Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Is it safe to wish a woman Happy Mother's day? [see details].

Asked by ETpro (34428points) May 12th, 2012

How do women feel about it if they are not a mother. Sure we all had a mother, but for some of us, she has passed away. Does saying happy Mother’s Day risk calling up unpleasant memories. Is it only safe to say when you know the woman in question is currently a mom?

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23 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

Even though I don’t have children and my mother is dead, wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day doesn’t bother me. It might bother some woman but not me. I don’t get bent out of shape about things where people are just being nice and don’t know my circumstances. It’s not malicious. If someone who knew I didn’t have children and that my mother was dead did it, that would be malicious; that would be different, but no one’s ever done that and I can’t imagine that ever happening.

It doesn’t bring up any bad feelings really, I already know that I don’t have children and that my mother is dead. It doesn’t take Mother’s Day to remind me that my mother has passed away and I feel a little extra pain, miss my mom just a little more on Mother’s Day anyway.

On the other hand, I don’t wish any strangers a Happy Mother’s day or suggest they call their moms or anything like that because I don’t know what their circumstances might be.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Any woman you know gave birth to a child they helped to raise ought to me shown the respect that ”Happy Mothers’ Day” is mean to convey.

Trillian's avatar

I’m sure that there are at least a few women who would be offended, just because there are always those who look for things to be offended about.
Ignore them, the rest of us appreciate the sentiment.

ucme's avatar

My wife was just a kid when her mother died, every year Mother’s Day comes around she does feel an extra “sting” which is only natural, but it’s never stopped her from enjoying her day.
She’s pampered by both our kids as well as myself, which is no more than she deserves, atta girl.

SillyGirl's avatar

I tried for many years to fall pregnant and every year Mother’s Day would come by and I’d feel empty and sad because I so wanted to be one. At church in the years of worshipping God, the children wished me too and that made me feel warm inside….:)

Coloma's avatar

If she IS a mother how could it be offensive, unless she estranged from her children. lol
I do think it’s kinda weird though if you’re not close to said mothers.
Friends, close neighbors, family, yes, random mothers no. haha
Personally, I am not a diehard traditionalist I don’t get all overly sentimental and sappy about holidays, birthdays and special occasions.

I don’t care for those personalities that are so steeped in tradition that to not acknowledge an occasion is felt to be a major insult.
My daughter and her boyfriend are rolling in late tonight after spending the week in Yosemite and she asked if we can get together next week sometime for Mothers Day.
I’m sure she’ll call me tomorrow but I wouldn’t feel destroyed if she didn’t, I know we’ll get together when we can and have a great time. :-)

augustlan's avatar

Personally, I wouldn’t wish a happy mother’s day to anyone I didn’t know to be a mother. Not really for fear of offending them, I don’t think… it just wouldn’t occur to me.

Cruiser's avatar

In this case…hey Jelly dudes…Happy mothers day!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

In my previous response I meant to include women who have raised children whether they gave birth to them or not, Please forgive my unintended oversight.

DaphneT's avatar

Someone did the other day, and I just said, thanks but not me. I felt kind of hollow afterward, since not being a mother isn’t by choice. She didn’t intend anything but graciousness so it’s something to let go.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

While the intent may be good, there are just too many scenarios where the effect could be one of having it back-fire. In addition to some of the examples listed above, what if the woman’s child died, or she had an abortion or miscarried? What if she has chosen not to have children? What if her children are estranged?

One year, I called my sister to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. Her response? “Well, thank you. My sons and husband haven’t said ‘boo’ about it.” It was that point I decided to only use the sentiment with my own mother.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I wouldn’t. There’s just really way too many ways for it to be another papercut type of slight – she’s trying to overcome infertility issues, she’s tried to overcome infertility issues and has given up, she’s just had a miscarriage, a child has died, she wishes she could have a kid but wants to do it within a marriage and isn’t married, she’s childfree and sick of being defined by her biology, her mother died, her mother wasn’t a good mother, etc.

If you wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, I would give you a really puzzled look. It’d be the same look I’d give you if we went to another person’s birthday party, and you wished me a happy birthday.

ETpro's avatar

@lillycoyote Thanks. Seems sensible. Would that all people were sensible.

@Dr_Lawrence Thanks for that answer and clarification.

@Trillian Well than by all means, Happy Mother’s Day.

@ucme And a Happy Mother’s Day to your wife as well.

@SillyGirl Sorry you were unable to fulfill that wish, but warm feelings to you.

@augustlan Thanks. Makes sense.

@Cruiser Thanks, man. Same to you. :-)

@DaphneT So it can cut if used inappropriately.

@Pied_Pfeffer That’s what I was thinking. Thanks.

@Aethelflaed I grok that.

JLeslie's avatar

I wouldn’t. I would not be happy if someone wished it to me. Some people very closedto me I might wish Happy Mother’s Day to, if they had been like mothers to me, or had pets they love that are like children to them, and they refer to themselves as the mama. But, just a random woman, nah, not a good idea in my opinion.

@Pied_Pfeffer I would think that a reason to call your sister for Mother’s Day, not avoid it.

Bellatrix's avatar

I would probably only say it to someone I knew was a mother. Otherwise, it would seem sort of irrelevant.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie I’d leave it to @Pied_Pfeffer to sense whether the call cheered her up or made here feel more down that those that should be saying it were not.

@Bellatrix Makes perfect sense.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie There was a tone of sarcasm in her response. I should have included that. She is not my mother or the mother of my children. I got the impression that wishing her a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ only dredged up the fact that the ones who should have didn’t.

iphigeneia's avatar

I wouldn’t say Happy Mothers’ Day to anyone but my own mum and nanna. I wouldn’t say it to, for example, a friend’s mother or my aunt. It would feel weird, because they’re not maternal figures to me.

I imagine that if anyone ever wishes me a happy Mothers’ Day I would probably feel uncomfortable because a) it would be like a stranger assuming a close relationship with me, and b) I plan to not have children and assumptions to the contrary grate on my nerves.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

You only say it to women who are mothers.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro Of course.

@Pied_Pfeffer I assumed sarcasm. I just interpreted it differently. You know her best and actually heard her, so I don’t question your reaction, I just think I might have reacted differently. I don’t know for sure since I was not in the conversation. If I called my sister for her birthday and she had the same reaction, that I was the only one who remembered, I would not stop calling her for that. I guess maybe it isn’t the same.

SillyGirl's avatar

@ETpro I do have children today gave birth to my first one 11 years ago and 21 months later we had another…..tried for 10 years before I had my first….. I can relate to childless females…..

JLeslie's avatar

I was just texting with a girlfriend of mine and she wished me a happy mamacitas day, and from her it was fine. I take it like all women nurture and mother. She knows I don’t have kids.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie Cool.

@SillyGirl I’m delighted to hear you finally got your wish. And I hope that made this a Happy Mother’s Day for you.

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