Searching through the racks of Mother’s Day cards looking for something just right for my step-mom and mother-in-law, I noticed just how many Mother’s Day cards there are these days for people who aren’t mothers:
“You’re like a Mother to Me”
“To a special person on Mother’s Day”
“Celebrating you for all you do”
It made me wonder– how many host families get a card for their Au Pair on Mother’s Day?
In some ways, celebrating your chidcare provider on Mother’s Day is a bit
offensive inappropriate. After all, a childcare provider isn’t a mother. Suggesting that s/he is in some way like a mother simultaneously demeans the role of the actual mother and demeans the role of the childcare provider.
Your childcare provider cares for your children in her or his own special way, without needing to be some kind of “mother substitute”.
Moreover, a Mother’s Day card for a childcare provider seems especially odd when that person is a man. It’s easier to presume that childcare is “like mothering” since it’s usually done by women. But that leaves out the loving care that Mannies offer.
Not to mention — a childcare provider isn’t a father substitute either. On Mother’s Day, we don’t celebrate fathers who are actively involved in childcare and ‘helping the mom out’, do we? So what does it say about how we think of ‘mothering’, if we’re offered cards for females who are not moms, but not for men who are not moms and dads who are not moms, yet who contribute to children’s physical and emotional care? But I digress…
On the other hand, though, it’s not like we have a Childcare Provider Day, Nanny Day, or Au Pair Day, when we all collectively celebrate the ways in which au pairs lovingly care for our children and contribute to their lives.
And with cards available to celebrate those “special people” on Mother’s Day, maybe we should just give in and use the day to be generous in our appreciation?
(Hello Hallmark? There’s an opportunity there.)
So let’s hear it Host Moms and Dads.