can I push back on my company’s Mother’s Day activities?

A reader writes:

I’m a woman who, like many, has experienced infertility and pregnancy loss. It’s made me sensitive to things like work baby showers, certain family-centric holidays, and pregnancy announcements in general.

While I realize I have to deal with, well, life and the world around me, I was pleased this year to receive emails from a few brands I follow, letting me know I could click on a button to opt out of their Mother’s Day promotions. I was touched by this, as it indicates to me that word is getting out about how Mother’s Day can be painful not only for those of us who want to have children and have not been successful, but also those who have lost their mothers or their children, or have difficult relationships with their mothers, children, or mother figures in their lives. In fact, I’ve discovered it’s a trend for companies to avoid talk of Mother’s Day if it’s not directly related to their products (florists, jewelers, and restaurants serving brunch could hardly be advised to avoid the topic).

However, the person in charge of my company’s social media sent out an email this week requesting employees respond with “what they REALLY want for Mother’s Day” as we gear up to “celebrate some of the most important people in the world.” Some of these suggestions will apparently be featured in posts on our social channels.

We are an agency that rarely deals with clients for whom speaking of Mother’s Day would ever be relevant. Is there a way to kindly suggest we avoid a topic that can be quite sensitive and irrelevant without coming across as a curmudgeon?

For reference, I’ve been here about a year, I’m not entry-level, and my company is working on a DEI initiative and seems to take feedback pretty well. The person who sent the email is also mid-level. Would it be appropriate to address it directly to them?

It’s awfully weird to treat Mother’s Day as some kind of public holiday instead of a celebration within the family. I realize that has become a losing battle, but workplaces should still be aware, as you point out, that many of their employees may be struggling with infertility or have recently miscarried or find the holiday painful for other reasons. Or, for that matter, might have zero interest in having kids and find it bizarre and uncomfortable to work somewhere that focuses on motherhood like this (or hell, who might have kids and still feel that way) … always, but even more so at this particular moment in time.

I’d also bet money that they’re not going to do something parallel for Father’s Day, and definitely won’t call fathers “some of the most important people in the world” … because there’s no male parallel for the whole sexist framing that motherhood is the greatest calling a woman can aspire to.

So yes, please do speak up, to both the person who sent the email and whoever runs your DEI work. Point out exactly what you did in your letter — that these initiatives feel out of place at work and can be painful to people struggling with infertility, etc. — and ask that they reconsider.

{ 484 comments… read them below }

  1. Eldritch Office Worker*

    “workplaces should still be aware, as you point out, that many of their employees may be struggling with infertility or have recently miscarried or find the holiday painful for other reasons.”

    Given that this is a social media issue I would also stress that this is also true for clients or potential clients. While the employee angle is also incredibly important, it might give what you’re saying more weight if you can point out the social media push may in fact be counterproductive.

    1. Valancy Snaith*

      Yes, this. All other things being equal, this will likely have more weight if presented in a “our clients will find this off-putting and weird” way rather than a “our employees might not appreciate this.”

      1. Rosemary*

        Which isn’t that sad, that how clients might react is more “important” than how employees might react :(

    2. Amber Rose*

      Seriously. Every email advertisement I get for some effing Mother’s Day thing feels like a spike in my chest and probably always will. Nothing chases me off faster.

      1. Grace Poole*

        Some companies have recently started sending out emails asking if you’d like to opt out of Mother’s Day promotions, which is a welcome change.

        1. Kate J*

          It’s well-meaning, but i’ve also heard from folks that it turns one day of needing to avoid their inbox and social media feeds into weeks of wondering when they’ll see a “Don’t like Mother’s Day? Opt Out!”—-it’s still the term on a subject line in your inbox.

    3. annonforthis*

      That’s a great point. You risk alienating some of your clients as well. I think that’s a great way to frame it. Honestly, this is such a sensitive issue for me, that I have instantly unsubscribed from emails or blocked an account just to not have that trigger a second longer.

      You can also point out that companies who have allowed for opting out of messaging have received positive feedback and praise for doing so, meaning that it’s an issue that resonates with the employees and consumers.

  2. starsaphire*

    Oh my goodness, thank you for taking this on.

    Mother’s Day is very painful for me and I really dislike having to deal with the constant spam in my email, on social media, and so on. If I had to face it at work too, I’d be curled up in a ball sobbing at least once a day.

    1. Anonymousaurus Rex*

      Yes, thank you so much to the LW and to Alison for speaking up on this. I’ve had a fraught relationship with Mother’s day for years, both as someone who has struggled with infertility and pregnancy loss, and as someone who strongly dislikes the sexist framework of motherhood as the highest feminine life achievement that Alison cites and squirm at mommy culture in general. There is literally no reason to bring this up at work. If you’re not in an industry that explicitly caters to moms on mother’s day, please leave this holiday to celebrate with your family, not your workplace.

      1. Anonymousaurus Rex*

        One exception–if you want to talk about paid family leave and gender pay equity around Mother’s day, I’m totally here for that.

        1. DataSci*

          I’m not.

          Paid family leave affects all parents, and tying it to Mother’s Day treats it as an issue only for moms, and usually only for birthing parents (and doubly assumes that all birthing parents are moms). I am still bitter nine years later about being offered two weeks’ paid leave, rather than ten, when we adopted our son because “he wasn’t your own child”. Paid family leave is necessary for all parents regardless of how their family was formed.

          And gender pay equity affects all women, not just mothers, and doesn’t need to get lumped into the day either.

          1. Anonymousaurus Rex*

            That’s horrible that there wasn’t equity in your leave from a birthing parent’s. I 100% agree that this is not at all just an issue for moms or birthing parents and all parents deserve equitable paid family leave–and that family leave shouldn’t be exclusive to welcoming a new child into the family! That said, the vast majority of birthing people are women (though of course NB and trans folks give birth too!), and family care (children and elders) does fall disproportionately on women and that does make it an issue that is linked to sex, and frequently motherhood. Women are disproportionately impacted (regardless of whether or not they are mothers themselves) and if there’s a possible good to come of acknowledgement of Mothers day (and Fathers day!) at work, it is in bringing attention to these disparities. Yes, it is an issue for tidscussion

            For context, I’m saying this as a cis woman, married to another cis woman (who does not want to identify as a mother when we have a child), and neither of us will get ANY paid family leave when we hopefully welcome a child to our family one day, regardless of how we add that kid (birth, adoption, etc).

            1. Anonymousaurus Rex*

              oops– editing fail.
              The end of that second paragraph should say:
              Yes, it should be an issue for discussion when there are opportunities to move the needle on this.

            2. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

              …”the vast majority of birthing people are women (though of course NB and trans folks give birth too!)”
              There are other exception: the person who is giving their infant up for adoption or who is carrying someone else’s child as a surrogate.

          2. Velawciraptor*


            When our department was developing its parental leave policy, I was asked to give it a once-over. I made sure that we didn’t just address adoptions equally, but that some thought was given to parents with a new foster placement. Those families need support too. All families need support, whatever they look like.

          3. Lady Pomona*

            WTH, DataSci? YOUR SON “wasn’t your own child”?! Of course he is, and he knows it too! And of course that memory still angers you! I hope that the joy of bringing up your son has softened a little of that anger, justified as it absolutely is. And I hope that this company has since learned better than to allow one of its representatives to blithely toss off such a tin-eared comment.

          4. Not today*

            I received no leave when I adopted my daughters; I had to use accrued vacation. I traveled for three weeks to adopt one and two weeks for the other, who was a grieving toddler desperately in need of some time with me.

    2. Beth*

      Good heavens, YES. I’m childless, my drug-addict stepson is estranged, my much-loved mother and mother-in-law are both dead, and there is NOTHING happy about the day for me kthxbai.

  3. Innie*

    What I really want for Mother’s Day is to stop talking about Mother’s Day at work. And a raise.

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      For real. Pay me and treat the same as a man. That’s all I want from corporate America. Mother’s Day platitudes when we’re still fighting for basic equality and body autonomy is not a great way to show you value women in the workplace.

    2. University Schlep*


      My university is all about EDI but doesn’t acknowledge that there aren’t really differences between Job A that makes 25% more than Job B, it’s just that Job A has historically been held by men and Job B has historically been held by women so the job descriptions have been written to intentionally suppress the pay level for Job B.

      Fix that for Mother’s day and hold the carnations.

    3. Dust Bunny*


      Thankfully, it’s completely irrelevant at my workplace (we’re not a florist or anything) and holidays around here are way low-key in general so it’s not an issue, but I’d love to have less . . . bombardment.

    4. Dancing Donkey*

      This. Don’t call me a superhero; allow flexible schedules, provide paid family leave, root out pay inequities, promote change at the legislative level, etc etc etc. It’s especially galling this year as women are watching our reproductive freedom and healthcare access implode before our eyes.

    5. Springtime*

      I’ve been seeing “What I really want for Mother’s Day” memes that are lists of things like free/subsidized childcare, removal of career penalties for motherhood, etc., so I’m wondering if that’s what the social media person was actually expecting to get in response.

      1. Green great dragon*

        I suspect not, but if everyone responded that way, that would be *fabulous*. So many options:
        Better maternity leave.
        Better paternity leave (which helps women and men).
        Address gender pay gaps
        Part time working options (for men and women)
        Career break options
        Enough PTO to cover your child’s inevitable illnesses.
        Gender-blind hiring, age blind hiring, and better recruitment practices
        Tackling assumptions about motherhood and careers.

        1. Lego Leia*

          I would add flex hours and WFH options, too. I can’t/shouldn’t bring a snotty kid into the office, but can get a solid day’s work in (even in not all in traditional work hours) when a kid is home sick. And being able to work 2 extra hours to make up for time at a parent/teacher conference instead of having to use up PTO is amazing.

      2. Mother's Day OP*

        They actually used an example that was a bit more frivolous, so I don’t think it was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek.

    6. ostentia*

      Right? I couldn’t possibly care less about getting a cute email from my work. What I want is more than the one week per *year* of service of paid maternity leave that my company currently offers.

    7. Quinalla*

      Seriously, Mother’s Day at work now? Super weird! I wish actual people I know that are mothers Happy Mother’s Day and am happy to be wished the same by people who actually know me. This is just really weird and sexist and extra tone-deaf right now with Roe vs. Wade, ugh.

  4. Ground Control*

    Oh geez. Considering my fraught relationship with my mother, my decision to be child-free, and everything that’s happening in the US right now politically, I’d be so tempted to answer with something that… would not be appropriate for work. But ask a question that’s not appropriate for work, get an answer that’s not appropriate for work?

    1. Trawna*

      You and me, both. I no longer work for a US-based firm, so I’m spared this inappropriate charade.

    2. Hypnotist Collector*

      Absolutely same. Just buying a mother’s day card makes me sad and mad, since I can’t sign on to the sentiments (are they getting mushier and more intense every year about sainted mommies?) but must acknowledge the day or pay the price. Also this week is hard for many women who are revisiting a time when maybe they did have a safe and legal abortion but it was a hard decision and a difficult time and maybe they’ve never fully processed that, especially if no children followed later in life. And frankly, I don’t even want the treacly emails about where I have to be the one to opt out of stupid endless transactional Mother’s Day promotions. Yeah, this is a hard week.

      1. Yep...*

        Yep — I went to 4 stores to find a card that was pleasant but bland instead of ‘you are amazing and perfect’!

        1. Princesss Sparklepony*

          I seriously think there could be a big business in a greeting card company that puts out somewhat neutral cards. I spend a lot of time looking for the right cards, especially for Mothers and Fathers Days. Not too sweet, not too cloying, acknowledging parent-ship but not worshipful. Every now and then I would see one that basically said – Well, you tried…. While I love my parents, they weren’t exactly parent of the year.

          As for making a big deal of Mothers or Fathers day at work, no thank you! For anyone who has lost a parent, the first M/F day that comes around is a stab in the heart even if you didn’t get along with them. It reminds you of what could have been but never could be and now never will be.

          When I have a friend who has lost a parent, I kind of try to warn them of this. You think it won’t be a big deal, but it can really knock you over.

  5. Mother's Day OP*

    OP here! Thank you, Alison, for answering my letter.

    I also agree that there are weirdly sexist implications around the holiday, which become even more apparent when you look into the history of Mother’s Day and discover the intent really IS to celebrate the height of femininity and womanly nature and all that.

    Also, I was actually born on Mother’s Day, so even before my fertility struggles, I’m had complicated feelings about it1

    1. Mother's Day OP*

      *I’ve had complicated feelings about it!

      Would be nice if I could type today.

    2. code red*

      I get the complicated feelings. While I wasn’t actually born on Mother’s Day, if my birthday falls on a Sunday (which it occasionally does), it’s on Mother’s Day.

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        My dad’s birthday is around Mother’s Day too, I always felt bad that a lot times his birthday was celebrated alongside an extended family mother’s day celebration. It was always acknowledged and celebrated so it wasn’t ignored (and we didn’t do extended family gatherings for birthdays, so in theory this was a bonus celebration alongside the immediate family celebration we did at home), but in hindsight it mustn’t have been super fun to almost always have family plans the weekend of his birthday, and these were plans with my mom’s side.

        This also ignores any complicated feelings he may have had about the holiday in general – his mom passed around when I was born and she got kind of a raw deal at the end of her life, so there were probably feelings there too.

        1. Merci Dee*

          My dad’s birthday falls on Mother’s Day this year. In this past when this happened, it wasn’t that big of a deal because we made a big deal out of both my mom and my dad to celebrate the day. But this is the first year his birthday has fallen on Mother’s Day since my mom passed away 2 years ago, so it’s basically a reminder that he’s growing even older, and is doing it without my mom beside him. Not exactly the reminder he wanted this year.

          1. There's No Name Here*

            My Dad died 10 years ago on Mother’s Day. Mum did try to joke that it was just typical of him, but really, it just made the day, which she already had issues with as a feminist, more fraught. Now that they are both gone, I will be spending it offline, and with friends who, like me, have no parents and no kids. We’re calling it “Sunday the 8th”.

            1. Ayla*

              One of my uncles, one I was particularly close to, ended his life on Mother’s Day a few years ago. It’s been a hard time for our family ever since.

      2. omiya*

        same… I wasn’t born on Mother’s Day, but my birthday is always on or around it. My mom and I usually do a combination Mother’s Day/birthday thing for me, but sometimes I just want my own day, damn it!

        (I think it would be worse if I had kids. Like, oh yay, the one day of the year that is supposed to be “my day” is now celebrating the fact that I’m a mother, not who I am as a person).

    3. DrRat*

      So weird and sexist. I don’t have kids, have never wanted kids, but because I am female, EVERY SINGLE YEAR since I hit puberty some random person decides to wish me “Happy Mother’s Day”. Do they wish every single guy “Happy Father’s Day” in June? I’m guessing not. And incidentally, I already got my first HMD ‘wish’ yesterday, so I will probably get more than one this year. Someday I am going to roll my eyes so far back into my head that I will actually see my frontal lobes.

      1. mli25*

        Same. I get wished a Happy Mother’s Day despite having no children and no interest in having them. I just say thank you and move on (especially with retail workers). I appreciate the kindness intended by the statement and suspect for many, they are pushed to say it.

        1. Lydia*

          Same here. It just occurred to me I might start responding with, “I’ll make sure to pass that along.” I understand the intent is to be kind, but the assumption is rude.

          1. Corporate Lawyer*

            Oh, I like that! As a child-free woman over 50 who will almost certainly be wished a Happy Mothers’ Day in the near future, I will use that sentence with a kind smile.

            1. Never Boring*

              As someone in the same boat, I feel like we need a thread full of snappy comebacks to this.

          2. Jane*

            I like that! I usually just say, “Oh, thank you, I’ll be having tea with my mother to celebrate her. Do you have plans?” Or “Oh, thank you for the reminder, I still have to get my mother a gift.” Or similar. Whatever my plans actually are.

