A Day Without a Mother

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In the wealthy Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., at least one public school district has announced they will be closed on Wednesday, so that the overwhelmingly liberal, solidly middle-class (average salary: $72,705), and majority white instructional staff can have a day off to wear pink hats and shout obscenities about their lady parts. That’s quite the civics lesson. It also puts mothers who work outside the home in a pinch, especially when they are the sole breadwinners. However, in a way, this sham of a protest only serves to highlight what Pope Francis spoke of when he expressed concern about “feminist machismo.”

For many of the enormous number of single mothers in this country, taking a day off work is simply impossible. Thus, the biggest victim of the pink-hatted brigades will in fact be other women. The well-to-do and progressive mobs inside the beltway will not be demonstrating for women’s rights so much as demonstrating their white privilege and the luxury of liberal virtue-signaling. Single mothers will still have to go to work, arrange for alternate child care, feed, bathe, clothe, and otherwise keep their children safe and alive for the whole 24 hours of the so-called “Day Without A Woman.” For them, this preposterous spectacle only adds insult to injury.

Furthermore, in a deeper sense, without mothers, none of us would be here. Women, and women alone, have the awesome and sacred capacity to participate with God in the miracle of creation of new life, to nurture and to protect it as it grows in the earliest stages, and then, outside the womb, to literally give of themselves to the child through breastfeeding. Whether women are teachers or astronauts, CEOs or plumbers, soldiers or doctors (or both), scientists or chefs, maids or pilots, politicians or homemakers, they, and they alone have the capacity to be mothers.

Whatever their profession or vocation, and whether or not they are able to physically bear children, Pope Francis exhorts all women to be motherly and fruitful in whatever they do, because unlike the machismo of perfect equality, the true dignity of women recognizes their essential difference from men. Anyone who celebrates this decision obviously has the luxury of arranging child care on short notice, which in itself seems a bit hypocritical, unless they plan on giving their nannies the day off as well. Unlike the evidently expendable teachers who are protesting, mothers don’t get to take a day off.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

Joshua Bowman joined in full communion with the Catholic Church in 2010 after many years in the spiritual wilderness. He recently moved back to his beloved native Virginia from Columbus, Ohio with his growing family and writes on religion, politics, history, and geographical curiosities.

38 Comments

  1. Thanks for recognizing not all of us have children but we’re all called to a motherhood. But, those of us who are single and childless are also hurt by this kind of thing. We don’t have husbands who are working so when we miss days of work we have no way to make up that income and no husbands who are making money instead.

  2. You are correct in praising mothers because motherhood is a vocation, not a job. But the International Women’s Day isn’t a liberal holiday, as you suggest. Started in 1908, it was integrated internationally in 1913, and simply professes gratitude for women and recognizes their contributions to society. It’s not a protest, but has evolved from a desire to simply be recognized. A very human and very basic desire. In some countries the women receive flowers on this day– a simple acknowledgment. So why so negative? It has nothing to do with any recent elections. Predates all this hoopla. Do you also have these issues with MLK Day? Do you worry about the single mothers/fathers or widows/widowers on Valentine’s Day? Or feel like gluten-free people get the shaft on Pancake Day? Vegetarians on Hot Dog Day? It’s a silly perspective and you can certainly choose to be negative about any issue. But how about this?– Women are wonderful; we thank the Lord for all women and pray that they may all live up to their potential, be blessed with confidence and purpose, and choose to lead their lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ and in the example of the Blessed Virgin. Amen.

    • And actually, Women’s Day originated as a communist celebration of the Russian Revolution:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Women's_Day

      “The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York and organized by the Socialist Party of America. On March 8, 1917, in the capital of Russian Empire, Petrograd, a demonstration of women textile workers began, covering the whole city. This was the beginning of the Russian Revolution. Seven days later, the Emperor of Russia Nicholas II abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. March 8 was declared a national holiday in the Soviet Russia in 1917. The day was predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.”

      It’s ironic then that the organizers of today’s protest are encouraging those who cannot participate to wear red as a sign of solidarity.

  3. But there is so much more than your narrow perspective or the page you reference above: look at CRS having a meaningful event that truly looks at the roles and plights of women in our world: http://www.crs.org/media-center/current-issues/international-womens-day

    And look to the Vatican, where Catholic women of faith will share their struggles and triumphs, as the Vatican has invited them to do for the last few years. Our religious women deserve a nod, yes?

    Pope Francis — “March 8th, celebrated around the world as International Women’s Day, is an occasion, he said, “to repeat the importance of women, and the necessity of their presence in life.” Pope Francis said, “A world where women are marginalized is a sterile world, because women don’t just bear life but transmit to us the ability to see otherwise, they see things differently. They transmit to us the ability to understand the world with different eyes, to understand things with hearts that are more creative, more patient, more tender.”

