The world we live in is constantly trying to reevaluate the stereotypes we place on gender roles but it doesn't feel like the stereotypes surrounding bad parenting have changed at all. Did you ever notice that we live in a world where phrases like this exist unquestioned: "She'll always be your mother" and "Having a child doesn't make you a father." Have you ever heard anyone say, "He'll always be your father" or "Having a child doesn't make you a mother"? It is such an extreme contradiction that we hear the first two phrases all the time, but I'd be hard pressed to find a single person who has heard the reverse. Why do we pretend that the mother-child relationship is the one that really matters-cannot be severed-because a woman physically brought you into the world? The truth of the matter-you equally could not exist without your father. No one should suffer because of biology because the truth of the matter is that my "mother" was never really a mother. If she was, those years existed in a time before my mind was old enough to remember them which of course contributes to a great sense of doubt as to whether they ever existed at all. The memories that I have from the time that I was young center almost entirely around my father: time in his workshop, picking fruit, tending to the garden, following him around on the farm, being rescued from the angry geese, feeding and rescuing goats, and working on forts, tree houses, and rope swings.
We need to stop pretending that the woman who gave birth to you is automatically a mother.
- Call you fat when you are underweight
- Tell catastrophic lies to manipulate you
- Try to get you to hate the parent who has never shown you anything but love
- Use you to hurt others
- Tell you how magical their life would be without you
- Try to have serious conversations only when completely intoxicated
- Rip you away from family to "win"
- Feed an addiction over feeding a child
- Encourage activities like drinking, smoking, and drugs
- Only show up intoxicated
I don't say-or rather write-all this because I want someone to look my life and feel sorry for me. That's not what I want at all, especially because I have a wonderful, beautiful life filled with so many people who love me. I have created a life for myself (with the help of some amazing women) that is light years better than anything I imagined for myself growing up and dreaming of starting my own family. I say all this to say, don't let society guilt your into thinking that you have to honor, cherish, worship someone for giving birth to you. Reserve those feelings for the real women in your life who were there and deserve the honor. Also, I say this to explain why Mother's day is also a day of mourning for me (and plenty of other people out there) for the mother I never had.