        2. Rainy*

          Yeah, in a retail setting they’re probably being required to do it. Whatever ridiculous greeting, upsell, store card push etc your retail worker is giving you, it’s extremely unlikely that they’re doing it of their own volition. They may lose their job if someone complains that the retail worker didn’t wish them a happy mother’s day, or said happy holidays instead of merry xmas, etc.

        3. Killer Queen*

          Ugh as a childless woman NOT by choice and struggling with infertility, getting wished Happy Mother’s Day is painful. Let’s stick to saying it to our own moms and mother figures (if we want to).

      2. MEH Squared*

        Same as far as not having kids or wanting them (and being a female-shaped person). Because children are so far removed from my life and for now I’m genderqueer, I just stare if people wish me a Happy Mother’s Day because it’s so foreign to me. I wouldn’t be rude about it, but my brain wouldn’t know what to do with it.

      3. Antilles*

        Do they wish every single guy “Happy Father’s Day” in June? I’m guessing not.
        No. Mid-30’s male here and I have never once had a random person wish me Happy Father’s Day.

        1. Botanist*

          I kind of want to make it my mission now to wish random men Happy Father’s Day in June.

          1. WellRed*

            Ha! That might startle a few into taking more responsibility for birth control and reproductive rights.

            1. Miss Muffet*

              “Happy Father’s Day!”
              “But I’m not a father!”
              “Are you suuuuuure?” ;)

          2. Boof*

            I mean, don’t we want everyone to have a happy day; and if it happens to be fathers day, well…

        2. Selina Luna*

          My husband was wished a Happy Father’s Day by a random stranger once, but he was grocery shopping with our son at the time.

          I would never say it to someone I didn’t know personally, and I dislike that schools make kids do “mother’s day” or “father’s day” crafts (even though I love getting them from my 2-year-old).

          1. Rosemary*

            I wonder what they do if there is a child in the class who does not have a mother/father?

            1. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

              My father died when I was in fifth grade.
              US Father’s Day is usually not during the school year, but it can blindside you the first week of summer camp. It just sucks. You duck out the door and cry in the bathroom with your feet pulled up so no one knows you are there. And then there’s the father daughter dance in high school… never so grateful to have a much older brother as that night.

              1. C Baker*

                US Father’s Day is usually not during the school year

                If you live in a place where the school year ends in May it might not be, but it definitely is if you live somewhere it runs from Labor Day until the very last week of June. I’m not sure which is more common, but both calendars are widespread.

        3. talos*

          I have, but like…once or twice ever. It was weird but not pervasive so not that big a deal.

      4. Pickle Pizza*

        Lol yup! I get wished Happy Mother’s Day, Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, Happy St. Patrick’s Day…I celebrate none of the above (I do celebrate my mother on MD, but I am not a mother myself). People need to stop making assumptions and MYOB.

        1. IckyIck*

          And today I’ve gotten a lot of “May the 4th be with you”. I hate that franchise!

          1. Tin Cormorant*

            My sister’s birthday is on May 4th. She finds it extremely irritating.

          2. JustaTech*

            I like it better than the blatant cultural appropriation and lazy stereotyping of Americans celebrating Cinco de Mayo. (We’re having some kind of lunch thing for it today and I just hope there aren’t any decorations.)

            And, just while I was reading this thread our brand-new head of HR sent out a “Happy Mother’s Day to all our teammate who are mothers!”. *sigh* (Among other things, we work in men’s health, but dollars to donuts there won’t be a similar email next month for Father’s Day, which at least could be sort of relevant to our work.)

          3. Make it official*

            Dave Brubeck’s jazz classic “Take Five” is in 5/4 time, so a nice alternative to the Star Wars nonsense.

          4. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

            Ugh, yes. Facebook made me itchy on Wednesday. I don’t hate the franchise, but I don’t especially like it, either, and I resent that it’s supposedly this nerd litmus test when honestly, it’s about as mainstream as you can get at this point.

      5. Paris Geller*

        Yeah, I working in a public library, I always get happy mother’s day wishes from well-meaning patrons. Mother’s day is incredible difficult for me–I’m a thirty-year old woman who doesn’t have kids, isn’t sure if she wants them, and isn’t sure she can have them, and lost my own mother when I was 16. Mother’s day is a happy day for me, it’s just a stabbing reminder of never getting to know my own mother as an adult.

      6. allathian*

        Oh my, that’s just weird… I’m so sorry it’s happening to you.

        Reading these posts makes me really glad that I live in a culture where Mother’s Day is a day for celebrating mothers, grandmothers, and other maternal figures in your life, especially if you don’t have a mother or don’t have a good relationship with your mother. My employer doesn’t do anything for Mother’s Day, and I’m glad. I mean, as much as I love my lovely MIL, I would feel weird wishing her a happy Mother’s Day. That’s my husband’s responsibility. It would feel even weirder to get a Happy Mother’s Day from my manager…

        1. londonedit*

          Yeah, same. I’ve never heard of anyone wishing random women a happy Mother’s Day – Mother’s Day here isn’t a ‘holiday’, it’s just a day to do something nice for your own mother (if you have one and if you have that sort of relationship). It’s also tied to Easter in the UK so it isn’t a ‘Hallmark holiday’ in the same way as it is in the US. It would be five thousand shades of inappropriate and extremely out of step with culture if my employer started wishing people a happy Mother’s Day.

          1. Media Monkey*

            exactly that. unless you are out for lunch on actual mothers day, probably with a child! i lost my mum suddenly at the end of january so mothers day (in the UK it’s in March) was really difficult for me this year. was very glad i could opt out of lots of emails and work didn’t do anything. i had a difficult day as it was (being a mother so needing to let my daughter/ husband do something for me but no longer having a mother).

            1. Princesss Sparklepony*

              The first M/F day after losing a parent is the worst. I think it’s because you don’t think it’s going to hurt but it really really hurts. It’s get better a few years down the line. But that first year is awful. I’m not terribly sentimental, so I though I’d be fine. I wasn’t.

              Condolences on your mother’s passing.

    4. Dancing Donkey*

      Sending solidarity to you. I struggled with secondary infertility, and the due date of the pregnancy I miscarried was Mother’s Day. It’s fraught for so many people. Please do push back — I’m confident you’ll be helping out others at your company who may not have the seniority or emotional energy to do it for themselves.

  6. Anonym*

    Hi, I’m a person who will become a parent in the near future, and the ONLY acknowledgement I want from my employer is adequate and humane paid family leave and related benefits. If I worked for OP’s company and they didn’t have stellar leave and support policies, I’d take all the celebration of Mother’s Day as tone-deaf and hypocritical.

    Support your employees in real ways, and don’t fetishize parenthood and trample all over the varied and often emotionally intense experiences people have around the subject.

    1. Anonym*

      Nope, make that one important step further – work to root out bias and discrimination across all categories and in every element of the organization, and support real equity and inclusion. When you’ve done that, post all you want about it on social media.

    2. A Simple Narwhal*

      1000% to the tone-deaf and hypocritical. I remember a company I used to work for that would do a public display for mother’s day, but in reality didn’t offer any parental leave beyond FMLA, hassled pregnant employees, and found ways to punish them/limit their career opportunities before they left and when they came back. It really furthered my disgust for the place.

    3. MeepMeep02*

      Thank you. In a country where mothers don’t even get 4 weeks of guaranteed leave to bond with their newborn, how can any corporation say anything about Mother’s Day with a straight face?

      1. TRexx*

        Totally. I’m curious though for those who struggle with Mother’s Day for various reasons- are you also opposed by companies throwing baby showers or sending out well wishes to fellow coworkers who are pregnant or recently had a baby? Just trying to understand.

        1. irq*

          Depends on how it’s done. Give me the option not to be a part of it without asking why.

          I had colleagues who got pregnant, and I was happy to wish them well, donate to the pressie and sign the card. But I didn’t want to take part in any events or presentations.

          When colleagues on maternity leave came in with their babies unexpectedly and expected everyone (well every woman) to hold the baby.. just no. And yes, I just walked out of the office for a while – because who needs that!? It would have been much better if that hadn’t taken place in my office space so I could have quite politely got on with work while other people could have that great bonding experience!

        2. WindmillArms*

          Sending out well wishes is fine, assuming the company also does it for things like promotions, weddings, adoptions, and advanced degrees. As part of a culture of sharing milestones, it’s fine! Showers, though, are not a workplace activity.

  7. Maybe not*

    In my stillbirth support group this week we talked a lot about how hard Mother’s Day is, even when you have living kids. I’m sorry your workplace is doing this!

    1. drtheliz*

      If it were me I’d be real tempted to have a “sister” who is having these issues – it makes it clear why I know and care without being quite so acutely… exposed? Implicitly demanding sympathy? Without being so much anyway.

      I’d definitely point out that my “sister” could as well be a customer/client as an employee, too.

  8. Theothermadeline*

    I last worked at Churchill Downs, and every year the second most stressful working day of the year is Mother’s Day because it comes immediately after Derby. The amount of times I was wished “Happy Mother’s’ Day” at work while I was already stressed and busy just because I was a woman really grated on me. Especially as a woman who had just lost my mother. Again, losing battle, but fuck.

    1. kentucky*

      Is there a reason why the Derby is so close to Mother’s Day? I was going to go to Louisville with my mom because my brother lives there, but our usual $60 hotel room was $300. I guess it’s just that they both traditionally fall on that same weekend, but it seems like a lot, lol.

      1. Derby*

        Derby is always the first Saturday in May, I think there have only been two times in history it has not.

      2. Preakness Stakes*

        The question is, why is Mother’s Day so close to the Derby? The Derby began in 1875, and Mother’s Day became a nationally recognized day in 1914. ;)

  9. Falling Diphthong*

    I want to really echo the part about treating this as a celebration within the family. Unless you are my own parent, spouse, or child, this day isn’t remotely about my relationship with you and it’s weird to treat it as such. (Even weirder if you just figure that I seem to be female and over 40, so odds are I’m a mom and you’re driving forward on that assumption.)

    1. Hlao-roo*

      I was under the impression that it was originally intended as a celebration within the family, hence “Mother’s Day” (a day for Mother) instead of “Mothers’ Day” (a day for ALL mothers).

      1. Valancy Snaith*

        The opposite. It was initially intended as a day to focus on the way mothers had influenced and shaped the world, and the founder later became quite frustrated with the way the holiday was commercialized into mawkish sentiment.

      2. BubbleTea*

        In the UK it was a religious day, where domestic servants returned to their mother church for the day (it’s a Sunday in Lent called Mothering Sunday). The mother in question isn’t even human here! But it has become increasingly common for it to be treated the same as it sounds like the North American version is.

    2. Pennyworth*

      Seconding that is should be a family celebration. The first time someone outside my family wished me ‘Happy Mothers Day’ I replies without thinking ‘I’m not your mother.’

    3. Tori*

      The day was originally meant, and is still meant, to be about all of society recognizing mothers’ work and celebrating them. It was not originally and has never really been an internal family thing. It is fine if people want to push the holiday that way, or celebrate it that way themselves! But people celebrating mothers and motherhood in the community are not doing some weird new thing — it’s very true to the intent, history, and present of the holiday.

  10. TheSkrink*

    Mmmm, tell them what you really want for mothers day is significant maternity/paternity leave, flex schedules, robust health and PTO benefits…you know, things that materially benefit mothers.

      1. BusyBee*

        And perhaps add to that list health coverage that actually covers fertility and supportive care, because that is really expensive and rarely covered.

  11. Snarkus Aurelius*

    And there are some people who might not have a mom or have zero contact with their mothers or don’t have contact with their kids for supremely crappy reasons.

    Also it’s a FAMILY holiday. Why even bother going there at work?!

    All my grandparents were dead before I was born. I’ll never forget a teacher who said in front of the entire class that she straight up didn’t believe me because she’d never seen it herself. Then she threatened to call my parents and tell them what I said. I responded with, “Well my mom was there when her mom died, and my dad was there each time his parents died so…”

    That teacher never bothered to call my parents probably because she realized there’s no polite way to ask, “Snarkus says all her grandparents died before she was born and that you witnessed their passings. Is that true?”

    1. The Original K.*

      WTF? She didn’t believe it because she’d never seen it? Does she believe the food in the fridge disappears when you close the door? My God.

      1. Snarkus Aurelius*

        Heh I always said if she ever got picked for jury duty, defense attorneys would love her.

      2. Ali + Nino*

        Ha – this made me think of Homer Simpson closing his eyes while driving toward an intersection with a red light: “If I can’t see it, it’s not there!”

        But also, what on EARTH! I’m baffled by someone being so invested in debating your family’s history. Rude.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      Two of mine died before I was born and a third was pretty much incapacitated by poor health by then, too. Worse, one of mine died a week and a half before I was born: I was his only daughter’s first kid and he was super excited about meeting me. It’s not a personal loss, obviously, since I still didn’t know him but it’s a Thomas Hardy-grade little tragedy in its own right. She probably wouldn’t believe it, either, though.

    3. Harried HR*

      My Mum died when I was 4 and my Nan (Grandmother) died when I was 8. Throughout my school years I had to make whatever Art & Craft Mother’s Day project and told to give it to “someone”

      My first Mother’s Day as a parent was emotional to say the least !!!

      Now it’s the day after our youngest’s birthday so is pretty much skipped to the relief of everyone including me :-)

      1. Dahlia*

        Ahh, reminds me of the teacher who made me make Father’s Day presents and when I said I didn’t have a dad, ran through the gamut of “grandfather” and “uncle” all the way to “friendly male neighbour”.

        1. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

          Yup. Once at a teacher’s instigation for Father’s Day I sent a card to an uncle – really my aunt’s husband who I saw once a year at most – who I’m sure was like, ???????????

        2. There's No Name Here*

          Yeeaah, I was at school when (in spite of the growing prevalence of divorce) there was an attitude that having only one parent in the house was something to be at least a little ashamed of. Teachers would lower their voice, tell you to just make the craft project anyway and give it to someone else. As if they thought life was a play by Oscar Wilde!

          1. BongoFury*

            I would 100% support making Father’s/Mother’s day cards made out to Oscar Wilde. It would be much more fun!

      2. Snarkus Aurelius*

        Every year for Grandparents Day, an older student used to take me to the library because I couldn’t participate in the class activity. I was always the only one.

        It didn’t bother me at the time, but looking back, it was pretty messed up.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I didn’t even know Grandparents’ Day was a thing until I was like 40. My family just did Mother’s Day & Father’s Day.

          But it’s a family holiday, not a work one.

        2. Captain Swan*

          They used to do Grandparents Day at my daughter’s school some years. We have alot of families here that have grandparents in the local area. My daughter’s grandparents aren’t local. We taught her to tell anyone who asked that Grandma would stop by and visit the class the next time she was in town and sometimes Grandma did.

    4. MCMonkeyBean*

      Wow, that is such a weird thing to not believe!! And such an upsetting thing for a teacher to say to a child!

    5. allathian*

      Yeah, that teacher’s attitude’s really weird…

      Although I guess that it’s very rare in places where most people (cis women at any rate) marry in their late teens or early 20s and have done so for generations for a kid to be completely without any living grandparents or great-grandparents. It’s much more common in places where people tend to marry in their late 30s, and if they have any kids at all, have them in their late 30s or early 40s.

      Not having any grandparents live to the age of 50 would be odd, even if it does happen to some people. Not having any grandparents survive to 70 or 80 much less so.

      One of my coworkers once told me that everyone thought his family was weird because his father was 60 when he was born, and his grandfather was 60 when his father was born. He was born in the mid-60s, so his father was born in the early years of the 20th century, and his grandfather was born in the 1840s! My great-great-great-great-grandfather was born in the 1840s…

    6. Stinky Socks*

      Oooof! What a jerk!

      Mine had all died before I was born too, but thankfully I never got anything but sympathetic responses as a child. We ended up “adopting” a lovely older couple from Ireland whose grandchildren were all grown and loved away. They were adorable, and it was really nice to be have someone to bring to school for the day and write essays about.

    7. Little My*

      I have a close friend who lost her mother as a child, and Mother’s Day is obviously incredibly painful for her. Even if that is only one employee, that’s enough reason to stop bringing it up at work.

