What’s the point of getting offended on Mother’s Day?

I’m not easily offended so usually I shrug it off when someone categorizes me based on a stereotype.

I spent many years working closely with old Vermont farmers. Most of these guys were every kind of –ist you could think of… sexist, ageist, weightist.

And they’d say anything. To your face. They’d think nothing of calling you a girl because you were young and a woman, a big girl if you were young, a woman and overweight.

But it never bothered me because I considered the source. I figured that was their upbringing, the society in which they were steeped. Their parents, grandparents and great grandparents all subscribed to the same biases and when you barely leave the farm, how are you going to learn differently?

It doesn’t make it right, and it’s probably ignoble or cowardly of me, but I figure it’s going to take a lot more than one person saying that their actions are unacceptable to change them.

And I feel that way about most of the –isms I run up against.

Maybe it would be different if I faced real adversity, if racism were a part of my everyday existence or sexism prevented me from a good career, but the little bit of prejudice I experience (which is so small I hesitate to even call it prejudice. It’s more like stupidity) isn’t worth getting worked up about.

That’s why I don’t understand single, childless women who get offended when people wish them a happy mother’s day.

I didn’t even know this was a thing until I read a couple of blog posts in which these women were complaining. The authors said that being wished a happy mother’s day made them feel like less of a woman or made them feel badly that they didn’t have children.

The fact that there is no “childless woman’s day” on the calendar should be a clue to these women about societal expectations and the uselessness of whining about it.

While women’s rights have progressed in leaps and bounds, there is still a prevalent belief that a woman is supposed to have children.

She can do great things in the sciences, business, the arts, medicine and literature, but she should also be a mother. If not, there is probably something wrong with her.

I can’t tell you how many times a business associate has asked me if I have children within a few minutes of meeting. Maybe they are looking for common ground, but it’s also just a safe assumption that a woman in her thirties or forties is going to have at least one kid. It’s the norm. It’s expected.

So if society is constantly telling us all women should be mothers, what good does it do to pitch a fit when someone wishes a non-mom a happy day? It’s not going to change anything.

I don’t have children but that doesn’t prevent me from saying thank you when someone assumes, based on my age and gender, that I am a mother on a day specifically designated to celebrate moms.

Just take the well wishes and consider the source.


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