It was recently “National Teachers Day”. Do you know what I posted on social media? I wrote a message saying:

To all those who have had lousy teachers, to all those who couldn’t be teachers, to all those who are bad teachers- I send a shout out to all of you.

I did the same on Nurses Day. And Veteran’s Day. And every other “day” where someone gets a shout out for the work they’ve done.

I mean, we don’t want anyone to feel bad because they aren’t “something”.

Right?

Empathy means making sure that no one ever feels bad about anything.

Right?

On Mother’s Day I saw a whole bunch of social media reminding us to remember all the people who are not Mother’s. or who have a bad association with Mother’s.

Remember those without Mother’s. Remember those with lousy Mother’s. Remember those who can’t be Mother’s.

I get it. A day like Mother’s Day can bring up bad memories of things that you don’t have. But to be fair, Tuesday can bring up the same thing.

When we set out a day to honor something, it probably means that these people have been forgotten in the past. It means that maybe they’ve been overlooked. Perhaps underappreciated…

it doesn’t mean that they are any better or worse than anyone else. It just means that people are saying – “We appreciate you and the job that you do.” This is why there is a “day”.

If you want to celebrate a day for all those people who have issues with a day, by all means come up with your own day to celebrate that group. Why don’t we have the first Sunday in May be dedicated to all those who hate Mother’s Day? Sort of like we now have Galentines Day…Let’s give that group a voice, let’s allow them to be heard. They have a legitimate point- no one takes their feelings into account. Let’s just give them their own day.

When you try to make things fair, when you try to make sure that no one “feels bad” are you really doing anything? By making sure that no one ever “feels bad”, are we conversely making sure that no one ever “feels good”? Does taking away from one group make another group feel better?

I know. I know. Right now you are thinking that I am a horrible, non empathetic person who just wants her day. Who doesn’t care about anyone else. If you think that, well, there’s nothing I can do to change your mind.

Oh well.

But here’s the fact: Motherhood is hard. Motherhood is thankless. Motherhood is putting yourself last every single time.

Every.

Single.

Time.

I completely feel for everyone who feels bad on Mother’s Day because their experience hasn’t been quite what they wanted. But I also feel for every single Mother who celebrates the day, because really, we don’t actually know how anyone feels inside.

Sure, they might get breakfast in bed, or flowers, but Motherhood sucks 66% of the time. I did the math and wrote a post.

Being a Mother means forever being identified as “Mother”. This isn’t so easy for most Mothers…even the one’s who get big cards and post a big “Happy Mother’s Day” banner on social media.

Motherhood sucks.

This is why we have a day.

Please don’t assume that every Mother is having a good day just because they present themselves to the world that way. Look behind the smile, the laugh. Look in her eyes. See how great her day, her week, her year has been. Really look.

And allow her to just think about herself this day. Because it might be the only day all year that she does. And it might not even be the whole day. It might just be an hour, or a minute, or a second…


65 thoughts on “Anything Can Happen Friday: Empathy?

    1. I don’t like to appear non empathetic, but really…it’s ok fir a group to feel special. What good is making everyone feel the same all the time?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I think that empathy is trying to understand how someone else feels. For example: my first experience teaching in the United States, I wanted some empathy but I did not always find it. Empathy is often something we desire but only a few come through. I have empathy for those in tough situations but in all reality it is easy to feel empathy from a distance. It is tougher when you need empathy and caring for others in your home or work situation. It can be exhausting so you must take care of yourself first, then others. Whether you are a mom or a stepmom, we understand the ‘motherhood can suck.’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I should be celebrated every day! Seriously, though, those posts annoy me. One friend posted that we also need to remember single dads on Mothers Day. They will say the same about single moms on Fathers Day. Single dads have Fathers Day. Single moms have Mothers Day. They don’t need both. And don’t get me started on those who think “pet moms” are the same and should be celebrated as well.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I feel this way! A chapter of my will-never-be-published book is titled Every Day is Father’s Day and I Hate Mother’s Day.

