The New Yorker’s terrific cover this week shows two moms reading a card while their children peek from the next room. Artist Chris Ware explained his thinking behind the image in a blog post titled “Happy Mothers’ Day.” That should come as no surprise; the magazine ran a cartoon in 2011 in which a girl with two mothers explains to her teacher how she punctuates the holiday. But as I pointed out then, “Mothers’ Day” doesn’t necessarily reflect all lesbian moms.
That is, some of us are single, by choice or circumstance. Of course, if we want to be fully inclusive, we’re then left with awkward constructions (which I’ve used myself) such as “Mother’s (s’) Day” or “Mother’s/s’ Day.” What to do?
One idea would be to drop the traditionally accepted “Mother’s Day,” which by a strict interpretation honors only one mother, and for everyone to use “Mothers’ Day,” not just in the sense of “two-mom families,” but also as “the day belonging to all mothers.” That seems to be what Ware is getting at in the last sentence of his post, and it’s not a bad idea.
But then I pondered further, and herewith offer the modest proposal of “Motherz Day.” Think about it. Things that end in z’s are considered cool: witness the travel company Orbitz, bootmaker Lugz, and the Webkinz and Bratz dolls, to name a few. (The last is perhaps only cool to tween girls, but heck, if a little of that rubs off on Motherz Day and tweens (tweenz?) think their moms are cool, that’s progress.) With mothers having to fight for fair and flexible pay, leave, and work policies, a little coolness in the public eye could be just the ticket.
I know, I know: “Motherz Day” is missing the possessive punctuation—but just as “young adult literature” really means “young adults’ literature,” and the “New York Senate” is the same as “New York’s Senate,” surely we can all be content with dropping the apostrophe.
No matter how you punctuate it, though, it means the same: A celebration of mothers and motherhood, and those of any gender who have ever mothered or been mothering to someone. If you feel it’s your day, it is. I hope it’s glorious.
Don’t forget that about halfway between our two parental holidays is when I host Blogging for LGBT Families Day, a time for all bloggers to post in support of LGBT families. This year, it’s June 3. Just post at your blog and submit the link to be included on the master list for others to see and share.