No two families are the same. What may be “normal” for one family could be quite unique to another.
Because families are so different, days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, and even days devoted to siblings or cousins present opportunities for families to celebrate diversity while honouring their family members.
Branch out to many caregivers
Certainly, a person becomes a mother if she has given birth to a child. But motherhood is a much broader concept. Many women are mothers to children with whom they have little to no biological connection. Some may be relatives that filled the void left by a mother who passed away or was unable to care for children. Anyone who has stepped into the role of caretaker can and should be celebrated on Mother’s Day.
The notion of the “evil stepmother” in fairy tales is inaccurate. Many children have very close relationships with their stepmothers — even retaining relationships should the stepmother divorce out of the family. Modern families even include strong connections between stepmothers and biological mothers, with each doing her part to make sure children are getting the love and support they need.
Families continue to evolve and same-sex couples are raising children. Among married same-sex couples, 18.9 per cent of the households have children under age 18. These non-traditional families can be creative as they navigate holidays like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. One way to do so is to celebrate one parent on Mother’s Day and the other on Father’s Day. However, families also can remove gender labels and celebrate both days as Parents Day, casting love and affection on caregivers however they see fit.
Absent but not forgotten
Some mothers are not present in children’s lives for various reasons. These can include death, incarceration, illness, military deployment, or enrollment in a rehabilitation program. Mother’s Day can be a time of mixed emotions for individuals whose moms are not present, and families can work together to find ways to celebrate. This may be visiting the cemetery to pay respects or sending a letter to express one’s feelings. Individuals also can recognize those people who act as surrogate mothers, including special friends or coworkers who always listen and offer advice.
Mother’s Day can be recognized with flexibility and creativity within non-traditional families.