yet really returning phone calls and still wake up every day that I have social plans hoping the other party will cancel, I am beginning to think about people other than myself now and again (“good, because this blog was starting to get boring,” they reply). 

            As Mother’s Day rolls around, I start thinking about cards for my husband’s grandmothers and what to send his mother.  He writes out the cards to maintain the illusion that HE was the one to purchase the cards, but I suspect his mother is on to the whole arrangement.  She is hard to shop for, and we have taken to sending her flowers for Mother’s Day.  As I am increasingly uncomfortable with the environmental effect of cut flowers, we tend to steer towards potted plants, which actually stay alive in their house (as opposed to ours, which is where lavender go to die).  I just cannot stomach putting all those resources into growing and transporting flowers that will croak a week later.

            This year, however, as I tried to muster the energy to go online and order the flowers, I found myself listening to NPR.  I don’t get much time, as Zachary asks, “please can you turn it off?” the moment we get in the car, and Benjamin has now taken to saying “turn off, Mommy” when his brother isn’t around to enforce the news ban.  In the moments during which my children have actually lifted the news blackout, however, I noticed there seems to have been a bit of a natural disaster in Myanmar.

            My mother-in-law has spent her life educating children, hers and others.  In her spare time, she is a devoted grandmother.  Kids are sort of her thing (well, kids and speeding).  So, I decided that this year, the best way to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to her would be to help other mothers and their children.  And so, we are taking the money we would have spent on flowers and donating it to the American Red Cross  for their disaster relief fund, in the hopes that perhaps at some point they will be permitted to provide disaster relief.  For good measure, I asked J to give any money he was planning on spending on me to the same organization (which translates into $2.50 for the Hallmark he won’t need to buy). 

            Of course, there are free ways to celebrate Mother’s Day.  For example, click here to see Julie’s post on uninsured children.  You could spend an hour on Mother’s Day learning more about this important issue, if you aren’t familiar with it already.  Come election day, this issue ought to be somewhere near the top of your priority list. 

            Or, you could write a letter to a teacher, thanking him or her for helping raise our next generation.  Or, you could recommit to one environmental measure (eschewing plastic bags, for example) as a gift to mothers who want their children to inherit a planet that feels somewhat habitable. 

            Join me this year in celebrating an Alternative Mother’s Day.  Please leave your ideas in the comments or write your own post on ways to recognize all mothers on this important day.  Then email me the link (see my About page).  I will break my no-posting-on-weekends rule this weekend because Mother’s Day seems to keep falling on a Sunday.  I will post links and the ideas you suggest on Mother’s Day.

            As for me, I am hoping that, in addition to the donation to the Red Cross, I will get a day with no new pimples on Sunday.  I am starting to feel like a mountain range, and Benjamin does not help when he delightedly points out each new pimple.  Never should have taught him that word…

15 responses to “Alternative Mother’s Day

  1. I’m sure you’ll see it in time, but I am celebrating Alternative Mother’s Day as well by honoring some of my friends children. These children are no longer with us, so I’m asking my readers to do something kind for someone else in celebration of their too-short lives.

    Still born, but born still as a friend of mine likes to say about her son William.

    I myself have made a donation to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, which is a non-for-profit that takes portraits of these children with their families before it is time to say goodbye.

    I’ll give you the link to my blog so that you can see all of the children we’re honoring with the good deeds that we do.

  2. I love this idea . . .

    I’ll have to think about it .. .

    But I love your environmental measure suggestion.

    If everyone would just do a few simple things . . .

    It would make such a difference!

  3. ah, I LOVE this idea!
    and I love how quietly yet pervasively green you are.

  4. What a great idea. I was going to send my Mom flowers, but I like your way much, much better.

  5. What a lovely idea, Emily. As usual, your post somehow lifts me out of my peevish self-absorption.

    I’d been feeling mighty grumpy about Mother’s Day in general. Sadly, flowers were already ordered for the Grandmas, but perhaps I can use your idea for myself!

    I think I’ll give myself a donation to In this time of food shortages and widening worldwide hunger, their sustainable methods of fighting poverty seem very appropriate.

    Have a good weekend.

  6. I’m a reluctant mothers-dayer myself so this sounds like something I can actually be enthusiastic about. It’s so frustrating that the military junta or whatever they are won’t let aid workers in… but hopefully, at some point… and in the mean time the support will help some children, somewhere, somehow.

  7. I won’t be able to post about this but one idea for alternative mother’s day is to celebrate the African AIDS Grandmothers. These are the women left to raise the 13 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa. The Stephen Lewis Foundation has a Garndmothers’ Campaign.

  8. I have to think about it too, but if I come up with anything I’ll write my own post and let you know.

    Can I just say how utterly impressed I am that you already have playdates and social plans in L.A.? You’ve been there, what, three weeks? Impressive.

  9. I will think on this. I’m kind of an anti-Hallmark holiday person, but your sentiments are in the right place.

  10. Fantastic idea!

    (And I’m impressed at your social acumen too!)

    Hope all is well….

  11. Every Mothers Day since my mum’s best friend died from breast cancer, instead of a gift I donate money to breast cancer research. They send a card back saying “Happy Mothers Day. A donation has been made in your name” etc. It’s a fairly big campaign here (Australia).

  12. Great post. Lots to think about.

  13. MOMocrats is doing a series, mine will be up on my blog tomorrow, Dreams of A Mother, policy and personal…


  14. Pingback: Happy Alternative Mother’s Day « Wheels on the bus

  15. I love the donation idea. One of my favorite teacher gifts came from a rather well-off family. They made a donation in my name to buy school supplies for children in India. It was money well-spent.