This has me thinking. Why is parenthood the only role that gets honored with a special holiday? I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a friend, an employee and the caretaker of 3 cats, and yet none of these roles has been deemed worthy for me to get a national holiday. Okay, I do get honored on my wedding anniversary, but that's by hubby only. There is no national holiday called "Wife's Day".
The idea behind Mother's Day and Father's Day is that moms and dads deserve to be honored because their role is the ultimate in sacrifice. They do so much for us that we must show our appreciation. A national holiday is in order.
I don't think anyone would disagree that parents do so much for their kids (if they are parenting correctly, anyway) but here's my question. Why should a person be honored and worshipped for taking care of their responsibilities? A person makes the choice to reproduce and bring another person into the world, so shouldn't it be expected that they will take care of the being they produced? It's not some heroic act of charity and kindness that propels them into caring for their children - it's duty. Do they really deserve a national holiday to thank them for meeting their responsibilities? We have 3 cats who we chose to bring into our household, so we take care of them. I feed them twice a day, hubby cleans their litterboxes and we give them lots of love and attention every day. This is the responsibility that comes along with having pets and we knew this going in. We chose to have them, so we must take care of them properly. That makes us responsible. It doesn't make us saintly or deserving of a national holiday to celebrate the wonderfulness that is the pet owner.
It all comes back to the persistent mythology in our culture which defines parenthood as the most saintly, selfless and important role a person can undertake in life. Because it often does not feel that way to parents (many of them are miserable, run down by the day-to-day grind of caring for kids, and know their motives for having kids were selfish and not saintly), this positive reinforcement is necessary to sustain the mythology, thus ensuring that more and more people breed and bring more and more consumers into the world who will eventually purchase lots and lots of stuff (Mother's Day cards and gifts, for example).