Not So Sure About Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

So, yesterday started me thinking that this whole Mother’s Day/Father’s Day thing is a little uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of recognizing everything our parents/parental figures have done for us. I even understand having separate days so that each parent can get attention. I just feel a little funny about the binary nature of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

I’m very close to both of my parents (of whom I have a pretty standard two, a mom and a dad). None of this is meant to be a reflection on either of them. However, I know people who don’t have a mom and a dad. I know people who, if they have kids, may not identify as either mother or father. I know people whose biological/legal parents have essentially cut them out of their lives. My point? Mother’s Day and Father’s Day work swell for some people, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing.

Not all parents are mothers or fathers. Or rather, not all people who are (or want to be) parents want to identify as mothers or fathers. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day make them invisible. I just don’t generally like gender binaries, and this is no exception.

Furthermore, while I’m close to my parents, not everyone is. The idea of each parent’s day assumes that parents should be honored, no matter the situation. It becomes such a big deal, even when we know nothing about the parents. All of the messages about being dutiful children and celebrating our parents assume that everyone has both a mother and a father who are supportive, loving parents. And that’s not true, and it just doesn’t sit quite right with me.

Do I think Mother’s Day and Father’s Day shouldn’t exist? Well, no, not really. Am I going to stop celebrating them? Also no. I just want to do a little critical thinking about these days.

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