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May 8, 2017 by

A Rant Before Mother’s Day

mother's day photoPeople raising young children can use all the enthusiastic appreciation and thoughtful support they can get for the rewarding—but also exhausting—caregiving challenges they face. Those of us on the sidelines might certainly lend a hand, cheer them on, and let them know we value what they do. But sometimes peers, well-intentioned relatives, and even educators and others unwittingly add to parents’ self-doubts and uneasy self-scrutiny by accidentally reinforcing outdated notions of what families are and how households are “supposed” to function.

Young children today are being raised by (choose one or more): single parents, two parents, a different-sex unmarried couple, same-sex couples, at-home parents, working parents, parents who work at night, parents who work during the day, long-distance-working parents, grandparents, foster parents, separated parents, divorced parents, parents in the military, incarcerated parents and parents with more than one child in different educational settings. And sometimes young children, no matter what the configuration at home, have to cope also with having a deceased parent. The permutations and combinations are myriad.

So let’s make sure that in all the anticipatory hoopla connected to Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) we don’t raise another generation of children with antiquated, ignorant and unintentionally hurtful notions about the truly diverse nature of human families.

To help with this, consider making sure the preschool a child you know attends has  books such as these. Check and see; if not, maybe in honor of “Special Persons’ Day” (as one childcare facility names it) donate one or more to the classroom. Books that showcase diverse family constructs are one way to do some small but necessary repair work. 

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

Leslea Newman’s Heather Has Two Mommies, illustrated by Laura Cornell

The Purim Superhero by Elisabeth Kushner, illustrated by Mike Byrne

Arthur A. Levine’s Monday Is One Day, illustrated by Julian Hector

Jeanne Warren Lindsay’s Do I Have  a Daddy?

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, illustrated by Geoff Stevenson

The Family Book by Todd Parr

Please comment with any other book recommendations!


The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Lilith Magazine.