Accepting the “Hallmark holiday” that is Mother’s Day took some time.
At first, I didn’t like the money-grab aspect of splurging on overpriced flowers or the forced sentiment of celebrating a mother’s love only once a year. But the day grew on me.
The looks on the faces of my children as they presented their handcrafted gifts to me on Mother’s Day turned my bitterness sweet.
I became a sentimental suck.
From a butterfly made of handprints to a painted flower pot to a handmade necklace, I’ve kept those keepsakes from my kids and now look forward to the surprise gifts.
In 2017, a school letter went viral after it was shared on Facebook, explaining that the students of an elementary school in Mission would no longer be crafting cards and gifts for Mother’s Day. The school was opting out in order to support those children who may not have a mother to celebrate. Since then, many schools have joined in on the ban.
This year, our children’s school decided to do the same.
While I’m sure they’ve made the change with good intentions, it has me wondering if we’re taking political correctness too far. Is eliminating everything really the best way to create a more inclusive society?
Our school’s sports days were previously scrapped, replaced with non-sport “fun days.” The school felt it wasn’t fair for those less-athletic students to compete in an environment that rewarded those more athletically inclined. The “everyone’s a winner” mentality spread to extracurricular sports teams, awarding medals to every team player and eliminating posted scores. Now, Mother’s Day crafts are no longer and for a similar reason - cancelling anything that could potentially make some children upset.
Not every child is an athlete, but why can’t we celebrate those who are? Families come in all shapes and sizes (as a child of a blended family, I know this to be true), so why can’t we celebrate our differences instead of cancelling all celebrations and disguising it as inclusion?
Conversations should be had, not cancellations made.
Banning the act of celebrating moms and dads through giving crafty gifts and clever quotes is hardly the way to celebrate family diversity. Instead, we should change the conversation and make the day about those who care for us in a broader sense.
Why not use this holiday as an excuse to highlight families of varying compositions instead of cancelling the celebrations altogether? Wouldn’t calling it “caregiver’s day” be an easier way to make the holiday more inclusive? Couldn’t the teachers change the language that they use if the topic is sensitive for one of their students?
In life, there will be wins and losses. There will be celebrations and sadness. Let’s talk to our children about the realities of life and how to deal with those varied emotions, not toss everything aside that could potentially make them cry.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter @biancabujan and Instagram @bitsofbee.