    Just try. I know you have an agenda, but just try to see from Jesus’ eyes.

    • I guarantee you that the teachers who walked off the job today are not celebrating women in the religious or consecrated life, nor the triumphs of faithful Catholic women who live according to the Church’s teaching in a world filled with demeaning hypersexualization and objectification of women.

    • There is no issue with International Womenxs day. This issue is the PROTEST of “Day without women” which they scheduled to coincide with International Women’s day and that in at least 2 DC suburban counties, so many teachers requested off in order to protest their mistreatment as women that schools had to be cancelled for the safety of the children.

    • Why should taxpayers incentivize generational welfare behavior? SNAP, TANF and CHIP are all errant ideological replacements for fathers.

      Credibility begins in the home- with both a mother and a father.

      • Only at CatholicVote can you find someone willing to call a low-income children’s health insurance program an “errant ideological replacement.”

        Perhaps you have another answer for universal access to health care? I’m listening.

        • There is an easy answer: men/fathers are made responsible for their families, esp their offspring, and the parents, both of them, are responsible for their children’s care. The government is no surrogate for parents, or childcare, and the government should not be the surrogate for medical care.

          Everyone in the US already has access to universal health care, its called work for it.

          • If father’s are responsible for their families, we need to work to make sure that the penalties for men who do not pay child support are severe. The penalties must be so severe that they are a deterrent to those horrible men who may want to turn their back on their children.

        • Um, welfare programs for children DO act in surrogacy, Rob.

          That’s what they’re there for.

          To provide that which the parents will not.

  4. I’m confused – why would white middle class Americans not engage in protest actions to advocate for the least among them? I’m a White man making $100,000+ annually. Should I be happy I got mine and cheer as people lose access to health care?

    • The people protesting have the luxury of taking a paid day off from work on a whim. Many parents, especially single mothers, do not have that flexibility and now will have to bear the added expense of child care or lost wages. For someone making double or triple the median income, a lost day of wages may seem like a small price to pay for virtue-signaling and some good Instagram selfies in a pink hat, but for people living on the edge of poverty, that lost day of wages could be groceries for the week, or the gas bill, or the cost of transportation. If these protesters were concerned about the least privileged women among us, they could have easily scheduled their spectacle on a weekend, but they chose to do it on a weekday precisely to cause as much disruption as possible.

      • This doesn’t make sense. If it’s true that the people protesting have the luxury of taking a paid day off because they live in a wealthy suburb that is “overwhelmingly liberal, solidly middle-class,” then it would hold that the rest of the people who live in the same place are probably “wealthy” and “overwhelmingly liberal, solidly middle-class.” Thus, they would also have paid time off and can bear the expense of child care.

        Making things up doesn’t really help anybody.

    • If you feel so guilty about ‘getting yours’, why not give it all up to your fav charity, and walk away from it? Perhaps, your guilt is based in the fear that you did not honestly earn it.

      Who is losing health care, and what does health care have to do with radical feminist activists who are getting paid to not work?

  5. Joshua,

    Thank you for this master class in mansplaining the true motivations of protestors, and the views of low-income women. How would we ever know what women think without conservative men telling us?

    Sadly, there has never been a mass protest in history without conservatives lecturing about appropriate behavior. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, however, that this piece wasn’t just concern trolling, and say that I look forward to your future pieces about white privilege, support for increased access to childcare and worker’s rights, and better attempts to understand the views of people with whom you disagree without reducing them to sexist caricatures.

    • Judy- why don’t you tell us all about ‘white’ privilege?

      Child care is the responsibility of both parents, not the government, for every child there is a mother and a father- they need to work out the care of their offspring together, and not rely on taxpayers or their employers to pick up their tab.

      Which citizen of the US does not have the right to work?

      The only sexist caricatures we’ve seen lately are those participating in the ridiculous, and well-funded ideologically-driven ‘women protests’ since Trump got elected. What a pack of silly, misguided lemmings you are-

      • Delphin–
        First, calm down and take a deep breath before you post. Why so angry all the time?
        Second, ask Joshua to explain white privilege to you since he brought it up.
        Third, improving your reading comprehension might be worthwhile for you.
        Fourth, it’s not good to “feed the trolls,” so I’ll pray for you instead!

        • Judy

          Delphin seems to have comprehended your post.

          He responded to your comments RE: “support for increased access to childcare and worker’s rights”.

          Is non-parental childcare something Joshua Bowman needs to address? Is this a problem? Same with “worker’s rights”-it was the union workers who notably skipped work-the teachers-they won’t get fired.

          • Ram–
            Delphin sarcastically asks about white privilege, so I suggested asking Joshua since he brought it up.
            I read Joshua’s piece as “concern trolling,” trying to shame protestors on behalf of low-income women. It might seem like clever politics for him to drive a wedge in the liberal coalition, but it’s a sad statement of the level of discourse on this website. My guess is his primary concern here is stifling dissent. I’m just curious where all his anger stems from.