    However… I volunteered to talk in our church for Mother’s Day in order to not sit through more well-meaning schmaltz. The gist of it was that every woman is a mother because we all influence those around us. I specifically mentioned those growing up, but women *still* influence me -LA included. 🙂

    People feel marginalized or depressed because they are the exception. I know I do, in many categories. It’s up to each of us, personally, to find our own comfort in that category and not get so hung up about EVERYONE understanding that. Part of that is ensuring that someone who misspeaks understands, but not to the point of muddying their own happy mood.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. In related news, I really dislike when people call me “mum” as a way of affection and as a label of matriarch. Especially in public. If I didn’t birth you, I don’t want to be called mom , mum or mother.

    And yet…it continues. It makes me uncomfortable.

    This isn’t related to your post exactly but served as a jumping off point about something I’ve been wanting to write about. But words failed me. 😉

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I don’t know. I love being a mother and so I don’t relate to your comment that motherhood sucks, only that it’s hard and is un-ending. But I’m just one person. On the other hand, I think there are way too many “days” out there, so I agree with those comments. Yet I guess it’s okay to recognize people and professions on the calendar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love motherhood, however….there are plenty of things that o don’t love about it. This past year, seeing how sad my daughter was and not being able to do anything about it? It crushed me. Absolutely crushed me….it was horrible to watch her be so sad doing classes at home, not having friends around, not enjoying her college life. It depressed me to no end.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My daughter is on campus and only has one virtual class (which she is not happy about because it’s a teacher she really looked forward to taking and was thrilled that she got into)

        Like

    2. Then there was colic…four months that I questioned every day why I decided motherhood was good…puberty and the push back years. Worrying every time she walked aLone to school or when she rode the subway by herself and walking home by herself in the city. The rebellious stage where everything was a battle. Two days ago when she gave me grief about something. Then…waiting as I dropped her off at things…rereading papers a million times…listening to her practice instruments…twelve girl sleepovers in my 700 square foot apartment….bleh….

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Wonderful LA. My wife can attest that motherhood is hard. She is a hero – as is my own mother. You all deserve a day to be recognised for the extraordinary efforts you go through. 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  7. If irony ran true to course, I’d be reading this post over hideous scramble eggs, after a long night of bad sports book and pondering the providence of all the Jackson 5 memorabilia on display in the Hard Rock Casino in Gary, Indiana.

    But, as you quick and often point out, life ain’t fair, as illustrated by the life and times of one …..
    ”Anna Jarvis… had originally conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. Her version of the day involved wearing a white carnation as a badge and visiting one’s mother or attending church services. But once Mother’s Day became a national holiday, it was not long before florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity.

    While Jarvis had initially worked with the floral industry to help raise Mother’s Day’s profile, by 1920 she had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candies.

    Jarvis eventually resorted to an open campaign against Mother’s Day profiteers, speaking out against confectioners, florists and even charities. She also launched countless lawsuits against groups that had used the name “Mother’s Day,” eventually spending most of her personal wealth in legal fees. By the time of her death in 1948 Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the American calendar.” Swiped from History Channel Web…

    You bet, LA, I dislike Mother’s Day. In fact I find most collective cattle calls of special interest capital rent seeking against individual interest.

    But I enjoyed the read. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely get those who don’t like it. I understand and empathize. But as we now see fit to celebrate literally everything, let’s give everything it’s own day and stop hating on the people who celebrate the day. Or scrap them all. I don’t need to see any taco Tuesday memes ever again…FYI…May 14 is…FintStic Friday give sharks a voice day, international adylan Thomas day, national buttermilk biscuit day, national chicken dance day, shades day, the Stars and Stripes forever day, and underground America day according to observance.com. So I’m off to chicken dance with my sunglasses on as I eat a biscuit….huzzah…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, LA, come on…I seldom olé any old day, much less cheer those days concocted by meme, the monied, tomfoolery, or agents of misinformation. And I don’t sip… think few do, from the soup of “this and that day” you listed.

        I think a dose of apathy is the antidote to most mass culture, and personal empathy one of the keys in picking the individual lock.

        To truly jailbreak one needs to constantly sharpen their hacksaw of ironic distance. The further one is removed from the pastures of mass culture, those hues of green grass do vary, don’t ya think?

