Dear Teachers, Let’s Talk About Mother’s Day

Dear teachers, let’s talk about Mother’s Day.

As a mother, I give you permission to forget about Mother’s Day. I sincerely do not expect a cute present that you stressed about creating with all your students. I do not expect you to use precious learning time and resources to create something for my children to give to me. Mother’s Day is a family event, I expect my family to honour me in the way they see fit (they know I love chocolate and eating out!). Why do teachers feel the pressure to provide their students with a gift for Mother’s Day? Is it an expectation that families have? Do families rely on gifts made at school? If schools did not provide gift that their students made would no mothers be honoured?

What got me thinking about all this, is the dreaded Mother’s Day Tea that has entered my life for the past 5 years. Not sure how it is where you live, but for some reason it has become a popular idea around here for classes, especially early learner classes. Teachers host an event during the school day and have children pamper their mothers with refreshments and “relaxation”. This time is used to show mothers how much they are loved and appreciated. It is a very sweet idea.

Being a working mom, I have missed Mother’s Day teas because I, of course, have to be at school. It has been heartbreaking to tell my children that their father would attend in my place and then being the only children who do not  have their mother in attendance. While everyone says it’s okay to send someone else important in my child’s life, it’s not the same. It’s difficult to deal with yet another reason to feel guilty that I am a working mom. I don’t think it was a coincidence that last year in our school district we had a teacher on call shortage on the Friday before Mother’s Day! This meant that there were so many teachers who called in sick or took leaves of absences that there weren’t enough teachers on call to take their place. Often administrators like me had to go into classes to provide coverage. You can imagine how that made me feel!

I do appreciate the thoughtfulness that teachers have to help their students celebrate the day, it’s all coming from a good place. However, instead of making gifts and hosting events, here is what you can do to mark the Mother’s Day occasion. Help support my children in learning that this world is filled with different types of mothers… that children have different types of relationships with their mothers… that some children do not have mothers, but have other people in their lives that be seen as their mother. Teach lessons that encourage children to grow up into inclusive adults, who do not take others for granted and appreciate all the people in their lives that support them and help them grow.

I do love all the cards and crafts I have received throughout the years, just as I love all the work my children bring home. I don’t need a gift or an event provided for me by my child’s teacher to show how much I am appreciated. I hope that my family can handle that on their own.