  12. Mother's Day OP*

    Also, infertility/pregnancy TW:

    My husband and I are now expecting via gestational surrogate (who is 12 weeks pregnant!) though I haven’t announced it at work. And given my disappointments over the last 8 or so years, I don’t know that I ever intend to really “celebrate” the holiday.

    1. Anonym*

      Congratulations! Wishing your family health, happiness, and a minimum of weirdness in your professional life! I hope whatever you decide to share with your org (if anything), they take it seriously and act on it.

      1. Mother's Day OP*

        Thanks so much. I suspect I’ll get 1 extra week of PTO – which is what they give other non-birthing parents – and FMLA. Which… sadly is better than many people have it here in the US.

    2. DieTrying*

      OMG, congratulations!!! I am crossing all digits on your behalf.

      My partner and I (after a long and miserable “fertility journey”) are beginning IVF with donor egg next month. Even if things go well, however, I can’t imagine ever being wild about this strange holiday: my relationship with my own mother is fraught (and not getting less so with age), and a big and wonderful mother figure in my life just passed away a few months ago.

      1. DieTrying*

        Oh, and, well … *gestures with fury and despondency into the general direction of SCOTUS et al*

    3. allathian*

      Congrats! I’m crossing my fingers for a trouble-free pregnancy for your surrogate.

  13. Purple Cat*

    because there’s no male parallel for the whole sexist framing that motherhood is the greatest calling a woman can aspire to.

    I really love the way Alison is able to precisely nail the issue. I would never have been able to verbalize my issues with Mother’s Day – but it’s absolutely this!

    1. Ann Onymous*

      This is why my male friends who are childless by choice are just accepted, but I’ve been told variants of the following over and over again by people who were barely acquaintances:
      – you’ll change your mind when you’re older
      – you’ll change you mind once you have kids (as though I don’t have a choice in the matter)
      – well some people aren’t able to have kids (I feel like this is akin to me responding to my peanut allergy by telling people who aren’t allergic that they should eat peanut butter even if they don’t like it)

      1. Mother's Day OP*

        Oh yeah, I’ve had people imply, or outright state, that people who have unwanted pregnancies should just choose adoption because there are people like me who haven’t been able to have kids. Which is a whole other level of horrific. I’m REALLY good with everyone being able to make their own reproductive choices. My brother and his wife are also child-free by choice.

        1. Ann Onymous*

          And when people imply that, they’re also failing to consider that being unable to have kids doesn’t automatically make someone interested in adopting.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            Or that adoption “cures” all the issues around an unexpected/unwanted pregnancy.

      2. Rainy*

        At our wedding, one of Mr Rainy’s cousins cornered him and asked if we were going to have kids right away (subtext: since I’m so old), and he said that we didn’t plan to have children. (Mr Rainy is too polite sometimes.) His cousin said “no one plans to have kids, they just happen” which, uh, no.

        I had a coworker, a few months before the wedding, ask me about kids and then correct my answer “we aren’t going to have kids” with “you mean you don’t *plan* to have children”, and I was like “uh, no, we won’t be having any kids”.

        1. pancakes*

          It is wild there are still people pretending to have never heard of birth control.

  14. CJ*

    I’ll admit: I was that jerk that, when I was asked what I planned to do with mom for Mother’s Day, said, “I dunno – dust her [cremation] urn, then go see a movie by myself?” Oddly, they didn’t ask the next year.

    I’m fond of being polite and removed at work, but sometimes the more invasive poking really does need a response in kind.

    1. Amber Rose*

      I do this to every pushy salesperson at the mall. I don’t want their crappy $200 moisturizers on a good day and trying to sell it to me on top of reminding me of the tragic loss of my mom does not make me feel like being a good and polite person.

    2. WellRed*

      Oh I did similar. The same week my dad died, work had implemented a sort of daily five minute gathering to share and shout out thx etc. I skipped it for the first several weeks and finally said to someone who commented “I’m grieving my father and not really up for a bunch of high fives.” Solved that!

    3. anne of mean gables*

      as someone who has dealt with infertility, I like to think of it as taking one for the team – the team being others in a similar boat who can’t say something, because of power dynamics, shyness, or because they’ll start sobbing. You’re just drawing attention to the foot they inserted into their own mouth, so that they maybe think twice about saying something insensitive to the next person.

  15. rosyglasses*

    I really like how one teacher that I follow on IG framed this as “celebrating the grown-ups who love us” for both mother’s day and father’s day – which can be fraught for children (and adults alike – her post was specific to her classroom). I love this way of considering these celebrations and if there is a continued push to have some sort of celebration, this may be a better way to articulate who is being celebrated.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I think this is brilliant and want it adopted universally, well, at least nationally in those countries that do this. Aside from the gender issue and the family role issue, it removes the whole contest nature and spectacle of it. As children grow, they can build on this tradition of celebrating adults and as they become adults, they can chose to acknowledge someone without the gender, the spectacle and the competition.
      (and the empty wishes of “happy day I for which I assume you should be recognized.”

    2. FridayFriyay*

      I love this. My son is a toddler in daycare and my wife and I are in full force dread about the awkwardness these gendered holidays are going to generate for us (a same sex couple in which one parent is nonbinary), the teachers, and probably eventually our son. No matter how many times we explain our family or provide resources about it we inevitably end up with an outcome somewhere between “wrong number of crafts for this holiday bc we think you’re both women” and “can’t understand anything except heterosexuality and all children have fathers so we’ve sent home a dad craft.” :/

    3. A Simple Narwhal*

      Oh this is a great idea! Not only may people have complicated feelings specifically about mother’s day, so many families don’t fit the one-mom-one-dad Norman Rockwall painting a lot of holidays revolve around. Between same sex parents, single parents, grandparents raising kids, other family members raising kids, etc, plenty of home situations look different, and this is a great way of being inclusive.

    4. Irish Teacher*

      I love that idea. I am a teacher and just ignore Mother’s day because…too much risk of somebody in my class having a mother who died, is abusive, in prison, kid being in foster care, etc. Or even just has two dads. But then, I teach secondary school, so it’s easier to do that. It also means I know less about my students’ personal lives than a primary school teacher would.

      1. Botanist*

        Not quite the same, but I’m reminded of how my mom died when my youngest brother was just starting his junior year of high school (on Labor day, so really the very beginning of the school year). One of my other sisters went to the office with him to get a release form signed so he could stay home for a week. The assistant principal saw them in the office with the release form and jovially asked, “where are you going, on a fun vacation?” then his face paled when he saw the form and he signed it promptly without another word.

    5. A nice fish*

      I teach primary so all the crafts/cards are expected and actively looked forward to by a lot of families (and kids tend to be really motivated to write cards, so it’s a genuinely helpful activity for some of my very reluctant early writers!), but I make sure I have a quiet word with each child’s parents/carers at our first parents’ evening in September each year to check I’m not going to step in any minefields during class, and who in the family occasion cards should go to, whether that’s making multiples or directing certain cards to certain other family members/friends. I have happily accepted “the dog” as an answer!

      1. Dahlia*

        Serious question, what do you do when the answer is “no one”? I didn’t really like making my mother Father’s Day crafts, and I didn’t have anyone else to give one to. Not adult friends, not other family members, no dog. What then?

        1. A nice fish*

          Hasn’t honestly come up yet, but I’d probably ask the child if they wanted to write their card as a thank you card to someone who helped them at school. Or even to their favourite fictional character. Or to themselves! Anyone they’d have fun addressing a writing exercise to. What I absolutely don’t want is to have it be a source of stress.

    6. Midwestern Scientist*

      YES! Not every family has a mom in the picture. It’s so much easier on everyone if these gendered/role specific holidays are reframed as celebrating whatever shape your family takes

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, hard agree on this one.

        One of my very close friends was a single mom. She wasn’t married when she had the kids, and the biological dad never acknowledged the kids as his. On the one hand, this upset her, but on the other it was a relief, because she was their only legal guardian. When the older kid was 7 and the younger 1, he skipped the country and went very low contact. He sent the kids a present for their birthdays and for Christmas, but that was about it. A few years later, he killed himself. My friend felt guilty because to her this was a huge relief, her older kid had just started to wonder why dad was never around. The kids know that he’s dead but not how it happened. The younger kid has no memory of his dad, and the older one’s memories are apparently fairly vague. My friend’s engaged to a great guy that the kids see as a father figure, so he gets their Father’s Day cards. But before she met him, they either customized the Father’s Day stuff for their mom, or just didn’t make anything.

    7. Imprudence*

      In the UK, where, as has been said, it is “mothering” Sunday, I use, “for all who have mothered us, and all we are called to mother”.

  16. Khatul Madame*

    I am a mother, but being “celebrated” at work as a mother would be weird and unwelcome.

    1. code red*

      This. If I want to celebrate this holiday (which I’d actually be completely fine ignoring in addition to Father’s Day and Grandparent’s Day), I’ll do it with my family.

      1. BeenThere*

        I do ignore these holidays and my family knows it. Called my mother last weekend and she finished with “now you’ll have to call me again next weekend for mothers day”. I call on birthdays and xmas, that’s it.

        I don’t know if she is thinking that just because I’m pregnant now that I’m into all the Hallmark holidays but I won’t be calling this weekend. I have too much baby stuff to get done.

    2. Critical Rolls*

      I once, when I was leaving an admin job where I’d been the only woman on a construction-type team of ten or so, had a male coworker tell me I would be a good mother. After a pause, my mouth said “Thanks” while my brain said “I wish you understood how poorly it reflects on you guys that you think you can confidently say that based on my working experience here.” Well-intentioned but wow, the cluelessness.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I think Miss Manners might agree that the most polite answer would be, “So would you!”

  17. Understood*

    I think there’s growing awareness about how fraught the day can be. My 8yo’s teachers reached out to tell parents they weren’t going to do the customary MD craft for kids this year. Instead, to be more respectful and inclusive, they’re going to do a craft project for International Family Day.

  18. Rayray*

    I agree this is just something companies should leave alone.

    I heard of a clothing brand called Talentless that in their text message marketing have customers the option to opt out of the text promotions for Mother’s Day. I think this is something other companies should follow their lead on. Let people participate if they’d like, but if they don’t want to, allow that as well.

    1. ThatGirl*

      I’ve gotten emails saying I can opt out for Mother’s and Father’s Day from Etsy and a few other companies/brands; I personally barely read my promotional emails but I do appreciate the effort.

      1. Mother's Day OP*

        The two companies I got emails from about opting out this year were Etsy and Yankee Candle.

        1. Bucky Barnes*

          Quite late here, but I got one from Jellycat (the stuffed animal company), which made me love them more. I don’t have kids. The stuffed animals are usually for me. :)

    2. Texan In Exile*

      I wish they’d take it a step further and have all promos be opt in. All of them.

      1. Lydia*

        I opted out of the marketing emails on a monthly subscription I get and stopped getting notifications about what was in the subscription or when it shipped. It seems the company has learned about the difference between, “I want to hear about what I’m actually paying for” and “I want to hear about everything you sell, every day, sometimes three times a day” because I’ve recently started getting the subscription notifications again.

  19. Kerr82*

    “I’d also bet money that they’re not going to do something parallel for Father’s Day, and definitely won’t call fathers “some of the most important people in the world”…”

    On that part, I disagree. Fathers ARE important and their contributions shouldn’t be ignored. For some fathers, the greatest impact they make on the world is the children they raise. I’m not one so I’m not seeking praise, but I definitely don’t want to see a continuing discounting of the importance of fathers.

    1. ThatGirl*

      Nobody is saying fathers aren’t important; Alison is saying that we as a society don’t put the same importance on Father’s Day.

        1. Anon all day*

          I think you may still be missing the point. In a workplace/in promotional emails, neither should get this level of importance. The current issue, though, is that motherhood in particular is seem as the ultimate position for women to achieve, which is why they get these “kudos”.

        2. Ginger Pet Lady*

          Yep. Which is *not in the office* and celebrated *at home with family*
          But way to miss the point of the comment.

        3. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

          I agree! So…can that level be “not very,” in a work context? Can we all just get the salary, PTO, medical leave and benefits that we all need and deserve, regardless of gender and family status?

        4. Pennyworth*

          I’m in favor of neither being celebrated in the workplace, unless procreation is a KPI.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I think the “no male parallel for the whole sexist framing that motherhood is the greatest calling a woman can aspire to” might have gone by you there.

      It’s not that fathers aren’t important, it’s that motherhood is something that has often been put forward as the best thing a woman can do – systemically undervaluing a woman’s contributions that are not family oriented, and taking a jab at women who can’t or don’t have children. It’s a very common microaggression and one that you won’t see directed at fathers.

      1. Kerr82*

        Yes, I saw that part of her response.

        Actually, a similar attitude is directed at childfree/childless men. The amount varies by community/culture (and definitely isn’t at the same level that’s directed at women), but childfree men don’t get a free pass.

        1. Jacob*

          “The amount varies by community/culture (and definitely isn’t at the same level that’s directed at women)”

          So you definitely DO understand the point Alison was making and are just being needlessly tedious.

    3. Anonym*

      I took that to mean that they would probably do what many do, and continue the sexism of discounting fathers, which would be a further bad outcome and sign of the general problems with their approach. I think you’re actually in agreement!

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I agree with you. This part of the reply is to indicate how problematic making mother’s day is because father’s day doesn’t get the same recognition. Women are othered as mothers, placed in a box labeled “women doing women things.” Men are not acknowledged for their parenting. Their contributions are overlooked by the same organizations lauding mothers. It’s wrong.
        Neither needs to be acknowledged in the workplace. Ignoring one half is making it worse.

        1. I’m here.*

          So we don’t pay enough attention to the contributions of fathers and should remedy this inequality immediately, you think? I’m so sorry men’s contributions are going unacknowledged – truly a shame.

          1. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

            Well…if we could stop acting like uninvolved dads are the norm, it would benefit women too. Setting the bar so low for men who are parents only reinforces that women are the “real” parents, the ones who matter, and the ones who have to do all the work and make all the sacrifices.

            (Did I yell at a random woman in Target once because I overheard her say to my husband, who was pushing the cart with the kids in it, “Dad’s babysitting today, huh?” Why yes I did!)

            1. omiya*

              I think it’s hard not to act like uninvolved dads are the norm when that’s the norm that I see. I truly do not know any fathers who are involved in their children’s lives to the extent that their mothers are.

              Any time I spend time with my friends with kids, I see the fathers being uninvolved. One pretends like he doesn’t know how to change diapers so he doesn’t have to (he’s an engineer). One travels for work (and has abundant free time while he’s traveling for work) and still expects his wife to do the majority of childcare when he’s home.

              I was with friends recently…. the wife was upstairs, trying to nurse the baby to sleep after cooking lunch for everyone. Did the husband clean the kitchen? Nope! He left it for her to do after putting the baby down.

              I used to babysit in grad school, and never–NOT ONCE–did a man tell me the kids’ routine while the mother was getting ready to go out. Every single one of them said “my wife will tell you what to feed them when she comes down.” Then the women would come down, usually with one or two young children hanging off of their bodies, to tell me what to feed the kids, what about bath time, what about bed time, etc. Never once was it a dad.

              I’m sure, in theory, there are fathers who take on equal childcare, but I literally do not see any of them with my own eyes.

              1. Charlotte Lucas*

                I’m a GenXer whose parents were equally involved. My dad loved being a parent (still does). But I do agree that my upbringing was not the norm for my generation. (Plenty of people my age received benign neglect from both parents.) I was just very, very lucky.

                But it definitely raised my expectations for parental involvement.

              2. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

                I can completely believe this. I know there are lots of really lousy dads out there (I’m sorry, this is my opinion and YMMV, but if you’re not doing basic childcare and/or household management, you’re a lousy dad in some major ways, no matter how fun and affectionate you may be).

                I’ll also say that I know a lot of families–including my family of origin and my nuclear family today–in which fathers pull their weight. My husband does at lesat 50% of the childcare (and used to do more, when I traveled for work when the kids were little), and so do a lot of the dads in our friend group. I’m aware that there are a lot of cultural and socio-economic factors at play, and clearly my experience isn’t universal.

