Please help me write a Mother's Day message for work.
May 12, 2017 6:31 AM   Subscribe

I've been asked to draft a Happy Mother's Day message that the boss of my office will send out. I'm...not doing well with writing this.

Bonus difficulty: We are a Family Medicine department in a combination large University / Clinical system. So we deliver lots of babies, most of our staff are women and mothers.

I was given very little direction. The specific request is:

"Would you please draft a Mother’s Day message that looks pretty to be sent to the Dept from [name redacted] and I? Just a few lines recognizing the mothers in the dept and the importance of mothers in the community."

I could probably crank out some pablum and insert some "pretty" clip art but its hurting my soul to be cheesy about this. I'd like to offer something a little more modern and not so...traditional? Like, pink flowers traditional.

Please help!
posted by lazaruslong to Work & Money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe find two or three great short poems or quotations, then get the office boss to select one -- that way, it's actually, at least a bit, "from" the boss.

Motherhood is serious, but it often gets given lip service then subtly minimized. One idea: I think clean black text on a white background, along with text that takes a serious tone (but also warm), will convey this and be supportive in a way that many mothers need to be supported.

Here is a poem by Carl Sandburg, from a short three-poem cycle here:

Here is a thing my heart wishes the world had more of:
I heard it in the air of one night when I listened
To a mother singing softly to a child restless and angry in the darkness.

Here is one by Lola Ridge:
Your love was like moonlight
turning harsh things to beauty,
so that little wry souls
reflecting each other obliquely
as in cracked mirrors . . .
beheld in your luminous spirit
their own reflection,
transfigured as in a shining stream,
and loved you for what they are not.

You are less an image in my mind
than a luster
I see you in gleams
pale as star-light on a gray wall . . .
evanescent as the reflection of a white swan
shimmering in broken water.
posted by amtho at 7:00 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]

I like recognizing the real and raw aspects of motherhood. The over-scheduling, the lack of me time, the desire to be the best in every role but feeling like you're barely getting by on any of them, the pressure to be perfect but also the genuine desire to be the best mom you can be.

I'm not sure my way suits your context, unfortunately. But if I were a working mom, my department's recognition of the complications of that would land in a meaningful way.
posted by crunchy potato at 7:06 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]

Unfortunately, Mother's Day is kind of a day of official saccharine. Although individuals and small organizations can approach things differently, there's a certain level of sentimentalism that seems to be expected. I sympathize, though. Here, I'm not a particularly good sentimentalist, I'll write you the limits of my personal schmaltz and maybe you'll find a couple of words you like. Maybe not floral clip art, maybe mother and child kind of clip art?

We at Family Medicine Clinic have the honor of helping women become mothers every day. On Sunday we honor the hard work that mothers do. Thank you to the mothers in our department, and thank you all for your efforts supporting and appreciating mothers every day.

As has been said many other places, the real way that motherhood should be admired and supported is through policies and culture, the family-friendly flex time and time off and culture of respect for people's personal priorities. If your company does not have that, then any writing you do won't feel true. If the company actually does a good job on that front, maybe this would be an okay time to acknowledge that their "we care about mothers" isn't just lip service.
posted by aimedwander at 7:07 AM on May 12 [30 favorites]

great point, and some clarification - we do have pretty excellent policies and culture for mothers and families here.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:09 AM on May 12

Uh, I would avoid the poetry and veer cutesy. I know it hurts, but everyone who receives this message is getting twelve other pink things this weekend and really, you just want yours to blend in.

Stick to something minimal - think Dutch design Mother's Day - and it may be more bearable. Minimal flair, minimal pablum, just a simple message and some cherry blossoms on a white background, something like that.

ETA: Minimalist can be cutesy. That wasn't just terrible word choice on my part...
posted by maryr at 7:34 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]

As someone who has lost two pregnancies in the last few years and is still childless, this kind of message would be painful for me to receive. I find Mother's Day hard enough as it is. Has your boss thought about this?

I understand your department works with lots of mothers as patients, and I think acknowledging them is fine. But to send a blanket message to staff--some of whom aren't mothers and possibly not by choice, to celebrate only those of them who are mothers--is not a great idea, I think. I encourage you to tread carefully.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:04 AM on May 12 [24 favorites]

That's one reason I liked the Sandburg poem; it celebrates other people being mothers, while being graceful and understated.
posted by amtho at 8:31 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]

To be a mother is a role that is incredibly difficult, incredibly important, and most often incredibly rewarding. We'd like to take a moment to applaud those mothers who we're honored to work among. We hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day this weekend.
posted by WCityMike at 10:59 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the idea is to say Happy Mother's Day to employees who are Moms. But it can be a difficult day for employees whose Moms are dead, or who had bad Moms, and for people who have lost a child, or have an estranged child. Plus, there are stepmoms. Getting a generic Happy Mother's Day from my employer does not enhance my morale.
posted by theora55 at 10:59 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]

How about something like, "Moms come in many forms. If you're lucky enough to have the love of a Mom in your life, don't forget to show her how much you appreciate her.

We appreciate all the Moms who helped make everyone at [group] such a great group of people to work with, and all the Moms who work hard and lovingly every day to make sure good people will be there for all of us in the future."
posted by amtho at 11:18 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]

As a current mom who is also a bereaved mom and who suffered through infertility, and knowing that your boss probably is really focused on this...I know you probably have to send it and may already have sent it, but I really wish you would not.

As a mom I am inundated with the requirement to celebrate, attend the daycare Mother's Day tea, gather the public school crafts, and so on and so forth. There is no lack of opportunity for me to do so. But when I was not yet a mom but desperately wanted to be, or when I was but had no surviving child, it was so awful.
posted by warriorqueen at 12:25 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]

Another person chiming in to say this message would cause me to have a meltdown. My mother died from cancer last year and I'm already finding it difficult to cope because I kknow Mother's Day is coming up. I don't expect the world to cancel the day but I don't need people directing the day at me individually.
posted by shesbenevolent at 5:55 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]

I'm usually tasked with developing a programming strategy for Mother's Day, and it always bothers me that it's not especially inclusive and it's loaded with gender expectations. So the way I've circled this square is always to use the language "Mothers and mentors" trying to highlight that what we think of as "mothering" is nurturing, care, cultivation and not something that's just a function of a legal relationship, and that many people are "mothered" by people who aren't their legal mother. So an example would be in a program description, "thank a mother, a mentor, or someone special" or "bring a mother or a mentor to our wonderful program."

Just a thought you might be able to adapt to make it a bit more expansive.
posted by Miko at 8:42 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]

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