Mother’s Day is almost upon us! If you have a mother, you may have googled a list of suggested products (chocolate dipped strawberries or a personalized wind-chime anyone?) If you are a mother you may have caught yourself gazing a little longer at a bracelet at your local boutique, wondering how to you might work it into a conversation with your husband that strikes a balance between subtlety and salience.
I want to make a suggestion about Mother’s Day gifting that you haven’t seen on any list. It’s called ‘Taking Radical Responsibility for Your Own Desires,” and you give it to yourself. When you take radical responsibility for your own desires you:
Get what you actually want
Relieve the burden of the guessing game from your loved ones
Model feminist behavior for your children
There’s a weird, deeply disempowering cultural push for us ladies to wait around for someone else to Do The Thing We Want. From “just because” flowers, to life-long martial commitment, we’re encouraged to just drop a hint and then awkwardly wait around for it to get picked up. We’re also encouraged to analyze what it means about how other’s feel about us if they don’t psychically interpret, and deliver, what we want.
It’s a terrible structure that’s built to fail everyone except the capitalist machine. When my Bubbie recalls the emblematic story of her first, failed, marriage- it’s the story of how her first car was purchased for her, without a glimmer of her input, as a “gift” from her husband. Her car was just sitting in the garage one day. Some 60 years later she’s still irked about it.
The fact of the matter is, if you’re a mother, you know how to get things done, and well. Don’t let yourself be suckered into this horrible cultural ritual. All it accomplishes is keeping our Goodwills stocked with unopened picture frames, As Seen on TV cooking appliances, and personalized wind chimes.
If you are a mother, this is my invitation to you. Make your own brunch reservations, if that’s your idea of a good time. Or let your husband know when he’ll be watching the kids because you’ve booked yourself a massage, or a family photo, or whatever else it is that you know would be the perfect thank you for you.