Other Holidays

Please Do Not Wish Strangers a Happy Mother’s Day

A Public Service Announcement for Mother’s Day

Repost from An Arts Notebook, Bridget Eileen Madden’s arts, culture, and entertainment blog

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would just like to give the following advice: please, do not wish *random women* a “Happy Mother’s Day.”

Of course, for any person who you know for certain is a mother and will be happily celebrating mother’s day with their family and loved ones, definitely *do* wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.

However, for a lot of women this is a complicated and not necessarily celebratory day. A person may not be able to have kids, or may have recently miscarried, or may have sadly lost a child, or–in my case–may have never met the person with whom they’d like to settle down and have children. They may have recently lost their mother, or be estranged from their mother, or never knew their mother. In such cases, hearing someone, however well-intentioned they may be, say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” gives a stinging, painful tug at the heart.

For a long time, while my mom lived in New Orleans and I in New England, I stopped going out in public on Mother’s Day. Having no kids, I just didn’t feel like being around those who were celebrating. And I don’t want to ever be subjected to any strangers who might wish me a Happy Mother’s Day again, like those times it happened in the past, which precipitated my desire to stay in for the day.

Now that my mom is my downstairs neighbor, and she is getting on in years, I do love celebrating Mother’s Day with her. But there are a lot of people for whom this day is complicated and perhaps painful. So, best not to make assumptions, however well intentioned.

If you want to be nice, saying something like, “Happy Springtime!” should do the trick just fine. The purpose of your desire to wish someone a “happy something or other” is to show kindness & manners. For some, skipping the assumption of their happiness in motherhood is the best way to do so.

…for some, skipping the assumption of their happiness in motherhood is the best way to show manners and kindness during Mother’s Day…

So, if you know of people who could use this very kindly given advice, please spread the word! Thank You and Happy Springtime!