                It’s important to highlight that there are a lot of dads who do contribute equally, because in my experience, the underperforming dads love to explain their lack of involvement as “just the way things are” because “that’s women’s work; men don’t change diapers.” It’s easier to push back on that when there’s another equally visible narrative out there–it’s perfectly normal for fathers to do that work. (Normal! Not something to be celebrated as going above and beyond–no one should expect a medal for changing the occasional diaper.)

                Can you tell I feel really strongly about this topic? :)

              3. Bagpuss*

                It’s uncommon, and it’s not helped by society – anything from people assuming that it will be mums who are on call for caring for sick kids, need to work part time around child care etc to the assumption that men are inherently helpless and ignorant about child care

                There are exceptions –

                Growing up, my dad was significantly (and unusually) involved – he probably still did less than my mum as his hours in paid work were longer, but during the hours they were both at home, he did as much, which included things like meal prep as well as direct child care. (for instance, as my mother is very much not a morning person, he was always the one who did breakfast, nd they used to take it in turns to do bedtimes and read us stories.

                Mind you, his own father died when he was fairly young, and my grandmother was in poor health during most of his childhood so I think he did, and learned how to do, a lot more around the house than most men./boys of his generation

                And my younger brother is now a very involved, hand-on dad – when their eldest was born, he switched to compressed hours so he can spend more time looking after his children – he and my sister have a complicated arrangement which involved both of them, one grandmother and a nursery but now that my SIL’s maternity leave has ended they are splitting the child care pretty evenly . I assume that this is at least in part because we grew up in a household where roles were not divided up long gendered lines.

          2. Critical Rolls*

            Uhhhh, normalizing men as central caregivers benefits everyone. Nobody is talking about standing ovations for a single diaper change, which is the type of thing that might deserve that level of snark.

              1. allathian*

                Well, it is. It’s only good for the men who fit into the mold, and possibly those women who are happy in a subservient role.

                A tomboyish girl gets far less hassle than a boy who likes things that society at large sees as “girlish”. Less strict gender roles benefit everyone.

          3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

            “I’m so sorry men’s contributions are going unacknowledged” please let me finish…in the workplace.
            Why is this coming up in the work place?
            I don’t need to have parents called out and lauded in the workplace for being parents.

    4. omiya*

      You entirely missed the point. No one is discounting fathers. The fact that fathers day isn’t as big of a deal is because men with children are still seen as full people with accomplishments aside from their children, whereas women with children are seen as mothers who couldn’t possibly be more than that.

      Also I think people would stop discounting the importance of fathers if more men stepped up and actually parented instead of leaving that to the women.

  20. Grilledcheeser*

    I was so very happy when three local chocolate companies offered mother’s day opt-out in the email newsletters. Huzzah!

    What surprised me was some of the vitriolic answers I got back, when i asked other companies if they would consider offering the same option for their newsletters. I was polite & professional, but oh man, the responses ranged from utter disbelief that someone would want this option, to a hard statement that no one can do that for any email list anywhere, and then some incendiary messages that melted my inbox! Whoo boy, it was as if I had demanded they hand over … well, their mothers!

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I’d share that on reviews. But mostly because it’s BS and your user name is dope.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      “Can we have a ‘what would my cats buy me for Mother’s Day’ option?”

      1. CatWoman*

        My own Mother once sent me a Mother’s Day card “from my cats”, and it honestly was the best thing ever

        1. Arabella Flynn*

          I did that to my mother one year. She was notorious for taking in any loose animals found in the neighborhood. The card had an adorable kitten on the front, and said, “Mom, tell me the truth…” And on the inside was, “…am I adopted?”

          My mother thought it was the best card ever. The three cats my parents had at the time tendered no opinión.

      2. ceiswyn*

        Mine would buy me a catering-size tub of butter.

        And then sit by the sofa looking hopeful.

    3. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      “a hard statement that no one can do that for any email list anywhere…”

      Oddly, I think one of the companies that did send me a “we know this can be a fraught holiday and you can opt out of our promotional material” message was Constant Contact…you know the popular email platform for businesses.

      1. Mother's Day OP*

        As someone who works with a lot of marketing automation, Constant Contact isn’t even that robust of a platform, but if they can create a list from an email button trigger, then ANY email system can. It just takes someone knowing how to work it. Once you click the opt-out button, your email address should go to a list that is then used as a suppression list when they send out Mother’s Day emails.

        1. Grilledcheeser*

          Yes, I snorted at that excuse for not giving an opt-out. That company allowed you to narrow your emails down to specific products! But … not specific days?!

        2. Grilledcheeser*

          Yes, I snorted at that excuse for not giving an opt-out. That company allowed you to narrow your emails down to specific products! But … not specific days?!

  21. By Golly*

    I’d be super tempted to band together with all of the other women in the organization to reply to the email with something like “free, safe access to quality family planning and a full spectrum of reproductive care” “the ability to make health decisions between just myself and my doctor” “meaningful family leave legislation” and variations on the theme. But Alison’s suggestion of speaking up is a good one.

    1. Nameless in Customer Service*

      Equal pay, too. That’s something the company can address directly.

    2. Tori*

      I think the odds of all the other women in the organization sharing those politics, depending on the size of the company, are slim. It would be odd where I work if a colleague asked me to sign onto a letter in the office that implied positions on divisive political issues (like abortion). It’s a humorous thought but just in case OP was going to take the suggestion seriously, I’d warn against it.

  22. Free Meerkats*

    Honestly, if I got this, my response would be, “What I want is for my mother to be alive again.”

    1. Anonym*

      That’s how I feel about Father’s Day. I don’t want to deal with those feelings at work.

    2. EmmaPoet*

      Same. I delete Mother’s Day promo emails and stay off FB on the day, but I have to go to work. I don’t need to be drowned in it there.

    3. Here we go again*

      Mother’s Day sucks if your mom died. I prefer to work on Mother’s Day. Try to forget it. And I work every sunday. So I’d have to take a day off to sit in an overcrowded restaurant for a couple hours for a dinner.
      But as a mom I’d love more PTO, and a more flexible schedule.

  23. Aeacus*

    At my work all women were given a gift, a small candle, yesterday and thursday (uneven shifts) and it just struck me as odd. Their reasoning is that all women have acted as a mother, be is as an aunt or friend or whatnot. I was ambivalent about it and just wasn’t going to pick up the gift (as I am still single female with no children (not even niblings yet), but it was foisted upon me as I was meeting with some coworkers about work. The group handing it out interrupted me and made me find and sign my name to check me off as receiving it. Definitely thinking about how to go to HR and tell them how awkward it was and how it could definitely go poorly. This is giving me some good talking points.

    1. Em*

      Yikes. In addition to just being weird and sexist, this also seems to me to like it actually undervalues motherhood. I mean, if “all women have acted as a mother”, then what does it even mean to be a mother? Now we’re really missing the point and just singling people out based on gender for no reason.

      Yet another reason to keep this kind of thing out of the workplace entirely.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        They’re just laying the groundwork when for when they announce that all women will have to take a shift looking after the CEO’s kids :P

    2. Industrial Tea Machine*

      So they were basically like “You’re a mother whether you choose to be or not! All women are mothers in SOME way amirite?”?? My reaction to that would be inappropriate for work, though not as inappropriate as THEIR actions. Good luck with going to HR, Aeacus. Acting like the Venn diagram of women and mothers is just a circle is some major BS and they need to have it called out.

      1. A Feast of Fools*

        “If you have, or have had, a uterus then your only value is as a vessel for other human beings to come into existence. You — your contributions, your work, your life, your relationships — are meaningless; you are just a means to an end.”

      2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        You have behaved in a way we deem appropriate for a woman therefore you receive a gift and highest praise, the title of “mother.”
        So that’s what my contributions here are? I do the same work as Bob and Jim, but I get a mother award. Why? Because you think my feelings will be hurt if I’m left out? Or you think I should be doing housekeeping/oversight at a parental level?

    3. Noxalas*

      I’m childfree, and had somebody pull “But you have cats!” once to explain why I still “qualified” for Mother’s Day.
      …They’d all passed away since I last saw the person (from old age, thankfully.)

      Just don’t, okay?

    4. Wisteria*

      “Their reasoning is that all women have acted as a mother, be is as an aunt or friend or whatnot.”

      No, no, no. I am definitely an auntie, and not a mom. All the nopes to that attitude.

    5. MsM*

      Uh, noooo. Nuh-uh. Absolutely not. I suspect what they really meant was “we don’t want to risk anyone feeling left out,” but big hard nope to that “of course all women are natural caregivers!” implication. I wouldn’t even call myself a cat mom, because I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to swear a blue streak at kids when they do things like throw up in your shoes. And friends? Really? I feel like if I started trying to parent my friends, I’d have far less friends, and I can’t really afford to lose the ones I have.

      Anyway. Pleeeease go to HR and let us know how it goes.

    6. Felis alwayshungryis*

      What?! I am a mother, but before that I’d had basically no contact with kids beyond polite smiling. Had I not had my daughter, I’d probably still be the same. I am not maternal to other people’s children – kind and respectful, yes, but my uterus existing in and of itself does not make me a mother figure.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I feel the same way.

        I love my son more than anyone else in the whole world, and I do care about the wellbeing of other people’s kids in a general way, but I certainly don’t have any maternal feeligs towards them.

    7. Agent Diane*

      This is so awful and you should totally give them it back and make them sign something to say they won’t do it to you again.

      At our work, the one thing we do corporately is include something in weekly staff news suggesting people consider fair trade flowers or chocolates “if” buying something for the day.

    8. Aeacus*

      Update: I sent an email to HR outlining my issue and other possible issues and they immediately changed it to pick up around lunch so that you could Opt-In. Obviously it was just oversight and over enthusiasm. I’m glad they were able to change before the next giveaway day (today). Thanks for the support on pushing back!

    9. Bagpuss*

      Yikes. I am glad that HR was receptive when you pushed back but …YIKES

      I am not a mother. and I have a lot of very complicated feelings about that which I absolutely do not want to have stirred up at work. I am an aunt, and I love my niblings, both those who are related to me by blood and those who are part of my chosen family, but I have not and do not act as a mother to any of them, or to any of my friends.
      (And I know of a lot of people who are parents and who would find it extremely offensive to suggest that aunts or other non-parent, could act as a mother to their children
      And my cats are not my children. They’re cats. And much as I love them I do not see them as either childnre or children substitutes

      1. They mean well, but*

        “And much as I love them I do not see them as either children or children substitutes”

        THANK YOU. I have a couple of well-meaning people in my life, but taking care of my pets is not the same thing as being a mom. Commenters, ymmv, but this is my opinion.

      2. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

        I vacillate on whether I’m going to lean into the dog mom thing or not. On the one hand, I have a very needy dog who was probably separated from his actual mother too early and consequently wants to lick and/or snuggle his humans basically all the time.* On the other hand, I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to call your children little [INSERT POO EMOJIS]…to their faces, at least.

        *seriously, we refer to my spouse as the dog’s emotional support animal

  24. It's complicated*

    Many of the people in my life have very close relationships with their mothers, or their mothers are dead and they would give anything to have them back again, and my heart aches for them. I never had that kind of relationship with my mother. Over the decades I’ve gotten some of my sanity back by putting a lot of distance between us and remembering that she really did try her best, but I can’t really relate to what many around me are going through. I send flowers and a card each year as a way to relieve my guilt over not being able to be physically present around my mom for long.

        1. Aarti*

          Oo me too sister. Solidarity. I had three “mothers” – my biological one, my adopted one (aunt) and the third aunt. They were all not great. Biological one was the worst. Two of them are dead and yes I too send a card and a gift to assauge my guilt at not being able to love the third as much as she wants.

  25. Twill*

    Upfront let me say this – even though I am a mother of 3 (now grown) kids – I have never been into the whole ‘Mother’s Day’ thing. In my family we call those ‘Hallmark Holidays’. I completely understand in some families it’s a big celebration and that’s great! Families should celebrate what they want and how they want. Families – not offices! And considering everything going on right now – parents struggling to find affordable, or any, childcare. The knowledge that not all people are, want to be, have, or are in contact with Mothers. Others overly invested in a woman’s uterus etc – it just seems kind of tone deaf of the company. And Alison is right, I would be willing to bet it would not even occur to them to do this for Father’s Day.

    1. mli25*

      My family feels this way too. We are “required” to acknowledge Mother and Father’s Day and that’s it. A card, a phone call, nothing crazy. It takes a LOT of pressure off. My mother-in-law, on the other hand…that woman turned Father’s Day into being about her (when my father-in-law is quite alive and involved with his kids)

    2. allathian*

      Yeah, it hasn’t been a big deal for me, either. I’m happy if my son makes a card for me. My mom gets a bunch of flowers, and sometimes we go for a visit and have coffee. My husband calls his mom, and we’ll usually visit her on the Saturday or the following week.

      (In my area, Covid is currently being treated just like the flu, we don’t go on visits or to the office if we have symptoms, but otherwise life has more or less returned to what it was before the pandemic, except that some people continue to wear masks indoors and more people are able to WFH or work a hybrid schedule.)

  26. Cheap Ass Rolls*

    I’m a mother and the only reason I want my company talking about motherhood is to offer fully paid parental leave for both parents after a child is born.

    I have so many friends who have struggled with infertility, or who have difficult or non-existent relationships with their own mothers, or lost their mothers, or who have no interest in becoming a parent. It’s not like these are rare things to consider. What a weird flex on your company’s part. Please do everyone a favor and raise this issue.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

      And unquestioned PTO for IVF.
      And a locked lactation room with a reasonably sized refrigerator…a room that does not get appropriated for the blood drive.

      1. Tori*

        Wouldn’t IVF appointments just be “medical appointments” for which someone could use medical leave? Even if a company was invasive and needed a doctor’s note, it would be easy for most clinics to write a basic note that says “Employee will have frequent appointments between X date and Y date, sometimes multiple days in a row for 1-2 hours. These appointments are time-sensitive and cannot be rescheduled for different days or times.”

  27. CTT*

    I’m curious to know what industry LW is in because this is such a weird amount of internal and external focus on Mother’s Day! I’d understand if it’s retail since that would make the social media posts advertising, but if I were a client of this company and saw they were going all out for MD on their social media, I’d find it off-putting, for all the reasons already mentioned and because it’s just confusing.

    1. Mother's Day OP*

      Marketing and advertising. So we try to “sell” ourselves, but… Mother’s Day has nothing to do with our services. I went through last year’s company LinkedIn posts and they didn’t post anything on Mother’s Day (which would be especially awkward on LinkedIn, I think), but haven’t checked other channels.

    2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Sounds to me like the Social Media person/team was looking for something to drape marketing onto.

      A clunky approach that is not going to go well.

  28. Lizzy Lou*

    As someone who sends emails like that (it’s a company culture thing which is what we put up on our Facebook page) I hope she tells them why this triggered her. People are not psychic. Unless you’ve had personal experience it’s unlikely you’d think asking someone what present they’d like to have would be problematic.

    I’ve also experienced miscarriages and infertility. I won’t say the pain of the day goes away but it does become less disruptive. I hope you find peace with it.

    1. Fieldpoppy*

      No, people are not psychic, but it’s not about anticipating one individual’s response — it’s about having a thoughtful look at what decisions you’re making as an organization about what to notice/honour etc. Asking critical questions like, “why ARE we recognizing mother’s day at work? what are we trying to accomplish by doing that? how, given our EDI lens, might that land for different people in this organization?” There is actually no reason to “celebrate mothers” at work unless your work is about parenting. None.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Yes, this. And people should NEVER be required to reveal their personal trauma to validate those concerns.

    2. Librarian of SHIELD*

      Honestly? My first thought at being asked “what do you want for Mother’s Day?” would be a working uterus that’s capable of carrying a pregnancy to term. And I know I’m not the only one, and I know *you* know I’m not the only one.

