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  • Helena Berdote

Beyond the Marketing: Reflecting on Mother’s Day and Its Complex Realities"

Mother’s Day: a day of flowers, cards, and brunches, celebrated with fervor worldwide. Yet, beneath the glossy facade of marketing lies a tapestry woven with complexities and nuances. As we prepare to honor motherhood, it’s crucial to peel back the layers and acknowledge the losses and challenges often obscured by commercialization.

The Commercialization of Motherhood:

Mother’s Day has transformed into a commercial behemoth, with an estimated $25 billion spent annually in the United States alone. The pressure to find the perfect gift can overshadow the essence of maternal appreciation. Personal connections are supplanted by material tokens, leaving many feeling disconnected from the true spirit of the holiday.

Navigating Loss on Mother’s Day:

For some, Mother’s Day is a bittersweet affair, tinged with the ache of absence. Whether it’s the loss of a beloved mother figure, the pain of estrangement, or the silent struggle of infertility, this day can serve as a stark reminder of what’s missing. My own experience reflects this dichotomy - a blend of gratitude for the mother I cherish and sorrow for the one I lost too soon.

Challenging Traditional Narratives:

The conventional narrative of Mother’s Day often excludes those who don’t fit the mold of the idealized mother figure. Single fathers, LGBTQ+ parents, and non-traditional caregivers are sidelined in mainstream representations of motherhood. Yet, the essence of nurturing knows no bounds, transcending gender, sexuality, and familial structure. My friend, a single dad, embodies this truth with unwavering devotion to his children.

Cultural Variations:

Mother’s Day isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair. Across the globe, diverse cultures celebrate mother figures in unique ways. In Ethiopia, for instance, Antrosht, a multi-day celebration, honors mothers with feasts and singing. These cultural variations serve as a poignant reminder of the rich tapestry of human experience.

As we approach Mother’s Day, let’s embark on a journey beyond the confines of consumerism and marketing. Let’s honor motherhood in all its complexities, embracing inclusivity and empathy. Whether you’re celebrating a cherished maternal bond or navigating the labyrinth of loss, know that your experience is valid and worthy of acknowledgment. This Mother’s Day, let’s reclaim the essence of caregiving and love, transcending commercial trappings to celebrate the universal language of the heart.


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