Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother’s Day – A time for reflection

Mother's Day

I can’t believe that I have forgotten about Mother’s Day but then again, I haven’t celebrated Mother’s Day with my Mother for a long time. I know that this note came a day too late but as they say, better late than never.

In the past few years, when I could, I would send a Mother’s Day card to my Mother from wherever I was. Otherwise, I tend to believe that the best way for me to pay tribute to my Mother is by not giving her unnecessary grief or any reason to be worry about me. I hope that I have succeeded in doing that and this is the least I can do for her.

In essence, I wish that everyday is Mother’s Day because mothers who really care hardly relinquish their role and they’re not mothers only on the first Sunday of every May. They are mothers every single day and many until the day they die.

I was reminded of Mother’s Day when I read Susan Loone’s blog entry bearing the title, “Not Everyone Wants A Mother’s Day”.  I thought it was a courageous and refreshing article. It provides a completely different perspective, shying away from the usual “airy-fairy” tales paying tribute to Mummy Dearest.

Since I am lucky to have a Mother who devotes her whole life to protecting my interest and was brought up in a circle of relatives and friends who have the same kind of mothers, my first encounter with “bad mothers” came about when I was in Afghanistan.

I was then working as a Human Rights Officer with the United Nations and came across a case where a woman was hung to death after she was accused of adultery. The facts presented to me were both shocking and sad. In order to redeem the family’s honour, the woman’s mother had sent her to the gallows with her own hands.

The thought of a mother giving up her daughter for death is inconceivable and against the law of nature as I thought it is the primal instinct of all mothers to defend and protect their offspring at all cost. As much as I question how a mother could have done that, I also wonder how a daughter would have felt knowing that her own mother is responsible for her death.

I’ve also read many stories where mothers have allowed their husbands or lovers to rape their daughters. What about mothers who abuse their children? In Cambodia, I’ve encountered cases where mothers sell their daughters to slavery and prostitution.  These are things which I can never understand and in some ways, I do wonder whether these mothers have themselves being victims of abuse when they were young.

Luckily enough, not all mothers are bad and in fact, a lot of the mothers I’ve known are simply amazing. They each try to bring up their children the best way they can.

Not too long ago, I managed to catch up with a friend who is taking care of her two young children; all by herself without the help of a maid or nanny. I am often amazed by how much energy she has because attending to the needs of two young children is not an easy feat and she seems to be managing it well on her own. She told me that there is a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that she could impart life skills and values to her children. Not many people are able to see or understand that motherhood is not just about feeding, bathing and providing shelter to their children. It’s much more than that and above all, it’s about bringing up children who will become responsible and independent adults.

To end this note, I think Mother’s Day should be a day for reflection. It’s a day for mothers to think about how much they have contributed towards shaping their children’s lives in a positive manner. It’s also a day for children to think about how much they have done in return for all the sacrifices their mothers have done for them.


  1. I am sure you agree with me that all these celebrations of Mother's Day and Father's Day have been commercialised. Why is it that only one day in a year should be declared as Mother's Day. If one truly loves his or her mother, then everyday of her existence should be Mother's day.

  2. I agree with you, Whatmeworry. I think most Mothers would rather spend quality time with their children and family instead of being lavished with extravagant gifts which only benefit the corporate world.

    On the other hand, sometimes it's nice for Mothers to have that one special day when tributes and attention are being given to them. Most of the time, we all get so occupied with our own lives and tend to forget about our mothers. For some, a day like this really serve as a good reminder, although one shouldn't need a reminder as you said.

    Perhaps a good compromise is for children to express their love and appreciation for their mothers in more meaningful ways than just buying them gifts.