        Thanks again, LA.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just read a chapter about finding your core values. I realize mine are irony and sarcasm. I figure like this, as we try to celebrate everything and everyone, we devalue celebrations, we devalue the individual. If we make everything an even playing field, we strive to remain average…who want to be average?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Those who must live exceptionally, which you can best believe skews, to some degree, the data mining of the many entities tracking our back and forth on this very thread. Not tracking verbatim, of course, but for individual and collective data points.

        Which is a bit ironic, don’t you feel…to not even receive a participation trophy for helping build the most level playing field in the history of human communication. Well, many people are saying…you’re in the running for the MVP.

        Stay, well LA.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. When my grandmother had a baby standard procedure was a week or two stay in the hospital where she rarely saw the baby and received daily massages from the nurses as “treatment.” Her job was to rest and heal. I was kicked out in 24 hours. The experience and status of mothers has evolved and I’m not sure it’s been good for women? C

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I will later yes LA. I’m not even sure what I think yet, it was so complex. Going outside to putter in the yard as the weather is beautiful!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They were lovely! Pics tomorrow!! The botanic garden is my happy place. I walk around, smell the glorious scent, take in the colors….just so relaxing

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I totally agree. We can take empathy a bit too far sometimes. Maybe we should have an “Occasionally Life Sucks Day” and lump all those things into one day, sulk about it and then move on until next year.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I would define empathy differently than you. Rather than stating “Empathy means making sure that no one ever feels bad about anything” I see empathy as simply being able to understand how someone else feels (good, bad, happy, or indifferent) and accept their feelings. It is not a responsibility that I do anything to make another not feel bad, but that I simply listen and accept how that person feels at the time. Honestly I was really struggling to understand your post and have read it over and over. I apologize if I have the wrong impression, but I feel a great deal of pain, perhaps personal… in what you’re writing about today.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. First off…I apologize if I’ve offended you. You are the last person I ever want to offend! However, I knew when I wrote this post people were going to blatantly disagree with me and m6 position. To clarify my thoughts though…I don’t like participation trophies after kids are five years old. I think they’re condescending and I don’t think anyone gets more confident because they get one, because if everyone gets one, what’s there to be confident about? Breathing? When I see posts reminding us on Mother’s Day to remember those without mothers, or who had bad mothers or can’t be a mother, I think those posts are like participation trophies. Me “thinking” of a friend in that situation on that day…is it really going to make them feel better? My friends that are in those situations…I think of them every day. I empathize with them every day. Those in those situations probably feel a little bad every day…Do we need to make a post saying that on Mother’s Day? Especially as, it makes being a mother look like it’s all fun and games. Yes being a mom is great. Being a mom also sucks. Maybe I feel just as crappy about being a mom as someone who isn’t feels about not being a mom….to me it’s a grass is greener thing…just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean ive discovered the secret to life and happiness…we should all think about each other every single day. We should all realize that we all have demons in our heads. Sometimes I just want to see Happy Mothers Day on a thing without someone saying well don’t forget everyone else. Maybe I need the happy Mother’s Day more than someone needs to remind me to think of others.again, I apologize if I’ve offended you, but I think sometimes we try to be everything to everyone, and end up being nothing to everyone

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There’s absolutely no offense. I know you are a pretty open book, but the post just seemed somehow off, and sad in a way if that makes sense so I read into it that perhaps marking Mom’s day especially was harder than usual for you this year. I’m not at all about most “days” as 1) there are way too many of them: as in totally out of control, and 2) I suppose personally I would prefer a sincere acknowledgement for my wonderfulness just because someone really believes I’m wonderful! I suppose I don’t really need “a day” for that. I do hear your POV and understand it though. Let the day just be what it was meant to be and be sincere about it without the need to be all inclusive to every possible angle.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s just it…we seem to want to include everyone on every day and that’s not possible. Let’s just be kind to each other regardless. It just seems insincere to me to add a reminder…it’s guilt inducing and don’t we already feel guilty as it is?