      We’re well past the point where people should understand that people have complicated feelings about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and throwing them around as fun conversation starters when you don’t know the backgrounds of the people you’re talking to is a recipe for disaster. Unless there is an actual workplace reason to bring it up, just don’t.

    3. metadata minion*

      If you’re in marketing, shouldn’t you be thinking about the experiences and lives of the people you’re marketing to, at least in terms of general themes? I’m almost never going to fault any individual person for not realizing something — experience and knowledge is very specific and you can end up with incredibly weird gaps — but the existence of infertility, death, and familial estrangement is not exactly a secret or rare thing. If your job involves thinking about people’s motivations and the idea that someone who recently lost their mother might not want to get a Happy Mothers’ Day message is totally foreign to you, I think you may be in the wrong job.

      Asking a bunch of people who you are not talking to in their role as mothers what they want for Mothers’ Day is just…odd.

    4. Midwestern Scientist*

      One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. That’s a lot of loss to pretend not to know about around a holiday that exacerbates that loss for a lot of people (not to mention people who have lost their mom, non-heteronormative families, etc, etc)

      1. Lysine*

        I mean, yes and no. Some of my friends have gone public about miscarriages, but I don’t think that’s universal by any means. Some people aren’t aware of how common it is because plenty of people choose not to discuss it. Or you may not have a social group where many people are even trying for a baby. I live in a major city and despite being in my 30s, until this year I only had one friend who has had a baby. I wasn’t really around people trying for baby or pregnant people at all to know what the miscarriage rate was and it’s not something my Dr just told me one day.

      2. allathian*

        Yeah, this. Most of them are chemical pregnancies that usually end before the person is even aware of the pregnancy. I suspect I had one because my period was almost a week late (I’ve never been clockwork regular, so I wouldn’t even notice a few days) and unusually heavy, and my boobs were unusually sore before the period started. But I don’t know for sure because I didn’t do a test. I’ve also had two first trimester miscarriages in my early 40s.

    5. PollyQ*

      Knowing that a specific employee would have a problem requires psychic abilities. Knowing that at least one employee within a company would have a problem simply requires common sense and compassion.

    6. fhqwhgads*

      No one needs to be psychic to realize:
      people exist who physically cannot become mothers despite wanting to
      people exist who have no desire whatsoever to be mothers
      people exist whose mothers are dead
      people exist whose mothers are/were abusive monsters
      people exist who’ve lost a child

      And that none of these things is especially uncommon, but especially combined adds up to a pretty large chunk of the population.

  29. CoveredinBees*

    Ooof, as a woman who has gone through infertility and pregnancy loss, I get what a gut punch these communications can be. I used to avoid social media for days before and after Mothers Day because it felt like everyone around me had kids or was pregnant.

    As a mother of two kids, I am deeeeply uncomfortable with it. Just, why? Why are they doing this? You mentioned that the company doesn’t have any tie in with Mothers Day. It’s so uncomfortable. At work, I don’t want my work identity defined in any way by my parental status. Does my schedule get influenced by my kids? Sure. I don’t it to be any bigger of a deal than someone whose schedule is influenced by going to LARPing events. I work in a lab, so neither parenthood nor LARPing are relevant to our work.

    1. CoveredinBees*

      This is all to say that, you are not an outlier in finding this weird and uncomfortable. I’d push back unless you feel like you’d suffer negative consequences. This is not to say that you should get any, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

  30. Pumpkin215*

    Ugh. This got a big eye roll from me. I’m so glad that I don’t work for this company because here are my responses “what they REALLY want for Mother’s Day” : To stop being viewed as a baby making machine when I am happily childfree by choice.

    “celebrate some of the most important people in the world.” : Do you mean my abuser? The woman that told me she wished she never had me, called me every name in the book, lied to me and tried to sabotage me at every turn?

    No thanks.

    1. Mother's Day OP*

      It’s a good company in general, I promise! Just a somewhat thoughtless request that was rectified!

  31. Zellie*

    My mother passed away shortly after Mother’s Day, so while Father’s day is kind of hard (he passed several years before my mother), Mother’s day, and all the ads and promotions that go with it, can bring on a myriad of emotions. I also had a difficult relationship at times with my parents, so on some level, these holidays have always been a mixed bag for me. Companies need to let this go.

  32. Cheap Ass Rolls>King's Hawaiian Rolls*

    It’s frustrating to me how hyped up mothers day has gotten over the past decade or so. I feel like when I was a kid in the 80s/90s, it was a Sunday where you saw your mother/grandmother and was done with it. A few years ago I worked for an education non-profit, and we had a mandatory training in the spring for students (high school aged). It was hard to schedule because of sports, prom, spring plays, graduations, etc. If I ever scheduled the training on the Saturday before mother’s day, people would totally freak. I remember people would say things like, “How could you schedule this on mother’s day weekend?!” When did this get a whole weekend? A few years ago I was so annoyed that I researched the origins and read that it was started by a woman who lost her mother to cancer. So that made me feel a bit better. But like any other well intentioned thing, it’s been high jacked by commercialism.

    On another note… my mom passed away a few years ago and it’s definitely a painful reminder. When I see the advertisements and other stuff, it’s like a jolt to the stomach. I try to focus on my grandmother, who is still here. But damn, you just get past the holidays and are enjoying spring… and then BAM… another painful reminder….

    1. Mother's Day OP*

      Yeah, about 10 years ago I wanted to go spend a Sunday afternoon at a brewery for my birthday. A lot of friends said they’d come, then realized it was Mother’s Day and were all, “Oh noooo I have to spend the whole day with my mom.” Which… sure, okay. But when I was a kid we’d just buy a plant and take it to my grandmother’s house where we would have dinner. I was also allowed to choose the ice cream cake from carvel as a weird birthday/mother’s day mash-up.

      1. Goldenrod*

        “I was also allowed to choose the ice cream cake from carvel as a weird birthday/mother’s day mash-up.”

        That’s amazing. I love that carvel ice cream cake. It’s the best.

      2. WellRed*

        I would have loved to hang with you on your MD birthday. I have a mom and trauma around the day but never understood the Hype.

    2. Critical Rolls*

      Disclaimer: Not condoning hypercommercialism! However, people have varying commitments around the holiday that can easily make their schedule crowded for the weekend. If there’s even two people you want to celebrate with that’s enough, or you’re driving a couple hours and staying overnight, or whatever. Lots of reasons other than frenetic consumerism.

      1. Tori*

        Yeah, I had a mom and three grandmas (two bio gmas and a step gma). That could add up to a lot of events! Also, I love my family and like spending time with them, and we have fun getting into a holiday theme. I don’t think we’re alone in that.

  33. squirreltooth*

    NPR did an article last year about opting out of Mother’s/Father’s Day promo emails. I wish ALL companies would follow suit, and for religious holidays too. A lot of people I know couldn’t care less about Christmas, for example.

  34. Gnome*

    I have kids. I love my kids. I took nearly a decade out of the workforce for my kids and only returned to support some of their needs financially…

    And if anyone at work give me more notice of Mother’s Day than I get for the 4th of July (i.e. a “Happy X Day!” Or similar) I will be Cheesed Off.

    Just sayin

  35. Dino*

    I always mute “Mother’s Day” on social media so I don’t have to see it. My mother was abusive and the last thing I want to do is think about that on an otherwise wonderful Sunday. I’d be pissed to have it show up at work (except in regard to the Mother’s Day Strike planned next week).

    1. omiya*

      This is how I feel about my father. Father’s Day isn’t as much of a big deal, so I’m somewhat spared, but still… It’s super awkward when someone asks what I’m doing for my dad on Father’s Day. “I actually haven’t spoken to him in 12 years, so nothing, actually.” People get reeeeeal flustered.

  36. In the minority…*

    I work for a large global organization whose CEO recognizes both Mother’s Day and Fathers Day with a Company-wide email. I think it’s thoughtful and in keeping with the spirit of “family first” that we strive for throughout our organization.
    I find it odd that a column that does so much to promote women’s rights in the workplace then bashes any company trying to recognize the same population who also might be mothers. It is not easy to be a working parent, but especially a working mother, and it’s great when companies can see that.

    1. squirreltooth*

      I don’t think there’s any “bashing” going on, and the LW implies their opinion might be different if their company had anything to do with mothers/motherhood.

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      It is great when companies acknowledge the people who celebrate specific holidays. And it is no surprise that they use holidays to build morale in their own companies. Winter Holiday parties, Summer holiday picnics are all great. Acknowledging that people are parents is great. Lauding women as mothers but not men as fathers is not great. Opting out of holiday activities instead of opting in is not great.

      Someone will see it as recognizing that women do more. Someone will see it as “othering” women, see it as judging and classifying women as mothers and should be mothers.

      Someone will see it as putting family first. Someone will see it as lip service to family first instead of providing time and money needed by parents to raise children.

    3. Ginger Pet Lady*

      A company wide email may make some women feel warm and fuzzy. It will hurt others. In a large global organization there are no doubt women who have dealt with infertility, infant loss, estranged relationships with their own mothers, etc etc.
      And it does absolutely NOTHING to *actually support women*
      It lumps all women into one category.
      It doesn’t provide child care.
      It doesn’t provide paid parental leave.
      It doesn’t place “family first” at all.
      It doesn’t do a damn thing.
      I don’t see any bashing. I see pointing out the problematic aspects of companies shoving lip service to mothers on a day that is painful for many people.

      1. In the minority…*

        Every single holiday, or day of recognition for someone, will be a trigger for someone else. Good lord do you know how painful veteran’s day is for millions of people yet that’s recognized by nearly every Company.

        1. metadata minion*

          Honestly, I find it even more offensive when companies use Veterans’ Day as an excuse to sell stuff and then give at best lip service to actually supporting veterans.

        2. Also the minority*

          THANK YOU. If you want to cancel everything that leaves someone with negative feelings then we will have nothing left in the world.

          1. Critical Rolls*

            It’s isn’t “cancelling” Mother’s Day to suggest that it should be celebrated on a personal level rather than have companies making ham-handed lip-service posts! And how do you measure what’s a reasonable amount of negative feelings? There is ample evidence in the comments here that motherhood is a complicated thing for LOTS of people for LOTS of reasons.

          2. Lydia*

            No one is talking about canceling Mother’s Day. They are talking about the following:
            1. Removing Mother’s Day from work because it has no business there.
            2. Companies that acknowledge how “important” mothers are don’t usually also support actual policies that will help all parents, let alone just mothers.
            3. That acknowledging the important of moms and Mother’s Day and not acknowledging the importance of dads and Father’s Day is inherently sexist. It’s biological essentialism and gross.
            4. Celebrate Mother’s Day all you want with your kids, your mom, whomever the hell you want to, but keep it in your family where it belongs.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              Agreed! There are lots of holidays that are great to celebrate in your personal life or if they have a bearing on your company, but that doesn’t mean they *all* are.

          3. Nameless in Customer Service*

            For the love of all the Greek orators there’s a difference between criticizing something and “cancelling” it.

        3. Critical Rolls*

          There are some major differences. Veterans’ Day acknowledges people who have done something specific, serve in the military; Mothers’ Day has been weirdly generalized until all women seem to be viewed as mothers on that day regardless of their actual status. Also, there is solemnity around Veterans’ Day, whereas Mothers’ Day is largely presented as a happy occasion with no care for the MANY reasons it can be fraught for people. (You seem to be under the impression that it’s a tiny minority of people who have complicated relationships with motherhood, but I suspect it’s actually a majority.) The only common thread is that’s is crummy for companies to do public observances and take no corresponding actions. It isn’t “bashing” to understand that a company-wide email is lip service, however well-intentioned, and doesn’t actually do any of the things that might be within a company’s power to improve the lives of their working mothers.

          Also, I wonder if you’re mixing up Veterans’ Day, which is for people who are serving or have served in the armed forces, and Memorial Day, which is for those who have died in the service.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I was wondering the same thing!

            I once had to stop someone from posting “Happy Memorial Day” on a website. Some of us grew up spending it at the cemetery, not at a barbecue.

        4. A Feast of Fools*

          If companies routinely paid veterans 75% of what they pay non-veterans and then “celebrated” veterans by buying them all flowers one day a year while sending out social media posts of the veterans lined up to receive the bouquets (lined up so they could sign a sheet saying they’d received the flowers), we might be close to a comparison of why companies celebrating Mother’s Day is considered gross and tone-deaf by a lot of people.

        5. The silent majority*

          Another thank you. It’s a nice little secular holiday and a warm cultural tradition. Not everything has to devolve into a political argument.

          If you’re not a mother, your mother is deceased, or you didn’t have a great relationship with your mother, maybe just stay off social media for that day? Frankly some of the foregoing apply to me and I wouldn’t dream of spoiling a nice moment for someone else.

          This is a bunch of people looking to be outraged for outrage’s sake.

          1. pancakes*

            To the extent it’s a “warm cultural tradition” it’s one that’s been primarily celebrated at home. In my house growing up and for a lot of friends, that was with a card and breakfast for mom, and/or a meal out with the grandmothers later in the day. It hasn’t been traditionally celebrated at work and all of us here who’ve been working for a number of years know that.

            You don’t seem to have a handle on what “outrage” looks like. People calmly saying they would rather their employers not make much of Mother’s Day isn’t it.

            1. Tori*

              The day was originally meant, and is still generally meant, to be about all of society recognizing mothers’ work and celebrating them. It was not originally and has never really been an internal family thing. It is fine if people want to push the holiday toward being more of a household thing, or celebrate it that way themselves! But people celebrating mothers and motherhood in the community are not doing some weird new thing — it’s very true to the intent, history, and present of the holiday.

          2. Jennifer Strange*

            How is it spoiling the moment for someone else if this company doesn’t post a social media piece about what their employees want for Mother’s Day? Do you depend on corporate tweets and Facebook posts to celebrate your mother?

          3. Media Monkey*

            i can stay off social media that day. i shouldn’t have to take a day off work to avoid it. the point is not that Mother’s day shouldn’t be a thing. it’s that it shouldn’t be a thing AT WORK. i don’t think that’s difficult to understand?

          4. Critical Rolls*

            There’s a lot of irony going on here. You’ve taken the actual content of the letter: My work is doing unnecessary stuff around Mother’s Day, which is a difficult day for many people, can I say something? And twisted it into a straw man of: *I* don’t like Mother’s Day want to BAN IT FOR EVERYONE FOREVER due to my OUTRAGE! LW isn’t slapping the mimosa out of anyone’s hand, she’s just (rightfully) asking if work is the right place for this. If anyone’s outraged for the sake of it, it’s you.

    4. Double A*

      If the email was, “In the spirit of Mothers Day, we are funding paid family leave for any caregiving needs our employees might need,” THEN I’d be all for it. Lip service about how great mothers are, after the last two years when so many mothers have been forced out of the workplace… because they’re mothers? As a mother, it makes me furious.

    5. Jennifer Strange*

      I’m a mother and I find the company’s actions extremely odd. Furthermore, it’s not actually doing anything to support working mothers (or women in general), it’s just capitalizing on the holiday in a bid to remain relevant and visible on social media.

    6. Amber Rose*

      Do they see it though? Do mothers get appropriate leave, flexibility with child care, equal pay, equal opportunities for raises and promotions, recognition of the work they do?

      Or do you look at lip service and a three second email and mistake that for being “families first?”

    7. allathian*

      Nah, providing good benefits for parents of any gender, regardless of whether they become parents through unaided pregnancy, IVF pregnancy, adoption, surrogacy, or any other means is a great way to support parenthood. A lip service for celebrating those employees who are assumed to be female, regardless of their ability or wish to become parents, simply because they are assumed to have children or be able to and want to have children in the future doesn’t belong in the workplace.

    8. pancakes*

      “It is not easy to be a working parent, but especially a working mother, and it’s great when companies can see that.”

      I don’t have kids but my sense has long been that working parents would prefer to be “seen” in ways that are meaningful (flexible schedules when needed, paid parental leave, etc.) rather than “seen” in an annual email paying lip service to the difficulty of being a working parent.

      In any case, this isn’t what “bashing” looks like.

