May 10, 2014

EDITORIAL: Now, more than ever, moms do heavy lifting

Today is Mother's Day, and it greatly overshadows Father's Day in cultural significance, as fathers are known to mutter.

Mother's Day gets all the ink. Moms get all the brunches and all the flowers. You would feel particularly bad if you blew off Mother's Day. Your father probably would react along the lines of, oh, I was in the garage anyway. And I have plenty of ties.

Mother's Day once conjured a certain template of an apron-wearing, cookie-baking mom. She would be a bit hard to find these days. Today's mother may or not bake, but she probably is working outside the home, driving the carpool, going to soccer and baseball games, and taking care of her mother.

According to the U.S. Census, the demographics of motherhood are knowable: 10.3 million mothers are single, 5 million mothers stay at home and 62.1% of them work outside the home. Nearly 90% of all children live with their biological mother. But these metrics do not measure the ideals of motherhood.

The ideal mom is loving, attentive and thinks you're the greatest son or daughter in the history of natural reproduction. Her job is to make you feel like you are. Yes, sometimes Mom points out that, in fact, you aren't studying hard enough, and you really should stand up straight. Oh, and would you please pick up your socks and take out the garbage?

Some historians have noted that many U.S. presidents have had directive mothers. Barbara Bush comes to mind, as does Rose Kennedy. Richard Nixon's mother, Hannah, once was asked if she was proud of her son, then a presidential candidate. She replied that she was proud of all of her sons. She let her non-presidential candidate sons know she cared, and her candidate son know she was watching. Well-played.

Consider this a fair warning: If you didn't get organized enough to buy a card, make brunch reservations or buy flowers, the clock is running. We're a morning paper and we told you what the deal is, so you may still have time left.

And would it hurt you to call her more often?

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