By Lisa Earle McLeod
Forget candy and flowers. This Mother’s Day, I want something more.
It’s big and it’s expensive, but I’m worth it.
It’ll take more effort than serving me some runny eggs on tray with a sappy card. And it’s a bit more pricey than a day at the spa.
But after birthing two kids — one of them a 9-pounder with no epidural, thank you very much — it’s the least my family can do.
I want what the creator of Mother’s Day asked for in 1870 but never got: Peace.
Long before it became homage to consumerism, Mother’s Day was originally intended to be a Mother’s Day for Peace. In a fiery speech condemning the carnage that she witnessed while nursing the wounded during the American Civil War, noted Unitarian Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic battle declared:
“Arise all women who have hearts, say firmly: Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. In the name of womanhood and of humanity; take counsel with each other as the means whereby the great human family can live in peace.”
Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. And by the time President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother’s Day in 1914, the call for peace and patience had been replaced by bonbons and breakfast in bed.
I’m all for pampering, but I think it’s time we mothers started asking for something more.
It’s time we asked for something that truly honors the work we do on this planet. It’s time we asked the world to keep our babies safe.
Peace is as patriotic as mom’s apple pie. To demonstrate that, mothers across America are delivering “peace pies” to their legislators the week before Mother’s Day, asking that peace and nonviolence be given a piece of the federal government budget “pie.”
I, for one, can’t wait to see the look on my state senator’s face when I show up with a few minivans full of pie-wielding PTA moms asking him to support allocating the equivalent of 2 percent of the more than $400 billion annually currently allocated to defense to creating a Department of Peace and Nonviolence. (See www.DOPcampaign.org for more info.)
Because I’m more of a Rosanne than a June Cleaver, my pie will come from Mrs. Smith via my grocery store freezer, but the desire for nonviolent solutions strikes at the heart of what it means to be a mother.
Whether it’s a mom living in a ghetto who must watch her child gunned down in a senseless crack war or a country club military mom who is told that her kid was one of the ones who didn’t make it back, there’s not a mother alive who can ever wrap her mind around a rational need for her child to die.
When our ancestors first talked about a creating a government built around the concept of liberty, people thought they were crazy. But they took an idea they held in their hearts and created an infrastructure around it. It wasn’t easy, but they did it.
We mothers have held peace in our hearts for long enough. It’s time to make it an official part of our government.
Looking at the history books, our past requests for peace seem to have been as futile as turning down the pages of a catalogue and leaving it on the back of the toilet.
But times have changed, and I for one can’t be placated with chocolate anymore. I want my kids to have more than a piece of peace in their lifetime. I want the whole Whitman’s sampler.
If you want more than bunny slippers and a loofah bar this Mother’s Day, meet me on the steps of Georgia State Capitol at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 10.
I’ll be the one in the minivan with a case of frozen pie.
Email me for directions or more details on the Atlanta event.
Buffalo readers meet on Monday, May 13th at 1:00 PM at Rep. Brian Higgins' office on 726 Exchange St. Contact Natalie Photiadis - firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect: Finding Joy, Meaning, and Satisfaction in the Life You've Already Got and the YOU You Already Are." She has been seen on "Good Morning America" and featured in Lifetime, Glamour and The New York Times. Contact her at www.ForgetPerfect.com.
EDITOR: You have permission to reprint this edition of Lisa Earle McLeod’s syndicated newspaper column Forget Perfect, “Moms deserve a piece of pie” Lisa Earle McLeod electronically or in print, free of charge, without further reprint permission as long as the bylines are included. © Copyright 2006, by Lisa Earle McLeod. All rights reserved. For further information on this story please contact Lisa Earle McLeod at 770-985-0760 or email@example.com
A Message From The Peace Alliance
Call and Write Congress Now!
Peace of the Pie Campaign
On behalf of Mothers Everywhere...
On May 12th, the Friday before Mother's Day, citizens from across the nation will be visiting over 150 congressional offices delivering pies, along with a national budget pie chart, showing the tiny slice that represents the portion of the U.S. federal budget requested for the Department of Peace.
CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMEMBERS NOW!
Even if you have called and written before...
If you don't have time to visit your congressional office, taking just a couple of minutes today to contact your two Senators and your member of the House of Representatives will make a world of difference to those visiting their congressional offices, showing that there is a substantial movement happening with their constituents in support of this landmark initiative.
In order for our teams visiting the offices to have a larger impact, we need your support!
1. Write your Members of Congress:
2. Call your Members of Congress:
If you know the names of your members of the House and Senate, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, they will connect you. To find their names and contact information, visit: www.congress.org.
Sample Call Script:
Hi, my name is ______ I’m a constituent of Senator/Congressman(woman) ______’s district. I’m calling to urge her to become a co-sponsor of the Department of Peace legislation currently in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The bill number for the Senate is S. 1756 (or House is H.R. 3760).
I would like to receive a written response as to his/her position on this legislation. Thank you for taking the time to hear my thoughts on this important issue.
It's as simple as that.
All of us at The Peace Alliance
P.S. It's not too late to participate with delivering pies in your area! Simply buy a pie, download our materials and bring it by your congressional office(s) at lunchtime tomorrow. Learn more at: www.thepeacealliance.org/content/view/104/