  37. DEJ*

    One of the things about working in social media/content creation is that you’re constantly thinking about things like this for social posts, so I understand what the social person is thinking. But I do think that it’s worth using this as an educational moment to both him and his manager if you believe the feedback will be taken well how fraught that Mother’s Day can be for some.

  38. Isobel*

    Absolutely agree it’s inappropriate. Also, if you have international clients, it may not be Mother’s Day for them. The UK, Ireland and Nigeria have Mothering Sunday on the third Sunday in Lent (it was March 27th this year), other countries combine it with International Women’s Day.

    1. A nice fish*

      … I have somehow NEVER KNOWN how Mothering Sunday was calculated each year, thank you for sharing this!

    2. The silent majority*

      Did you gin up the outrage against Nigerians on March 27th this year?

      Why are companies in these countries allowed to mention Mothering Sunday, but we are not?

      1. Isobel*

        I don’t think it’s a good idea for companies to make a big deal out of Mothering Sunday either, and I appreciate those companies who let me opt out of their marketing messages about it.

      2. pancakes*

        Not one person here has said companies shouldn’t be “allowed” to circulate messaging on Mother’s Day. A lot of people are saying they don’t like receiving it, which isn’t at all the same thing as saying it should be formally banned. Why not make that important distinction?

  39. Mr. Shark*

    Sometimes this is a result of the DEI people not having enough to do, or doing performative work instead of substantial work. So they have to create these ideas to keep themselves occupied at their job, and thus make it miserable for those of us who don’t want to or can’t celebrate these special days, that as most have said, have nothing to do with work.

    1. Mother's Day OP*

      I brought up the DEI initiatives because I think it shows my company is open to listening to the lived experiences of others, including those of us who may struggle with this holiday.

  40. Jean*

    I’m a mother and I still find these sorts of obligatory “celebrations” weird, distasteful, and quite frankly disingenuous. “The most important people in the world” rings so hollow when it’s obviously just corporatist/ad focused lip service. If they really thought we were that important, we’d be getting adequate paid family leave, universal medical coverage, open access to reproductive health care, etcetera. I wish our workplaces would just give us a freaking break with all this performative hubbub when what we really want – ALL we really want – is to be treated fairly and paid what we’re worth. Seems most of them would rather do literally anything but that. And the fact that mothers day such a fraught concept, for all the reasons already named, makes it even more necessary just stop with all this.

  41. Rosamond Vincy*

    I have gotten a couple emails about opting out of Mother’s Day communications and “we realize how sensitive this can be,” etc. Which, great, but then why not just send nothing? Why does a yoga studio need to recognize Mother’s Day in an email blast? Will clients complain if they don’t?
    Then again I wish I could have opted out of Star Wars day emails. I like Star Wars, but geez louise..

    1. Lizard*

      For real! And I hear you on the Star Wars thing. What seems to have gone from a cute play on words has apparently become its own holiday? A pic in my Insta feed of a large Star Wars themed family event at the local art museum was pretty much my breaking point.

      1. Critical Rolls*

        People are allowed to enjoy things you aren’t interested in. “Breaking point” my foot.

      2. Lysine*

        Why does it matter to you so much that some people want to have fun on may 4th? I don’t do anything for the day, but I don’t understand why it would be awful or a “breaking point” if other people did.

    2. The silent majority*

      Because some people enjoy those communications. By all means, opt out if it doesn’t float your boat and I support companies that provide an opt out. But you don’t get to cancel the holiday for everyone.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        You seem to really be harping on the holiday being “cancelled”. Unless your celebration of Mother’s Day is absolutely dependent on eblasts and social media posts about it (in which case, I must wonder how you managed to celebrate it 15 years ago) then nothing about it is cancelled if companies don’t send an eblast about it.

    1. Mother's Day OP*

      My mother and I have had a conversation about it and she understands. My husband purchases and mails a card to her on my behalf.

    2. Jacob*

      Ranting about the entitlement of people experiencing fertility struggles is, like, cartoon villain-level shit. Good Lord.

    3. Texan In Exile*

      Nobody says you can’t celebrate your own mother. The point is that unless you are a company that makes diapers or formula or breast pumps, there’s probably no reason for you to talk about Mothers Day to your employees or your customers.

      1. IrishMN*

        This irritates me for another reason – I am childless my choice but ever since I was in high school and working in restaurants/retail, I have had random people wish me a happy mother’s day. Why in the world would anyone assume that a person who appears to have a uterus has used it to procreate? And it feeds into the idea that if you haven’t or don’t plan to, there is something weird or wrong about you. Nowadays I sometimes have people wish me a happy mother’s day as a “cat mom.” Which is kind of cute I guess, but certainly not the same thing. (And also I have never seen anyone do it to any guys, including my husband, on father’s day.)

    4. Ginger Pet Lady*

      And that is EXACTLY why Mothers Day should *only* be celebrated within families, not at work. You know, among people who (hopefully) know, understand and can sincerely celebrate those they love.
      It’s not my employer’s job.
      And not caring about the pain of others is how you think it should be? Wow.

    5. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I guess the point I’d make here is not that OP is being selfish and entitled, but that holidays (whether religious, secular or Hallmark) are all charged emotionally on some level or else they wouldn’t be holidays at all. Using that emotional charge in a workplace when said emotions may be across a wide spectrum for purposes which aren’t actually related to the holiday (like, say, a florist selling Mother’s Day flowers) can result in some problematic responses.

      I’m not “entitled” if I don’t want my feelings about motherhood dragged out into work. I’m just a person with boundaries.

    6. BethRA*

      Why is it all about YOU, though? If you want/are able to celebrate your mother or yourself, no one’s stopping you. Some of us just don’t want to be dragged along for the ride.

    7. squirreltooth*

      “Everyone is so selfish and entitled”

      Well well well, if it isn’t the pot calling the kettle black.

    8. miss chevious*

      The OP’s question was about how to handle a situation at HER WORK, and not at all about her OFFENSE at the holiday (she literally asked how to kindly raise the issue), so WHY are YOU so pressed about it?

      Further, a number of people in these comments have indicated that, in fact, the OP is not the only one who objects to this kind of thing in the workplace for a variety of reasons, so maybe that alternate perspective is worth listening to before you start accusing people of being “selfish and entitled.”

    9. Tippo*

      Wow. What a crass, ignorant, rude, pathetic thing to say.

      Imagine being this willing to show the whole internet how awful a human being you are!

    10. Dust Bunny*

      How about we just leave holidays out of the workplace as much as possible? And that’s from somebody who really likes holidays. But I don’t need them at work.

    11. Jean*

      There’s a big difference between being understandably sensitive to a fraught issue, and being “selfish and entitled.” Take this ignorant crap back to Facebook where it belongs.

    12. Lizard*

      I think this comment is a bit harsh. OP isn’t “banning” Mother’s Day or anything – she was just looking for a reality check/advice on pointing out that some employees and clients might be put off the company’s current social media campaign.

    13. Amber Rose*

      When you also take into account the people who have lost children for other reasons, who didn’t end up having any parents, or the ones with just a dad, the people with abusive mothers, the people with mothers they just weren’t close to, and all of us who have had mothers die tragically for one reason or another… I’d probably go as far as saying the people who AREN’T hurt by this kind of thing in some way are a minority.

      Even if that weren’t the case, if my choice is either causing a small number of people a lot of pain to cause a large number of people a sort of apathetic “thanks, I guess” feeling, or not causing any pain at all, I’m taking the second route. Because I’m not a horrendously awful human being.

    14. ArtK*

      The fact that every holiday is bound to offend someone is *exactly* why holiday celebrations should be kept out of the office. It’s neither selfish nor entitled to want your working environment to carry minimal stress and offense.

    15. metadata minion*

      I have a great relationship with my own mother and have experienced very little societal pressure to have kids myself. I would shrug, be vaguely irritated, and delete the email without much thought.

      And yet I also agree that this sort of message has no place in the office (unless maybe in the context of some sort of parental support group). Mainstream American culture has a deeply problematic relationship to the concept of motherhood that hurts many people. Bringing it into the office is at best weirdly irrelevant.

      This year, like the past couple of years, is also likely to be painful for even more people than usual given that a statistically higher number of people have lost their mothers recently,

    16. Pearl*

      I think “LeH” could have been more sensitive in the way they commented. However, I feel companies cannot reasonably be expected to anticipate the emotions of every employee and know what may possibly offend someone. We have been celebrating Mother’s Day for DECADES in schools, church, etc. This “My emotions can’t handle it so it needs to go away” backlash is relatively new. Like LeH said, EVERYTHING offends someone, even if it’s considered by most to be a nice, touching thing (celebrating mothers!). I’ve known people who have lost their mothers but still look at Mother’s Day as a time to remember and celebrate theirs, though they are gone. People just react differently to different things.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        The backlash may not be new.
        It may simply be more visible now because people are more comfortable with expressing how they really feel.

        Saying “EVERYTHING offends someone” implies that no one should make an effort avoid offending someone, and that’s pretty fucked up.

        1. Esmae*

          This. There have always been people who found Mother’s Day painful, there just hasn’t been a platform for them to say anything about it, or social support for them if they do. It’s also worth noting that while Mother’s Day has been celebrated in schools and churches for decades, the barrage of promotional emails is new. It’s a lot harder to avoid now!

      2. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

        Why is it a negative that people feel empowered enough to point out the collateral damage or simply say how they feel? If I were doing something well-intentioned that caused more harm than good, I’d want to know about it, and I’d want to do better. Women who’ve experienced infertility, miscarriage or stillbirth aren’t incredibly rare outliers, nor are people of any gender who have lost their moms or who have complicated relationships with them. There’s no business purpose to any of this, so what’s the problem with pointing out that, as you say, people react differently to different things?

      3. Eldritch Office Worker*

        “I feel companies cannot reasonably be expected to anticipate the emotions of every employee and know what may possibly offend someone.”

        No one is suggesting they should, that’s why OP would be providing the information and not coming from a place of moral outrage.

        But the backlash against “hallmark holidays” being celebrated in the public sphere isn’t terribly new. There are a lot of sexist aspects to the way Mother’s Day is acknowledged outside the family, and it can cause pain.

        Knowing those things, and being a marketer who is provided with information like “this could turn off clients” and “the trend is towards allowing people to opt out or not acknowledge the day at all”, it’s common sense to scale it back. Marketing and social media are not about “how we’ve been doing it for decades”, quite the opposite, it’s about being aware of changing landscapes.

        Also I’d push back on the idea that celebrating mothers is a nice, touching thing to “most” people. Parents and parenthood are a thing many people have very complicated relationships with. Just read the comment section. It might be innocuous to you, that’s great! Just because something doesn’t impact you doesn’t mean it’s not real or important though.

      4. Insert Clever Name Here*

        Just because we did something for decades doesn’t mean we should keep doing it. Mother’s Day was horrifying to my MIL after she delivered her first child – unexpectedly and tragically stillborn – in the 70s, it’s not like people have *just now* gotten upset about it. It’s that we are *just now* learning to recognize that the human experience is fraught and messy and complicated and that it is worthwhile to consider that maybe, just maybe, we should take that into consideration and be empathetic.

      5. Amber Rose*

        The idea that because something is old or a tradition it must be right is a huge fallacy. There’s a reason why things change, and it’s because we realize over time that the way we were doing them was not good.

        Fighting positive change because “we’ve always done it this way” is not a good look.

      6. Critical Rolls*

        Ironically, it seems like you and LeH are the ones whose “emotions can’t handle” any deviation from the status quo. It’s not overly sensitive to say, “Hey, this is a complex and difficult topic for a lot of people for various reasons. Since it’s not related to our industry, maybe we could not do this thing that will adversely affect some staff and clients.” It’s a straight logical fallacy to say someone is offended by everything, therefore nothing is actually offensive. And it’s stupendously dismissive to take all the various experiences commenters have been gracious enough to share and say, “I don’t share your feelings and am unwilling to see the value in taking them into consideration.”

      7. Tea*

        Funny story. I once conducted a meeting with two old white clients who complained to me about how “Everything offends someone these days! Back in the day, people didn’t care about these things so much – my son called one of his classmates a chink in elementary school, and the teacher didn’t care and everyone laughed it off and his parents didn’t mind either. That wouldn’t happen today. Kids these days, they’re just so sensitive.”*

        There’s a lot of ‘people are soooooo sensitive and easily offended these days.’ No. People were always offended, they just didn’t feel empowered to speak up about it until now.

        (*And yes, this came up because I’m East Asian. They thought they would be a cool and awesome story to tell me… because I’m east asian.)

        1. MEH Squared*

          I involuntarily flinched reading this (also East Asian). Yeah, we put up with it back in the day because we had to. I’m glad that not (as much) the case any longer. I’m sorry that person had the nerve to say that to you.

          1. Tea*

            Ugh, thank you. I had my face contorted into a rictus grin through the whole meeting (it was my job on the line so haha! I also couldn’t “get all offended” by it either! They probably thought I was also one of those ‘cool asians’ who didn’t think slurs were any big deal!!) Some people are privileged enough to never realize the degree to which people unlike them have had to ‘put up and shut up’ all their lives.

            1. MEH Squared*

              I feel your pain! Yeah, you can’t always tell them off no matter how much you dearly want to. And they probably thought you were one of those model minorities they had heard so much about, unaware that you were mentally placing Legos in front of their every step.

              *solidarity fist bump*

      8. A Feast of Fools*

        I think what literally everyone here (who is against company-sponsored Mother’s Day efforts) is saying is, “Yes, churches and other non-work places are exactly where stuff like this belongs. It doesn’t belong at a company who makes its money in ways that are wholly unrelated to motherhood.”

        I really, sincerely, do not want my company asking us to send our best / favorite Mother’s Day, Groundhog Day, Father’s Day, Siblings’ Day, Deep Dish Pizza Day, and Grandparents’ Day photos and memories for a splash in the company newsletter or a page on the company’s website. I don’t want any company I work for to single me or anyone else out for non-work aspects of our lives that are based on Hallmark Holidays.

        1. midwest pastor*

          Actually not churches at all! I am a pastor and have worked my butt off in every congregation I am at to dismantle mother’s day and father’s day celebrations in church because it is a day that evokes so much hurt for so many. I make it clear that it is not a liturgical holiday and while you should go celebrate if you want with your mom/kids/family after church, this is not the place to focus on it (I do this for all secular holidays, don’t get me started on refusing to mention 4th of July from the pulpit and secretly moving the flag out of the sanctuary because it never belongs there). I know so so many women and men who actively avoid church on the day because it is so painful, including a number of female pastors (myself included) who struggle with in fertilely or lost their moms, or have had miscarriages. I am taking this weekend off because I had miscarriage in March and can’t deal with having to listen people talk about it all day.

          1. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

            Thank you for getting that flag out of the sanctuary! That’s something I’ve always hated.

          2. pancakes*

            I’m sorry for your loss as well. Good on you for taking such a thoughtful approach to holidays! That is a really nice way to look after people who might be in pain. And yes too to getting the flag out of the pulpit.

          3. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

            First-year pastor in a little town on the red-state prairie here, and yeah. I would love to move the flag out of the sanctuary, but have decided that’s not a hill I am ready to die on just yet. Maybe once we’ve all gotten to know each other a little better…

            And I have no children, largely but not entirely by choice, and hoo boy, that is a whole entire thing for church ladies to wrap their minds around. So I’m really trying to figure out how I’m going to handle the Mother’s Day thing this Sunday. The prayers that come in our bulletin insert include a petition for mothers/people who nurture, as well as people dealing with infertility/crappy family lives, so maybe I’ll just keep that around as is.

            1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

              And I am sorry for your loss, and glad that you can take this Sunday off and tend to your own body and soul.

      9. SoThenISayish*

        Just because it wasn’t a problem we validated for decades, doesn’t mean it wasn’t problematic. No one is saying it needs to go away, and negative experiences and associations around this day aren’t new, so maybe it’s not that anyone can’t “handle it”, but perhaps maybe that they just shouldn’t have to, and we can do better.