        Like

  11. I love your quoting yourself for proof it sucks 66% of the time. Ha, ha! I’d say that we don’t need to celebrate people who are not in the “group of the day” category for whatever day it is because it is useful sometimes to feel bad. If you experience angst because you aren’t a mother, teacher, nurse, dog owner or anything else, perhaps it’s time to do something about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You put into words the feelings I have had for a long time! Motherhood is HARD and so yes I feel that the day is well deserved but I do also have great empathy for the ones who long to be Mom’s and can’t, BUT.. as you noted I don’t just feel bad for them on Mother’s Day, what good would that do? And I don’t expect to be made to feel guilty on a day that is special for Mom’s. Should I feel guilty on my birthday because some can’t celebrate their birthdays the way they want too. It just gets out of control!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s exactly what I was trying to convey. Those messages can make you feel “less than” because you have “more than” someone else. Can’t we say that we all feel bad about something every day? And it’s ok to say cheers to someone who does have a special day. Can’t we just be nice to everyone every day?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Delay between like and comment. I wanted to reflect upon this one for a moment. Here’s what I’ve got. I am a father, and am grateful for father’s day well wishes, yet I will take a simple acknowledgement on any old random day anytime. It’s not needed, yet it does feel nice. And, that’s how I feel about all people. Acknowledging each other regularly. As one of your other followers put it, being kind all the time. The day for this, day for that, is overrated…oh, and I agree with one of your responses about taco Tuesday memes …😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Acknowledge each other regularly. But if someone wins an award don’t be so quick to talk about all those who didn’t. Allow someone to have a win, no matter what it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Any “holiday” that singles out a person or group of persons always has someone saying well what about me? There will always be people that want to be recognized and celebrated for breathing. I say we celebrate all those who made it through the pandemic as well as those who did not, there I think that is everyone and a bona fide reason to celebrate.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Well first off, let me commend you on tackling a sticky subject. Being nice to everyone everyday is more important than just singling out one day a year, but then why not? I like my Mother’s Day because I am a Mom and it’s hard. As for the participation trophy BS, please don’t get me started. Up until 5 years old, sure…after that? I don’t agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m not sure what to say about this. I recently read a blog where someone said she’d reached out to all of her friends/family who’d lost their mothers because she had never thought about it, but it probably was a rough day for them. I commended her on that, because as someone whose mother died early on, no one has ever reached out to me to see how I’m doing. So, when I think of being empathetic to others, I think of this blogger’s efforts. I think it’s just recognizing someone else may be having another type of experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok…even though you didn’t ask…here’s my take. I almost think there’s some sort of empathy race, where people try to prove how empathetic they are. One of my closest friends lost her three year old son in a freak accident. I know how she feels on Mother’s Day. But instead of placing a big thing on social media I just send her a special text. She aches every single day for the past 20+ years. Every day. I don’t just think about her in Mother’s Day. I think about her every day. If you’re really empathetic and thoughtful, aren’t you just doing it without the recognition? Do you need to announce it to the world? To me, posts
      Ike this are almost disingenuous. Plus, most mothers have their struggles, no matter how good things seem in the outside. Just allow people to say happy Mother’s Day. Or don’t say it. This would never be a thing without social media…sometimes I don’t think everything needs to be posted

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I completely understand your point about extreme levels of bending over backwards to ensure that no-one feels left out when we celebrate any one specific group or category. But – and I think this is the point Deb was making – is that’s absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with empathy. It sounds like your frustration is with virtue signalling which is about as far as you can get from genuine empathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. To me, all those “days” are the same as every other day.

    I was personally miffed when Secretaries Day (later changed to Administrative Assistants Day – big improvement, woop) was established and often falls on my birthday. Almost made me feel like that was as far as I would ever rise on the corporate ladder.

    In seeming contradiction of the above irrational feeling, I don’t want or need a special day or time or celebration or card or anything like that as any type of recognition, especially when it lumps me in with with a whole bunch of other people that I don’t know or know anything about!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Technically, I don’t care about the days. However…if the point is to single out a group for there work or whatever, let it just be that. We can’t be everything to everyone all the time. Either get rid of all these “days” or let them be as is. There’s no empathy prize. We should always be thinking about others who may be suffering every day…

      Like

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