Manhattan Minds Founder TALKS: What Mother's Day is Good For
Today is Mother’s Day. Thankfully, today isn’t the only day of the year my husband and our two children share their love and appreciation. Still, I’ll take it! Any day is a good day to squeeze in some extra lovin’, get ‘official’ praise and maybe even a lavender scented foot massage. But, in the quiet moments, Mother's Day is also a good day to reflect. I am reflecting on what kind of mom I have been which, I expect, on this day is not uncommon.
In my reflections, it’s hard not to notice that society still tells us what characteristics make a good mom, and which make a good dad.
I'm a proud mother of two glorious, happy souls. I'm caring, patient, gentle, nurturing – all the things that women are "supposed" to be.
But I'm also tough, stern, a coach and companion with my kids – the kinds of things that men are "supposed" to be and do.
Notice that, therein, was not a single reference to my favorite color! My favorite color happens to be yellow… today. Other days it's varying shades of green, red or blue. Magenta sometimes makes the cut but I can’t remember a day since I was twelve that I was attracted to the color of baby, fragile as a cherry blossom, pink. Ewww!
Why in the (bleep) are shop windows universally pink in Mother's Day?
The pedantic proliferation of the color pink as "the" Mother’s Day color offends me. This doesn't make me unique. I'm not the only woman in America that rejects antiquated and limiting stereotypes of what we mothers are supposed to be.
Suggested gifts- ranging from a blender, fluffy pink slippers and even day surgery "mommy specials" to help with saggy tummies and cellulite- are insulting. Clearly, yet more, proof that there are not enough women in the marketing c-suites of America’s corporations. Grrrr!
The pressure to adhere to gender stereotypes is restrictive for both parents and children alike.
Marketing and popular culture play a big role in reinforcing archaic stereotypes - that top priorities for girls should be the way they look and the way they care for others. My nine-year-old daughter has been called pretty and cute, and, as she's a natural leader, she's also called bossy. That should be just as much of a compliment, obviously. But there are still too many that view assertive girls and women with leadership skills as a negative.
For boys, the narrative revolves around being strong, emotionless and having physical prowess. My six-year-old son has been told "don't be a cry baby" and "boys don't cry".
Even the toy aisles at most shops have banners with Girl Toys and Boy Toys. The girls feature a lot of Barbie, pink and dolls while the boys get nerf guns and camouflage. Why don't we let each child choose the toys they're drawn to instead of telling them based on their sex?
And it doesn’t stop into adulthood. Shopping for perfume, I am directed to choose. Women’s Fragrance, isle one. Men’s Fragrance, isle two.
Segregating my sense of smell by gender make as little sense as it does to serve men and women different menus at a restaurant.
Men = meat. Women = salad. Obviously, no? Can men like salad and a woman like a steak? My nose shouldn't be treated any differently than my pallet. If I like the way it tastes, I eat it. If I like the way it smells, I wear it! (I recommend the premium scent KIERIN NYC as a terrific genderless scent. Newsflash! Genderless no longer has to mean generic. This new fragrance brand does genderless in style!)
These stereotypes harm us all. For our country to operate at its fullest potential we need our women, men and children to reach their fullest potential. The only ideas we should enforce on ourselves as parents, on our children, and on others, is respect and equality.
Men and women, boys and girls can be all of the things I mention above, or any combination that suits them. This Mother's Day is a good day to renew a maternal mission to repair our children against the wounds they have suffered at common culture's hands, to reinforce and nurture our children's freedom and opportunity to be themselves.
I wish you an ALL the colors of the rainbow, just as our Creator made it… beautiful day! A good day for giving thanks for the love, nurturing and support you’ve received ~ may that have been given to you by your mother or another. If you’ve enjoyed this blog, then please share it with a friend! We welcome your comments and questions below. www.manhattanminds.com