        I’m a hetero CIS mom and I get along well with my mother, and I haven’t gone through some of the very real and very hard things OP and others bring up on this thread, and if my employer made some show of Mother’s day I’d cringe. Both because it’s very clearly a familial holiday, and because I know that just because it’s not a hard day FOR ME, it most likely is a hard day for many people (not just women) in my building. And also because it’s just very odd for an employer to put such a focus on the makeup of one’s family and the roles they take on outside of the workpace. So, no, I wouldn’t feel slighted if my employer (or church, or my kiddo’s school or etc.) didn’t acknowledge it.

        When it comes to marketing/social media, it’s even worse. So, not only are your platitudes non-personal and potentially fraught with other’s pain, you’re trying to convince the people that love me that they need to purchase a specific thing or perform certain acts to prove that I’m loved and valued and appreciated, and that, in fact, is not the message I want my kiddo or anyone else who loves me to internalize. The only thing I really want on mother’s day is to talk to my mom and spend time with my kiddo.

        I think you miss the point that big, non-personal statements like social media and email campaigns and broad employer announcements aren’t particularly meaningful or kind or touching- they’re self-serving or distant or cold or obligatory at best. But, also hurtful at worst.

    17. Irish Teacher*

      Surely, those who are mothers will be celebrated by their own children, right? The OP is not their child and therefore has no reason to celebrate them. And her relationship with her own mother and what they choose to do for Mother’s day is between them. I don’t think she is suggesting kids shouldn’t get gifts for their mothers because of her situation, just that her company, not knowing everybody’s situation, probably shouldn’t be pushing a holiday that is likely to make a LOT of people uncomfortable – people who are infertile, people who have lost a child, people who have recently lost a mother, people who grew up in foster care, people who are estranged from their mother or were abused or neglected by their mother…

      It doesn’t mean those who want to can’t celebrate it, but really Mother’s day is sort of a “between mother and child” or sometimes “between husband and wife,” if the child is too young to celebrate him or herself.

      Yes, anything can cause hurt to people (I’d use that term rather than “offend” because weirdly, “offend” seems to have been coopted, by those who think that they should never have to take care with what they say or do and seems to almost get weaponised or at least used as a way to evade responsibility by using the passive voice; they implied “you were offended by me/what I said” rather than “I offended you by what I said”) and it’s probably not possible to avoid ever hurting anybody, but this is something that it’s fairly easy to guess will likely be sensitive for SOMEBODY (infertility is quite common, miscarriages are EXTREMELY common, abuse and neglect happen more often than we’d like to think, fraught family relationships are common, heck, pretty most people will experience the death of their mother…and for all those people, there’s a good chance the day will be a difficult one or at least bring up emotions and memories). Given the high chance of it hurting somebody, I think it’s wise to proceed with caution.

    18. kupo!*

      I would love to be able to celebrate my mother, but she died in 2019 after a long battle with brain cancer which, over months of hospice care, took away her entire personality and ability to interact with the world.
      I would *love* to celebrate this day.
      Your anger at being asked to consider other people’s feelings suggest that someone is selfish and entitled here, and it’s not us.

      1. The silent majority*

        I am sorry for your loss.

        I respectfully submit that tweeting “happy mother’s day” or what not does not constitute forcing you to celebrate.

        My mother also died in 2019 and had mental illness challenges her whole life. These even ruined more than one Mother’s Day. So yes, it is bittersweet for some of us.

        But I would not dream of canceling the holiday for people for whom it brings joy. And the fact that it brings joy to them helps me. I don’t expect everyone to alter their behavior to accommodate me.

        1. Jennifer Strange*

          Who is talking about canceling the holiday? The OP is talking about keeping it out of work, considering it has no reason to be brought up there. Folks are still able to celebrate the holiday with their family. Also, this isn’t just a company tweeting “Happy Mother’s Day”, it’s a company asking folks – some of whom have suffered infertility and pregnancy issues – what they want for Mother’s Day just so they have content for a social media post.

          I respectfully submit that you should read the post more carefully before responding since you don’t seem to understand what the issue here is at all.

        2. Nameless in Customer Service*

          … can you please point to a comment where someone here said “we should cancel Mother’s Day in our society and no one should celebrate it” or equivalent? Saying “X shouldn’t happen at work” is not saying “X should never happen”. It’s just saying work is not the appropriate venue.

    19. Not Australian*

      You seem to be on the wrong blog; here, we try to understand and support each other.

  42. E*

    Might be a moot point since women are going to stike on Mothers Day over the Roe V Wade thing…

    1. Dahlia*

      Many people already don’t work Sundays. That doesn’t stop emails coming on Friday.

    2. pancakes*

      Men who don’t like the idea of being forced to have an unwanted child and doctors of all genders who want to be able to treat their patients without government interference will be protesting as well, E.

    3. Tori*

      Really? I’m in the US and I’ve heard nothing about this from my work, friends, social media, even the newspaper. Maybe it’s a regional thing?

  43. BlueWolf*

    Yeah it definitely seems odd to have this much focus on it in the workplace. Tangentially related, is it a thing to wish strangers happy Mother’s Day? Last year I was out for a walk on the holiday and someone wished me happy Mother’s Day. I was alone and I do not have children. I just said thanks because it’s not worth making a big deal over, but I just found it odd. I guess the person just assumed that my Mother’s day gift was being out of the house without children?

    1. LCH*

      haha, this happened to me last year too. i also was just like, thanks, you too (it was a guy).

  44. Elle Woods*

    I understand why the person in charge of social media is soliciting stories. User-generated content takes much less work and energy than having to create everything on your own.


    For all the reasons you’ve given plus your agency rarely dealing with clients for whom speaking of Mother’s Day would ever be relevant, I think you’re right to push back. It would be noise that does nothing to help tell the story of your agency and your work. Is the content really necessary or is it more of a “everyone else is doing it, we should too” kind of thing?

    1. missy*

      And even worse OP says that they are a marketing/advertising company. So low effort “here’s some random comments from Mothers on our staff” is really only going to make them look worse than doing nothing at all.

      This screams to me a company that has some sort of internal metrics for social media impressions and the department is just trying to meet those.

  45. Dona Florinda*

    Ugh, once I was shopping for myself and a salesperson kept suggesting Mother’s Day gifts to my mom, completely ignoring my attempts to disengage. Eventually I had enough and just blurted that my mom had recently passed away so no gifts this year (it was actually my first MD without her). The person didn’t even acknowledge they were being inconvenient, just proceeded to try and sell me stuff to my “grandmother, godmother, or other special women in your life”.

    I left without buying anything.

    1. allathian*

      What an insensitive jerk! I’m so sorry that happened to you.

      I’m normally willing to cut retail employees a lot of slack, but I hope that in a situation like this I would’ve kept my composure enough to complain to the manager. If the employees had been instructed to attempt to sell a Mother’s Day present even if the potential customer said they don’t have a mother to give such a present to, I’d be writing to corporate, leaving a scathing comment on Glassdoor etc. and telling all my friends about it.

  46. BethRA*

    I feel like we should all commit to responding to any such solicitation or promotion – from our own employers and from companies trying to sell us stuff – by asking if they provide any of the above.

  47. Double A*

    All the hype around Mother’s Day only serves to remind me how in America how under-supported Mothers (and parents… and most people) are. Companies opining about how wonderful mothers are without offering paid leave… Politicians talking about mothers while taking away rights, refusing to fund health care, not supporting childcare or education. It makes me furious. Like, do not wish me happy Mothers Day unless you’ve got action to back up that you actually care about families.

    1. Jean*

      THANK YOU. “Most important people in the world,” pff, please. Put up or shut up, and let us all do our work in peace.

      1. I Hate Holidays*

        Yep. Nonexistent childcare infrastructure, inadequate parental leave, and many other aspects of US society show that mothering is NOT valued, because the burden of these inadequacies falls mostly on women. It remains a solidly patriarchal culture and is actually getting worse.

  48. ijustworkhere*

    I really do not need my employer to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. Just focus on making our workplace as family friendly as possible–for all kinds of families.

  49. LCH*

    if i were to respond, i might just be really blunt and say what i really want is to have my mom back.

  50. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    It is interesting that Mother’s day in the UK has a different origin than the US.

    History of Mothering Sunday
    Mothering Sunday began with a religious purpose. Held on the fourth Sunday in Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, it was a originally a day to honour and give thanks to the Virgin Mary, also known as Mother Mary. Such celebrations required people to visit their ‘mother’ church – the main church or cathedral in a family’s area. It was believed to be essential for people to return to their home ‘mother’ church to make it a true family honoured occasion.,cathedral%20in%20a%20family's%20area.

    Which is different than the U.S. mothers day:
    The official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.'s%20Day%20holiday,mothers%20made%20for%20their%20children.

    1. ArtK*

      Interestingly, Jarvis became upset at the commercialization of Mother’s Day and led some boycotts over that.

    2. Usually a Lurker*

      And even earlier in the U.S. in the 1870s, Julia Ward Howe proposed a “Mother’s Day For Peace” focusing on mothers demanding an end to war. She wanted the day to be a day for action and to ensure that no mother would ever again lose a child to war.

    3. Not Australian*

      Thank you, I was hoping someone else had said this and I wouldn’t have to! This is also why the dates do not coincide.

  51. IrishMN*

    This irritates me for another reason – I am childless my choice but ever since I was in high school and working in restaurants/retail, I have had random people wish me a happy mother’s day. Why in the world would anyone assume that a person who appears to have a uterus has used it to procreate? And it feeds into the idea that if you haven’t or don’t plan to, there is something weird or wrong about you.

    Nowadays I sometimes have people wish me a happy mother’s day as a “cat mom.” Which is kind of cute I guess, but certainly not the same thing. (And also I have never seen anyone do it to any guys, including my husband, on father’s day.)

    I don’t have a problem if people want to celebrate their mom or spouse; in fact, I am celebrating my mom this weekend. But acting like everyone find it to be SUCH an important day is universally celebrated is tone-deaf and just weird.

    1. Three Cheers for Root Beers*

      Yes, this is so relatable! I’m childfree by choice and have 3 dogs and 1 cat, and people will wish me HMD in a way that is almost like consoling me, like “don’t worry, you’re a fur mom so you still count!” The intention is undoubtedly kind but it rubs me the wrong way because I’m nobody’s mother. MD is not FOR me, and I’m not sad about it!

      Like shaking hands or asking someone if they’re pregnant, this is one of those social notions that needs to be shelved ASAP.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Can I just say that “pet parent” and that ilk as terms make me cringe. Weirdly, I feel like it shows a lack of respect for animals as fully actualized beings.

        But I also hate the word “hubby,” so I think I might just be a grump.

        1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

          Ugh, “hubby” is a full-body cringe word for me too.

          And yeah, I do not want anyone to wish me a happy Mother’s Day on my dog’s behalf. Or that of my nieces and nephews–I love them, but I don’t get to see them that often, so at most I’m the weird aunt who drops in occasionally with presents. Not a Backup Mom Figure by any means.

  52. anonymous73*

    Definitely speak up! I lost my mom in 2009, and while time has made things a little less painful, Mother’s Day is like a knife to the heart every year and I just want to crawl into a cave for 24 hours and hide. We have a subscription to a local theater and a show on Mother’s Day and I’m dreading that they’ll acknowledge it in some way because I’ve been to ball games and similar in the past and they’ve given out flowers. There’s no reason for a company to make a big deal out of Mother’s Day unless you work for Hallmark.

  53. Mother's Day OP*

    I already have an update! The social media person actually requested feedback by 3:00 today. After Alison’s answer, I emailed her around 2:30 and just got a really positive response thanking me for this perspective. The social media person wants to use my concerns to open up a broader conversation with the rest of the social media team on how we as an agency address these sorts of holidays and observances. Total win! I don’t think I could have asked for a better outcome.

    1. I Hate Holidays*

      Good for you! I have a problem with a lot of these special days, so greater sensitivity to the issue is good.

  54. Kris*

    Alison, I agree overall with your advice on this subject – this wasn’t handled well internally and it should be handled with tenderness toward those involved.
    I do have a point of strong but respectful disagreement with this comment you made: “I’d also bet money that they’re not going to do something parallel for Father’s Day, and definitely won’t call fathers “some of the most important people in the world” … because there’s no male parallel for the whole sexist framing that motherhood is the greatest calling a woman can aspire to.”
    It is NOT sexist to suggest that mothers are some of the most important people in the world. It is just a fact that without a mother and a father, you would not be here to give great advice, and I would not be here to learn from it. Further, I resent the premise that the comment made by the company is creating or reinforcing an idea that “motherhood is the greatest calling a woman can aspire to”.
    Mothers and Fathers are some of the most important people in the world. Yes, some of us have strained relationships with that fact; I would be willing to bet that in some direction or another, all of us do. That doesn’t change their importance – in fact, the importance of mothers and fathers is what makes the subject of Mothers Day so painful for those for whom it is painful.

    1. metadata minion*

      Plenty of people grow up to be amazing people without a mother. Yes, everyone has two biological parents, but people are raised in a wide variety of different family structures.

      1. Kris*

        That’s very true. Some people’s mothers aren’t a part of their lives, for a variety of reasons; I find that sad, others may not. And you’re right on the point that said people often turn out to be amazing. I find the idea that the value-of-mothers comment by OP’s company was somehow sexist to be a really really far reach, to the point of silly.

        1. Jellyfish*

          It’s definitely sexist when my employer reduces me to “uterus-haver!” for a day. It’d be a problem if they reduced men to their reproductive capacities too, but that typically doesn’t happen. Men, including fathers, get to remain complex humans who are good at their jobs, have hobbies, and raise children. Women are moms.

          Of course parents are important, but leveraging social pressures and family choices for fun and profit definitely takes on sexist undertones even when the message is ostensibly positive.

        2. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

          It doesn’t feel silly to me, and I’m a mother. I really, really don’t appreciate my personal life being brought into the workplace, against my will, based solely on my gender. It is sexist to focus on women’s contribution to childrearing when we don’t focus on men’s contributions to the same extent. It hurts women, it hurts men, and the only silly thing here is claiming it’s not sexist.

    2. Sunny*

      The point is that men are not told that becoming a parent is their greatest life accomplishment, the biggest sacrifice they could have made, etc etc to the degree women are. Mother’s Day is vastly overhyped in comparison to Father’s Day and it’s not because people don’t think parents are important, it’s because generally in society people see a woman having kids as her living out “her true life purpose” or some other crap. Men are not seen in the same way. It is weird to have it over emphasized to such a degree, especially because many women (as you can see in the comments) are included regardless of whether or not they have or want children.

      1. Snuck*

        I feel like they miss the mark.

        The idea (I think!) is to say “You are incredibly amazing and valued and do more than your share often, and you carry so many things for all your little people, and as a wife who is also a mother I am overwhelmed by your generosity and love for us all”.

        But it gets cut down into a Hallmark “Mother’s Day wishes for you” and a child’s handprint on a random object with some poem downloaded from the internet about how much you don’t mind being smeared in snot and cleaning up lego (trust me, it’s a lie!). I like the idea of the celebration of the work of mother’s (who pick up the bulk of the fundamental family shift that happens), but not the cheap shot commercialisation.

    3. Esmae*

      It’s not sexist to say that mothers are important people. They are! It is sexist to say that being a mother is the most important thing a woman can do, or that women who are mothers are more important than women who aren’t. There’s an important difference there.

      1. le teacher*

        Exactly. Once you say that motherhood is “the most important job there is,” it implies that women who are not mothers are less than those who are. And that is a terrible feeling.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          Also, it means you can’t say the same about fathers. Unless you don’t really believe either statement.

    4. pancakes*

      “It is just a fact that without a mother and a father, you would not be here to give great advice, and I would not be here to learn from it.”

      Seriously? Why is it so important that you exist? Obviously nearly all of us who presently exist would rather continue existing than suddenly stop, but if we’d never existed at all it’s not as if we’d be lamenting that from a parallel universe. Either way, I think this is a weird sentiment to make a point of celebrating at work.

