May 15, 2006

Mother's day

On the one hand, the New York Times Magazine seems to think the only interesting things about motherhood are that some model feels it's appropriate to drag her less than enthusiastic kids in front of a camera and how much anxiety over inheritance someone else has now that her mother is dying. Truly fascinating and relevant to the lives of all Americans.

On the other hand, the Chron runs profiles of four Bay Area working mothers. The central insight of the piece seems to be the following gaspworthy series of observations:

[T]he women profiled in today's Business section, like millions of others across America, have to work to provide for their families or to reach personal goals. They also have to take care of their children. So they come up with their own systems for making it work. For some mothers, those systems run smoothly. For others -- mainly those whose households earn less -- the systems are precarious.

Elsewhere, Amanda reminds us that Mother's day was started by crazy lefty moonbat anti-war feminists, and explains why she doesn't want to have kids in the context of a discussion of heteronormativity. Naturally, Dawn Eden and her ilk use this as a chance to declare that she's flippant, is unable to appraise her own moral values, hypocritical, immature (those of you remember Colleen from last fall will recall that she absolutely loves to dismiss people who disagree with her that way), and thinks the poor should eat their children (demonstrating a spectacular inability to grasp irony, among other failures of the higher cognitive faculties).

Hope everyone did something nice for their mom. As I am poor and live 2/3 of a continent away from mine, all I did was give her a phone call. She pointed out that I could've sent a card, too, which honestly didn't even occur to me. I'm a crappy son.

Recommended reading for Mother's day: Ann Critten, The price of motherhood. This is the book that sparked the infamous Hicks brothers' "loud welfare debate in the middle of TGI Fridays" incident. Well, infamous if you're me, my brother, or my mom.


MosBen said...

I despise greeting cards. First, let's remove long length, heartfelt messages from the discussion. When your writing starts to look more like a monologue/speech, especially something emotional which is generally going to be difficult to say, writing it down makes perfect sense. These sorts of notes I understand, though I'm not convinced you need to write them on greeting cards.

That aside, the messages printed in greeting cards are almost uniformely trite and the messages people write in them nearly all could be said aloud in under ten seconds. Why should I spend several dollars on a card to say, "Hope you have a happy birthday!" when I could accomplish the same thing when I'm right there in front of you or through a phone call. "Thank You" cards also baffle me. If I get a gift, and am thrilled by it, I say a heartfelt "Thank you! That was so great of you!" to them, maybe throw a hug or sloppy wet kiss in there if appropriate and am done. Why do they need confirmation of my thanks several days later through the mail? And again, if this isn't something that happens in person, a phone call is both more personal and probably less time consuming if you take into account the time it takes to go buy a card and then mail it.

And really, how many cards in our lives do we get that matter enough that we save them and what does that say about cards generally?

Maybe I'm a rude jerk, maybe I'm just cheap or lazy. I don't know, but personally, it is extremely rare that I receive a card that's worth a second thought.

Colleen said...

Oh, my ears were burning with good reason! My goodness I made an impression didn't I?

Well, I wasn't aware that I absolutely love to dismiss people as hypocritical (I don't think, I have ever said or implied this) and immature (yes, often, if I think that is the case). But then, those of us with strong opinions are too often dismissive of others-- it is a real fault.

But Dawn and others of our ilk who make your stomach churn, have to be forgiven, you know. We aren't self-aware like you. :-)

Colleen said...

mosben, I didn't see your comment until now. I don't think you are cheap, lazy or a jerk but I suspect that as a member of the younger, technologically privileged generation, you don't know how much pleasure it gives the recipient to receive a letter or card.

Actually, greeting cards were the lazy man's way of getting out of writing letters. They were the labor saving device of the 20s when they put an end to the craze for postcards.

Even today, nothing shows more thoughtfulness than a letter that someone took the time to write. Cards, especially in the age of the telephone and email, are darned near just as good for the reasons you mentioned. (I must be sorta special, if you take the time to choose a card for me and pay for it as well as send it.)

Even a heartfelt thank you with or without a sloppy kiss, takes no time and is not enough. It is the extra step of writing that says "I value your thoughtfulness, your friendship, your ________(fill in the blank)".

However, take heart! Us oldsters are dying off and you younger folk won't miss what you never knew.

But for heaven's sake. Go out on a limb for your mom!

MosBen said...

Oh man, I just tried to wade through the comments over at Dawn's and ended up making it halfway through before I just gave up. There were a couple reasonable people in there, but they were few...

MosBen said...

Good points about us youngsters and our technology Colleen. Indeed, I'm sure some day my kids or grandkids will be saying, "Man, why should I phone grandpa when a direct brain transfer is just as good?!"

Still, I completely see the value in written letters, even if I don't really send or receive any, but I do think phone calls beat greeting cards on the scale of thoughtfullness which I invented just now.