Mothers Day is a hard day for a lot of Mormon women. I myself have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I think it’s refreshing to listen to talks and lessons that actually focus on women. On the other hand, the exalted rhetoric on motherhood, the heroic accounts of utter maternal selflessness, the essentialization of women, the exclusion (and sometimes painful inclusion) of women who are not mothers…. well, as I said before, it can be a hard day.
One thing that made that day doubly difficult for me a couple of years ago was when the bishopric passed out their annual gift to the women of the ward. It was a booklet by Elder Packer called “Blessings on the Hand of Women.” It was given with the best of intentions, and I appreciated the spirit of the gesture, but I could not help finding the booklet upsetting, with its anti-evolution and anti-homosexual comments.
Since then I’ve been interested in giving constructive advice to the bishopric on what would be nice, uplifting, inoffensive gifts to the women. (As a caveat, I do question why the bishopric even gives the women a gift. As far as I know, we women don’t give the men gifts on Fathers Day.) My first choice would be to donate the hundreds of dollars to help the women of Haiti, rather than spend a couple of dollars on each of us women in the ward. But I know the bishopric wants to give something tangible to the women, so here are some ideas from friends that would cost a couple of dollars or less each.
- a bookmark and a chocolate bar
- handmade artisan soap from etsy
- a packet of seeds
- cookies from a foundation whose proceeds go to supporting philanthropic causes
- a pen
Any other ideas? If you were going to receive a small gift from the bishopric, what would you like it to be? And how do you feel about the practice of the bishopric giving the women gifts?