  55. cactus lady*

    I have SUCH mixed feelings about this as a female executive who has also experienced pregnancy loss. I certainly wouldn’t like my company sending out this kind of stuff, however at my level I have seen for so long women dealing with issues around being an executive and being a mom that men don’t experience. I do think that needs to be acknowledged and addressed (obviously not like this, but somehow).

  56. OrigCassandra*

    I am happy to report that my workplace did a great thing for Mother’s Day this year!

    … Namely, moving an all-staff-required-to-attend event to Not Mother’s Day.

  57. Sharpie*

    I don’t know whether you have international clients but it may also be worth pointing out that Mother’s Day isn’t on the sameday everywhere; those of us in the UK celebrated it backn March, for example.

    Which isn’t to say that you shouldn’t push back on this at all, if anything, it’s a family thing that should be acknowledged, or not, within each family, not something that companies should be trying to muscle in on.

  58. CaffeinatedPanda*

    My high school best friend lost her mom as a teenager. I went to her college graduation a few years later, which happened to be on mother’s day, and the student speaker proceeded to note the day and spend a significant section of her speech talking about her relationships with mom and her son. I was sitting next to her sister and the under her breath cursing was…memorable. It’s a painful topic for some and as such doesn’t need to intrude on what should be a celebration for all.

  59. dear liza dear liza*

    Misguided, tone-deaf, and insensitive, check. And Also…
    I’m seeing an increasing tension between those who want strong boundaries between work and life, and while wanting a humane approach, also prize professionalism; and a growing number of people who embrace the idea of identity economics, and think bringing anything but your “whole self” to work is disingenuous. Recognizing and celebrating personal roles (like motherhood) seems to be an attempt to appeal to the latter.

    There aren’t really two sides, of course, it’s more like a scale, which will make it even more challenging for workplaces to make employees feel valued *in the way employees want to be valued.*

    1. Zorra*

      I’m recently divorced- do you think my work would like me to bring my “whole self”?
      I have kids, and when I get asked what I’m doing for Mother’s Day I have to say: “Nothing, really. It’s my custody day and my kids are too young to feel like they should appreciate me, so I’m going to save everyone a lot of hassle and have a normal day. But thanks for pointing out that I don’t have anyone that appreciates my hard work. That definitely makes me feel better /s”

  60. Selina Luna*

    A couple of weeks ago, my school district had an “event” for Autism Awareness that involved a lot of information from Autism Speaks. If you know many people from the Autism community, you know that Autism Speaks is a toxic group that centers on “curing” Autism (which is not a disease) and on how terrible Autism is for the parents of autistic kids.

    I still wish I had pushed back more than I did (or more effectively than I did).

    Please speak up about this mother’s day thing. Businesses don’t need to celebrate it.

  61. __No Triggers Please__*

    I removed this whole thread as it became overly personal and off-topic. – Alison

  62. NotAMom*

    Last year, HR gave Mother’s Day cards to EVERY FEMALE IN THE PLANT, regardless of Motherhood status. This was the first time this had happened in my 8 years with this large company. I was shocked and angry, but luckily I was not alone. I sent an email describing all the ways it could be found offensive and some other constructive ways to celebrate Mother’s Day. The excuse was “everyone has someone – a dog, nieces and nephews, friend’s kids, etc.” I believe my company should recognize me for my work achievements, not my ability to produce life. I never did get an apology, but so far no cards this year!

    1. Snuck*


      I mean… It’d be a slap in the face if it was for “International Women’s Day” but… a generic for “Mother’s Day”? Do they buy flowers and chocolates for the lone male secretary in a sea of female secretaries on “Secretary Day” too? All those days need to go disappear!

      Did they do the same for the men for “Father’s Day”?

      I’m kind of speechless!

  63. I Hate Holidays*

    Is there any holiday or event that doesn’t trigger bad feelings in somebody? I am depressed the entire holiday season starting with Thanksgiving thru Christmas, because I have no family. Can I ask my employer to make no mention of it?

    That said OP, you are at liberty to provide feedback to your employer, and you have my sympathy. Hopefully, they will listen. Good luck.

    1. Amber Rose*

      The difference is, Thanksgiving and Christmas are not about family. Thanksgiving is about being thankful and Christmas is about either religious things or presents depending on your situation. Mother’s Day is ONLY about mothers, and literally can’t be about anything else.

    2. Amber Rose*

      Ack, darn my slip of the fingers. I meant to add that you absolutely can and should ask your employer not to bring up Christmas, since it’s a primarily religious holiday and religion has no place in the workplace (unless you work for a religious organization obvs.)

  64. kupo!*

    For the sake of not just yourself but for everyone who might run into your company’s social media– please do push back!
    I’m one of the many people for whom mother’s day is pretty sensitive, and if a company with no reason to be talking about it started posting, I’d be unfollowing and unsubscribing real quick.

  65. Bookworm*

    Oof. No advice OP, just sending you some sympathy for dealing with this. Do hope your organization takes your feedback seriously. Good luck.

  66. SofiaDeo*

    With all the uproar in the US surrounding the upcoming possibility of forced motherhood, or death from backstreet abortions, I would think staying away from Mother’s Day propaganda i any way, shape, or form is wise for companies. Just reading your post immediately made me wonder if there is a political, or religious agenda. So for these as well as all the other reasons others have posted, I would point this out to your social media person. And hope they take the advice. Why would a company “celebrate” what is now in the US essentially a marketing campaign?

  67. Carcarjabar*

    What we really want is the same pay, career progression and bodily autonomy that our male peers (fathers or otherwise) enjoy.

  68. not a fan*

    With the impending deletion of women’s bodily autonomy, reminders of my status as empty vessel and broodmare masked as a holiday, makes me apoplectic.

  69. Suzanne Brown*

    I find it awkward at best when I’m asked about mother’s day plans having lost my daughter to cancer when she was young. My mother has also passed and I’d just rather not get into all this at work. I’m ok with hearing what other folks say but I fully get why it’s better to avoid this in a work arena where you don’t know what other folks’ situations may be.

  70. Rachael*

    I only ask close friends about their mothers/fathers because I have a delicate relationship with my mom so I know how awkward it can be. For me, the question: “What did you get for your mom” is always met with hesitation from me because my mom isn’t satisfied with anything unless you spend significant money on her and I’ll never meet her expectations, lol. So, please everyone. Stop asking people unless you know for certain that they have something pleasant to say about their “weekend”.

  71. WednesdayBlues*

    The older I become (soon to be 64), the more I miss my mother who passed when she was 42. It is so difficult to believe that I lived (so far) 22 years longer than she had. I was in a social gathering at work and inevitably the conversation turned to children. A co-worker turned to me and said that I wouldn’t understand because I’m not a mother. True, but I once had a mother, so may be I have some understanding after all. Mother’s Day is just getting harder to cope with.

  72. Arabella Flynn*

    My father’s workplace used to schedule the annual company picnic on Mother’s Day. They never explicitly said that, but it happened every year. We were in the southwest where early May is outdoor weather, so they booked a local water park. The whole family was welcome, but if one parent wanted to stay home alone while someone else took the kids – well, it’s a water park, the kids are supposed run amok and come home sunburnt and full of ice cream. Everyone wins!

    (Fun fact: It was the same place where they filmed the water park scenes in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I also remember going to the mall they used, and of my friends went to the high school that provided the exteriors for San Dimas High.)

    1. JustTooMuch*

      Wow, that’s a terrible idea on the part of the company! Can you imagine if one of their employees was dealing with infertility and yet expected to spend mother’s day at a work event surrounded by mothers and their children? I would have found the highest water slide and flung myself off it.

  73. LMB*

    My company is doing the same thing! I’m a mother now but I did IVF for years and one of the things I hated most was that I was putting myself through hell and doing everything I could to be one of these “most important people” and I would never get any recognition of it. I was too busy today to think much of the request for Mother’s Day content but now I think I should say something.

  74. No Mother's Day*

    used to work in a customer-facing job where I spent a lot of time with each customer individually and in private and, in the course of making small talk, often my customers would ask me “What are you doing for Mother’s Day?” My much loved mother died of cancer when I was 11. What I wanted to say was “well, she’s been dead for 25 years, so fucking nothing, but thanks for the reminder” but what I usually said was “oh my Dad lives interstate so I’ll probably just ring and say hi”. Like – I didn’t want to make someone feel bad just for making what they considered to be innocent small talk, but I wish people would think before they open their mouths.

    My spouse’s mother is also dead, and a good friend of mine lost her mother some years ago too. The three of us usually get together to drink wine and eat snacks, we call it “No-Mother’s Day” and it’s quite cathartic.

    This year on Mother’s Day I am going to the football with my spouse and Uncle and I’m quite looking forward to it. I just wish the whole Mother’s Day thing would go away. Father’s Day can go too. My Dad’s the greatest man alive (in my opinion) but he doesn’t need a special day to celebrate that. He already has a birthday!

    1. Sanskritchers*

      Something to consider: they didn’t assume you were a mother yourself, and they didn’t assume your mother was living. They were asking in the most polite way possible so as not to avoid acknowledging the holiday to you, if it was relevant.

  75. Anonfornow*

    I’m a soon-to-be stepmom with no bio kids of my own. I just spent the last 4 years mothering my own mom as she progressed through the end stages of alzheimers disease. I have never felt more invisible than I do this year, because here I am playing a mother-adjacent role in so many areas of my life, but because I’ve never given birth, society seems to think I am less valuable to the world. Please speak up – avoiding the greeting cards is hard enough; I don’t need random companies reminding me of all this too

    1. Nameless in Customer Service*

      BTW, thank you for what you have done and are doing. From a random Internetter, but I can see you are making a major difference in several people’s lives.

  76. Claire*

    I think it will depend on how your organization handles holidays in general. I’ve worked for a university where many, many holidays were acknowledged with everything from inclusion on the monthly calendar reminders (particularly helpful for religious or cultural holidays that might affect class assignments) all the way up to university sponsored events. Skipping Mother’s Day (or pushing back on something like social media posts) would be very out of step with how that workplace approached holidays. However, I’ve also worked in state government where holidays were never celebrated at work and barely mentioned officially beyond reminders about days we were closed for state holidays. Obviously that’s an extreme but in a workplace that didn’t have a habit of holiday acknowledgments I think pushing back would go further.

  77. lilac*

    Given the current situation regarding reproductive rights, I feel like corporate/company Mother’s Day this year is also not a territory people should be venturing into.

    1. Snuck*

      Oh yeah. Agreed. Frankly the number of people who might be forced into mother hood in the years to come in America is not cause to go all conservative middle class Mother’s Day now!

  78. Lizzie*

    I’m just hoping that one day businesses will stop targeting people for promos for their kids. I get emails once a week about a “debit card for kids” from my bank. I’ve learned to ignore and delete them, but as someone who has spent years reconciling the fact I won’t be having kids and getting to a place of being sort of okay about it, it really sucked when those started showing up. I’m sure it’s based on my demographics (female, mid 30s, just bought a house) or something (I’m also single, so that should be a clue), but I even went so far as to complain about how shitty it felt to get those emails and not be able to turn them off, and no dice. It’s been long enough that I’m numb to them, but it sucks they don’t have any way to say “I don’t want promos about kids” for any of the myriad reasons I might not want them.

    1. allathian*

      Ugh, I’m so sorry.

      If my bank started sending weekly emails about anything, I’d be changing banks pretty soon (we’ll be celebrating mortgage payoff next month). Luckily my bank seems to have stopped sending emails altogether, mainly because it’s so easy to make phishing emails to fake bank sites that it’s simply no longer used for customer communications.

  79. Snuck*

    Where to start?

    “For my work and family life to have enough separation that I don’t have to celebrate family holidays in the office!”

    “For a chance to become a mother – something that has eluded me for years, and it’s not for lack of effort!”

    “For more people than you release Mother’s Day is fraught, those without children, with complex relationships with their mother’s, who have recently lost a maternal figure and so on – trivialising our relationships as Mothers or children purely for some social media photos and quotes seems ingenious and downright cheap. Maybe we should instead look to something else for the social media challenge? What about looking at “mothers who were not mothers” and celebrate some foster parents, sisters (religious) who ran charity based homes for children at risk and so on if we must focus on this date in the calendar?”

  80. mischief managing*

    “because there’s no male parallel for the whole sexist framing that motherhood is the greatest calling a woman can aspire to.”

    When you said this, I was like YES. Exactly.

  81. ZebraNeighbor*

    I had a lovely young coworker who brought cupcakes to every mom on Mother’s Day and to every dad on Father’s Day. Several of the women in my office were not planning on being moms (lesbian, trans, non-binary, infertile, or just didn’t want kids) so it was awkward. The cupcakes always tasted like toothpaste, so honestly it was kind of awful all around.

  82. Quickbeam*

    OP, thanks for bringing this up! I lost my mother at 13 (and my father at 15). Mother’s Day is just a heart ache for me. I do not have children. As a nurse I was always expected to work that Sunday so everyone else could be off. Every year.

    In my life I send cards to mothers who helped me along the way or my friends who have adult disabled children who rely upon them 24/7. I feel like they get ignored. But I always hated having to make it “a thing” at work.

  83. Not really a Waitress*

    I feel this in my bones this week. I have 3 college aged children whom I adore. But I am technically an “orphan” My Dad died 7 years ago, Mom 3 years ago. My relationship with Mom was challenging, but I ended up being her care giver the last year of her life. I have a lot of unprocessed emotion on this (despite therapy) processing the death of my actual mom, as well as the death of the hope that we might have a good solid relationship. At work yesterday, a counterpart from another site was visiting, and she was all excited because “employee engagement” was asking us to submit photos of our moms, and tell stories. It just hit me… hard. I guess they are taking this approach because not everyone is a mom, but everyone should have a mom. But its not always as simple as that.

  84. Alyssa*

    As someone who also struggled with fertility and spent years going through medical treatments, I feel your pain. Even though I was able to get pregnant, mother’s day is still difficult for me and a lot of people don’t understand that.

    Thank you for taking this on with your company. I think most people just don’t understand those those types of pains unless they’ve been through it, so hopefully they will be receptive to what you have to say.

  85. dedicated1776*

    Argh, WHY do companies go so hard on Mother’s Day? I’m a married woman in my late 30s, so that means this weekend I’m going to get a bunch of random store clerks wishing me happy mother’s day. Guess what! I ain’t go no kids!!! It’s just silly. (And this is coming from someone who has a good relationship with her mother!)

  86. Mama Sarah*

    We have a local road race on Mother’s Day – it’s an all women’s run through some farm country. There’s flowers, ribbons, and coffee (!) at the finish line. Last year, when the event was cancelled for the second year in a row, I fell into a funk. I realized how important the race is to me….you show up, see your friends, have a nice run and call it good. Mother’s “day” is done in an hour or so, no fanfare or drama.

  87. BethDH*

    I’m a mother, I have a good relationship with my mother and no complicated feelings about the holiday, and I absolutely do not want my workplace talking about it.

    It feels like the equivalent of having my performance review be all about how great the casserole I brought to the potluck was.

  88. NoName+Just+thoughts*

    My mother passed away suddenly 12 days ago. I am still reeling — and dreading this Mother’s Day.
    What would I like most for Mother’s Day? I’d like my mother back.
    The insensitivity of the question is incredible. And not being a mother myself, the holiday is complete heartache to me.
    I can overlook the well-meaning strangers who wish all women a “Happy Mother’s Day” throughout the day or co-workers who say it as they leave on Friday for the weekend. And I’m glad to know companies are offering an option to opt out of Mother’s Day emails, although I haven’t seen it in any emails I’ve received.
    But I certainly don’t want or need to have Mother’s Day wrapped into my job.

  89. Maria Maria*

    Devil’s advocate: being a mother can be a really thankless task and can make doing your day job/career so much more complicated. Why not allow the mothers to be thanked/celebrated for all they sacrifice and do for everyone else. It doesn’t have to be a zero sum thing. Non mothers work hard and sacrifice too, but this one day we want to celebrate mothers, who are sh-tted on every other day of the year.

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