taking the words of Jesus seriously

Mother’s Day is a pain in the ass.

There, I’ve said it.

A day when we spend more than $14 billion in this country trying to tell moms we are grateful for them. A day when, as a mom, you’re set up with all these expectations that your family will come through for you, finally say the words of thanks and praise you’ve been secretly longing to hear since the moment you popped the little ones out of your vagina (through indescribable pain and massive amounts of blood, I might add), a day when they will finally make you feel appreciated enough. Along with giving you a card or flowers or “You’re a special mom” cubic zirconia anklet too, of course. (Just to be clear, I prefer the “I’m expensive but in a totally hip and understated way” looking stuff…in case anyone in my family is reading this.)

Then there’s the Mother Day Facebook envy situation. Where it looks like everyone is having a better Mother’s Day than you are. Where every Facebook post you read makes it sound like other kids love their mothers more. I’m not saying this has happened to me, exactly. I’m just saying…

And, if you happen to be a woman who wants to be a mom, and who hasn’t been able to conceive or adopt, or perhaps someone whose mother wasn’t quite up to par, as in the type who pushed you down the stairs when she got mad at you…well let’s just say, crazy-making… of epic proportions.

Before Mother’s Day got stuck in this mind-effing machinery, however, it was something all together different. In its roots it is a feminist, political and radical religious holiday. A day when mothers banded together to say, essentially, “We’ve had enough of this crap.”

For example, in 1870, one of the original founders of Mother’s Day, Julia Ward Howe, a suffragist and abolitionist and poet wrote this Mother’s Day Proclamation.

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, 
 whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking 
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be 
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach 
them of charity, mercy and patience…From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: ‘Disarm! Disarm! 
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.’ 
Blood does not wipe our dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.” 

I can think of a lot of stuff I’ve had enough of.

Black men and women and children being “accidently” killed by police.

The fact that every 21 hours there is another rape on a college campus.

The ugliness that Donald Trump is spewing out on a regular basis, and how he is, as Jim Wallis has said “…appealing to the worst instincts of white people.”

The fear and violence that has forced 60 million people from their homes, has kept so many refugees from finding a safe place to go and a welcome when they get there.

The absurdity that in a country where some of us spend $4 every day on a cup of coffee, 1 in 5 children don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

I could go on. I’m sure you could too.

So maybe we should.

This Mother’s Day, let’s use it as an opportunity to be a sharp stick in the eye of this country. Occupy Mother’s Day and say enough is enough. Use our blogs and pulpits and family dinners and Facebook posts this Sunday to do our own #Mommyfestos, to yell like the love-crazed mothers some of us are, that it’s time to stop this insanity. And clean up the messes we’re making.

Let’s each issue our own #Mommyfesto.

Of course, doing this doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t want the cards and candy and flowers and beautiful tributes written to us on Facebook. Or that we have to give them up.

It just means, that’s not all we want.

What do you say? Are you with me?

About The Author


Lenora blogs with honesty, humor and even, occasionally, a little wisdom, about trying to be more spiritual when you basically suck at it, on her Chicago-Tribune-hosted blog, Spiritual Suckitude. A regular contributor on RedLetterChristians.org, she also co-directs The Plural Guild with her husband Gary, a collective crafting music, visual art & liturgy for people who want to do justice, love mercy, and worship in new ways that welcome all. Because she rarely sleeps, she also writes lyrics for the band The Many, works a very full time job as creative director in a big Chicago ad agency, and helps with communications for the Wild Goose Festival. Her two 20-something daughters allow her to be friends with them on Facebook, as long as she doesn’t comment. She loves Jesus, chocolate and shoes. Though, unfortunately, not always in that order.

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