Today is Mother’s Day, and it vastly overshadows Father’s Day in cultural significance, as fathers often mutter.
Mother’s Day gets all the ink. Moms get all the brunches and all the flowers. You would feel particularly bad if you blew off Mother’s Day. Your father probably would react along the lines of, oh, I was in the garage anyway. And I have plenty of golf balls.
Mother’s Day once conjured a certain template of an apron-wearing, cookie-baking Mom. She would be a bit hard to find these days.
Today’s mother may or not bake, but she probably is working outside the home, driving the carpool, going to soccer and baseball games, and taking care of her mother.
According to the U.S. census, the demographics of motherhood are knowable: 10.3 million mothers are single, 5 million mothers stay at home, and 62.1 percent of them work outside the home. Also, 89.7 percent of all children live with their biological mother; 1.2 percent do not. But these metrics do not measure the ideals of motherhood.
The ideal mom is at least loving and attentive and thinks you’re the greatest son or daughter in the history of natural reproduction. And you may well be. Within bounds of reason. Probably.
Her job is to make you feel like you are. Yes, sometimes Mom points out that, in fact, you aren’t studying hard enough, and you really should stand up straight. Oh, and would you please pick up your socks and take out the garbage?
And, by the way, she might be right about that jerk you’re dating, or that your girlfriend is perfect and that it really is about time that you pop the question. This sort of thing is in the job description. We had mothers, too.
Moms sometime fall down on the job; it’s not easy being her. Many of us had difficult mothers, and some historians have noted that many U.S. presidents have had directive mothers.
Barbara Bush comes to mind, as does Rose Kennedy. Richard Nixon’s mother, Hannah, once was asked if she was proud of her son, then a presidential candidate. She replied that she was proud of all of her sons. She let her non-presidential candidate sons know she cared, and her candidate son know she was watching. Well played.
Consider this a fair warning: If you didn’t get organized enough to buy a card, make brunch reservations or buy flowers, the mom shot clock is running. We’re a morning paper, and we told you what the deal is, so you may still have a little time left.
And would it hurt you to call her more often?