          • Judy-

            I think that if Bowman WAS trying to shame the protesters on behalf of low-income women, he could be correct.

            Low-income women in the DC suburbs where the teachers walked out WERE encumbered by that act. They had to procure alternate daycare arrangements at the last minute or skip work and stay home to see to the kids.

            The teachers bore no brunt-they won’t get fired. They’re in a union that protects them.

            Also interesting to me that you automatically assume low-income women are automatic members the “liberal coalition”. Do they know this?

        • Judy, don’t employ the manipulative “calm down’ tripe when faced with having to support your tired, old claims- just try responding, honestly.

          Then, of course, there is the ever-predictable ‘can’t you read shaming’ (do you also fat shame, too?) so well taught by Alinsky you attempt to employ huge fail) to divert away from the fact, that when challenged to provide facts to support your wild leftist assumptions, you simply resort to insults.

          Just answer some very simple questions, and stop with all your nonsense- you fool no one, except for yourself.

  6. And whose fault is it there are so many single mothers? By your logic it seems it’s other women. Man up and hold men responsible for the situation they create when they choose to abandon their families. Hold corporations accountable for woefully underpaying women.

    Women are asking to be recognized, acknowledged and thanked for all they do for others every day. As you note many women are the primary breadwinners of their family so it’s very sad they aren’t paid the same wage as a man.

    Many women who work all day outside the home are still doing most of the child rearing, cooking and cleaning in households.

    These same women are also typically responsible for the development of their families religious development and spirituality.

    Sad that you’ve missed the point of the day.

  7. Ram–
    Bowman’s sneering tone makes me believe that his primary concern is shame. If he were sincerely interested in low-income women, he would recognize that many have been protesting, both on and off the job. His juvenile rhetoric makes me doubt his sincerely though. This is just another angry rant.
    Bowman distinguishes between middle-class and low-income women in the left’s coalition because that’s primarily who is protesting, and he’s trying to create a wedge based on socioeconomic status.
    There’s no point playing the game of having a protest that doesn’t encumber anyone. Protests are, by nature, designed to be disruptive.

    • Judy-

      The protest didn’t encumber the protesters in the case of the DC – area schools.

      The teachers can’t be fired and they got paid for the day. The low-income woman who skipped work didn’t get paid, or she ran up a daycare expense she didn’t plan for.

      Bowman didn’t “create” that reality or “wedge”-he just noted it. The protesters and/or their cause/motive are not above reproach, are they?

      • Ha ha. You know Bowman couldn’t care less about cause/motive. If he did, he wouldn’t blatantly distort it to fit his own agenda.

        You seem like a fairly level-headed person. You should expect more from this website, seeing how frequently you engage on here.

        • I think Bowman wrote the piece with the mindset that the Day Without was a liberal protest stunt/mass virtue-signal. No question. We agree on that.

          My personal take on it is that it seems to be a protest in search of a cause. I am not aware of any mass devaluation of women in American society, nor calls for barriers to be placed anew upon them nor upon their participation in American life.

          Given this, it does not surprise me that people will take occasion to fill in the blanks, and point out discrepancies when they are apparent.

  8. His arguments would carry more weight if he weren’t so intellectually dishonest.
    If you can’t recognize mass discrimination of women, then there’s not much hope for someone so willfully blind. Maybe one day you’ll wake up at a rally listening to the soothing chants of “Trump that b****!”

    But I’m sure even those folks in the “Hilary Sucks But Not Like Monica” t-shirts wouldn’t dare protest during a workday! 😉

    • I’m sorry-I honestly do not see mass discrimination against women in America. Women I know do not claim thusly.

      Maybe it’s because I’m a “glass half full” person by nature.

    • There is no mass discrimination of women, or anybody, in the West.

      Why not take you battle to the battlefront-I hear ISIL is looking for a few good women?

      Just think of all the opportunities to protest, and whine, and makes senseless demands, all the while claiming oppression, you will be provided!

      Fraud.

    • Yes, Jack, I can tell you:

      Women like Judy are, typically, overindulged (spoiled) persons who have accomplished very little on their own (it’s usually Daddy or Hubby’s dime upon which they live, and thrive) and are drowning in guilt over their good fortune, so must claim to be oppressed in order to justify their useless existence, and to attempt to relate to women who are less fortunate.

      The radical left is comprised of persons with pretty severe mental/emotional illnesses- as is easily witnessed at any gathering of radical leftists.

      • Delphin, who let you out of your playpen?!? It’s time for your nap! And don’t even think about asking for a cookie.

        • Judy- do you claim to be, or ever to have been, impoverished?

          Playpens, naps and cookies are those things in which only the privileged can partake (think Third World, “Valley Girl”).

          Looks like my nail hit you right on your head-

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