Dear friend of Oolie,
This May, Oolie and barre3 are giving away two baskets full of Oolie and barre3 x Beyond Yoga products. See how to enter below.
But first… Can we be real about Mother’s Day for a minute?
The Myth of the Monolithic Mama
As we approach May, I’ve been thinking about the unsolvable problem of Mother’s Day.
On the surface, celebrating Moms seems like a great idea. After all, mothers bear unique, grueling challenges here in the US (and elsewhere), and they deserve recognition, appreciation, and extra love — no question.
However, there are so many ways to be a mom, and beyond that, there are so many caregivers who take on those same “mom” challenges but without the title “mom.”
Consider our friends and loved ones who long to become moms, or who lost pregnancies, children, step-children or other beloved littles. Consider those who are unsure about whether they want to raise kids. Consider those who have given birth, but don’t consider themselves “parents” — and vice versa: those who haven’t, but do.
There are endless legitimate reasons you may feel alienated from Mother’s Day. The barrage of commercial messaging around this holiday (flowers! bath salts! candles! whyyyyyyyy?!?!) may leave you feeling unseen — or like there’s only one right way to be a mom, only one right way to honor moms, or only one kind of mom worthy of celebration.
Some companies now offer the ability to “opt-out” of Mother’s Day promotions. That’s a considerate step, but for us, “opting out” doesn’t feel wholly satisfactory. At Oolie, we are committed to celebrating all caregivers — moms included — without alienating or triggering anyone else. Sensitivity and inclusive language are essential. Which has me wondering:
What is a “mom,” anyway?
In other words: What is essential to the experience of “mothering”?
Deep caring and connection? Unconditional love? Wiping up spills?
Maybe. Maybe some of these, maybe none of them. Maybe there are so many “ways to mother” that there are many “right” ways to do it, and we each get to choose our own way.
Speaking for myself, the “mom” part of me is just one facet of my fluid, ever-evolving identity.
The mom I am today, at 41, would be unrecognizable to the mom I was at 33. My parenting journey has shaken my most fundamental beliefs about life, about who I thought I was and would always be.
I’ve become more humble. Eight years ago, I would have been pretty smug about my child who was a “good eater.” At the time, I interpreted my toddler’s love of vegetables as a sign of good parenting. I was keen to take credit for something that, it turns out, was not really up to me. I can recognize that now, two children later, each with very different personalities and preferences. I'm sure there are things I believe to be true about myself as a mother today that will be totally cringy to me in a few years.
This flip side of wanting to “take credit” for our kids’ desired traits is the insidious tendency to also blame ourselves (or other moms!) when things “go wrong.”
Unfortunately, that could be another essential mothering experience: having your every parenting decision judged and criticized by others. (My husband, in contrast, has yet to receive unsolicited parenting advice from strangers. I can hardly imagine!)
Like I said, I'm learning. I try not to judge others — or myself — so much. And I definitely don’t take all the credit for the wonderful things my kids do. They are their own little people; my role is to support them in their own growth, not claim credit for their successes.
So, for now, I’m going to settle on caring as the essential ingredient to care-giving. That care can take many forms, depending on the caregiver, the recipient, and the family. Your caregiving may not look like mine, and that’s okay. We are different people with different kids, all of us with different needs.
Caregiving is a lot of work, but you know what’s more work? Care-planning. You know, that planning process of identifying all of those needs and navigating your way to the kind of caregiving that works for you and your family. And that, my friend, is a ton of work.
You deserve an award.
Or, even better, a chance to receive some care yourself.
Self Care Giveaway
To support caregivers of all stripes, Oolie and barre3 are giving away two baskets of self care products.
Win one of these two baskets:
Movement + Rest Self Care
To enter: Stop by one of these four barre3 studios in the Portland, Oregon area between May 1st and 14th. (No purchase necessary.) Look for the basket of Oolie products! By the way, if you’re new to barre3, your first class is free!
If you’re not near Portland: We’re starting locally, but we haven’t forgotten about you! Stay tuned for more giveaways that you can enter, too.
In the meantime, I hope this Mother’s Day can be an opportunity to recognize the love and care we give each other, and the love and care we give ourselves — for moms and everyone.
— Nora Murray, Founder of Oolie