May 9, 2023

Anti-Mother’s Day Corporate Pandering

For the sake of the few and the overly sensitive, Mother’s Day can be “opted out” of.

Everyone has a mother. This is not controversial. Every second Sunday in May is marked out to specifically honor those women who, with all their being, have invested in our existence. To paraphrase Michael Knowles’s recent sentiments on his podcast, being a mother is the most beautiful, exalted thing that any woman can do on this earth.

But apparently this lovely spring tradition that honors moms is being canceled.

Stores like Hallmark, Kay Jewelers, DoorDash, Nespresso, Levi’s,, MAC cosmetics, and the now-bankrupt BuyBuy Baby all sent out emails and messages to their customer base along the lines of, Mother’s Day can be a difficult and sensitive time of year for some people; would you like to opt out of related content?

Mother’s Day is now “triggering” and “oppressive” to some people. Frankly, this is somewhat understandable. Women who are struggling with infertility, or children who have fraught relationships with their mothers, or families mourning mothers who have passed away might find this day saddening and hard. But our own personal tragedies are not valid grounds for attempting to diminish and erase what mothers are and continue to be. That is, they are the life-givers, homemakers, and nurturers of the next generation. What they are and what they represent are universal, and opting out is not an appropriate response.

As understandable and tempting as the “opt out” button on these company’s emails might be, the principle underlying these emails is feeding the beast of our cultural narcissism.

The very tone of these messages is mawkish. The one from Levi’s even goes so far as to say: “We know motherhood and all the associated feelings, emotions and memories can be tricky — and even triggering for some people. The last thing we want to do is hit you with celebratory ‘yay mom’ energy that doesn’t match up with your vibe.”

Levi’s is tapping into that all-about-me tendency that our culture struggles with. Mother’s Day isn’t about you, even if you happen to be a mother. Sure, moms this Sunday may have a special meal and enjoy gifts and extra pampering from their family, but usually it’s a more profound time of remembrance, love, and family.

If you are someone who struggles with Mother’s Day because of infertility, you are so loved and valuable. Your desire to become a mother is a worthy thing. This day is still for you as you and your spouse seek to grow your family. At the very least, it is a time to celebrate your own mothers.

If you have a difficult relationship with your mom, Mother’s Day is still worth celebrating. Celebrate the women in your life who are mother figures. After all, not all family is blood-related.

If you have lost your mother, this day can still be a day you honor her and the memories you have of her.

These corporate emails that are trying to appeal to those few cases dealing with infertility, tense relations, or loss should be filed in the junk bin. Don’t give in to their indulgence. For even though they’re just silly emails and marketing, the cultural implications are more profound. So, be brave, mature, and choose to “opt in” to Mother’s Day.

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