Friday, May 08, 2009

"Mother" is not code for "wife".

On my drive home today, I was alternating between listening to Madonna's "Hung Up" for the umpteenth time (literally, because I keep playing that track over and over whenever I drive anywhere these days) and listening to the radio. Just as I was getting close to my exit, the radio djs read a letter from a self-proclaimed "mistress" who wanted to know if mistresses had any rights on Mother's Day. This woman had been seeing a married man for over a year and had had a baby by him, and she felt that she deserved some respect on Mother's Day and some of his time.

The response that I heard - I didn't listen for long, because I was close to home - was fairly predictable: men and women were FURIOUS at this woman and went on at some length to vent their spleen at her lack of self-respect (for getting involved with a married man) and so forth. The djs, of course, were supporting all of this.

I didn't have the stomach or the time to listen further, but I did briefly consider calling or writing in. If I had done, here's what I would have said:

Interestingly, none of your listeners seem to have heard the part where this woman mentioned that she is a *mother*. The holiday is Mother's Day - not Wives' Day. The fact that someone is a wife is not what entitles them to be celebrated on Mother's Day; the fact that someone is a girlfriend or a mistress has nothing to do with what kind of mother they are. We don't even qualify what kind of mother one has to be in order to get a card or flowers or a little attention. There are no "For a tolerable Mother" cards by Hallmark. All that is necessary for participation is that one has a child.

I'm also fascinated that what pissed off your callers was that this mother wanted to be recognized on Mother's Day and not that the man in question had cheated on his wife and was continuing to do so. For all of their righteous indignation about self-respect and responsibility, none of your callers felt it was important for the child of the mistress to be with his/her mother AND father on a holiday, and no one mentioned the negative impact on the children in both families that such a father might have. No one wondered if that father was paying any kind of child support or clucked their tongues about the model he was setting for his children. No, it was easier to deny the mistress' motherhood; if it was even remembered, it was conveniently minimized so that she could be more easily condemned.

So, really, your listeners, like society at large, don't actually care about mothers, not even on Mother's Day.


Anonymous said...

You hate Mother's Day anyway.

CrackerLilo said...

That is actually an excellent reason to hate Mother's Day. It's really only a certain kind of mother in a certain kind of circumstance who is to be honored in a certain kind of way. You're right; it's sorry and it sucks.

belledame222 said...


I send my mom stuff (and forgot to call my grandma, sigh) out of habit and because, well, who doesn't like candy and flowers? I do hate the Hallmark cards, though; but she's come to expect them and likes putting them up on the shelf. It's like any other Holiday, Inc., I guess...