Saturday, May 09, 2015

Do Mothers Matter?

Baby Love
It may sound crazy, but explaining why mothers matter is apparently necessary.
By Rachel Lu
May 8, 2015

It’s hard sometimes to celebrate the wonderfully ordinary. In childhood, I remember my mother getting irritated each year by the local paper’s coverage of Mother’s Day. They always felt a need to find a “non-traditional” maternal figure to celebrate. Each May we got bright, happy features on unwed Murphy-Brown-type professionals who were doing it on their own, or on the heroic, childless woman who had volunteered hundreds of hours to the Girl Scouts, the “daughters she never had.” We apparently weren’t permitted to celebrate women who just got married, conceived and bore tiny new humans, and then raised them to adulthood. How boring and plebeian was that?

I fully understood my mom’s irritation. But I also sympathized with the local features editor. How many stories can you run on lullabies and apple pie? Motherhood is a minefield of clichés precisely because its importance is simply too obvious. For most of us, the goodness of mom is one of the first truths we ever grasp. We take our mothers for granted, just like sunshine and smiles and warm, cozy beds. As with those things, it’s hard to articulate their importance without sounding like a grinning, sentimental idiot.

Funny thing, though. In today’s world, it’s becoming audacious (even offensive!) to suggest that a child should have a mother. Another Mother’s Day is upon us, and the brunches will go on as usual, but a glance through your news feed will tell a different story: motherhood is besieged on a broader cultural level.
Consider, for example, this recent piece by Joy Pullmann on “full-service schools,” a fresh, new growing-up alternative to families. “Marriage equality” is poised to steamroll its way into every corner of the nation, carrying with it the new orthodoxy that kids don’t really need their natural parents. Meanwhile, surrogacy (fueled to a great extent by the desire of gay couples to procure children to raise) continues its advance into the Western world. the rest image


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