Welcome to 2023, readers! It is a brand-new year, and we are setting new goals and reevaluating and pivoting old intentions. This season is full of promise, hope and fresh energy, a rebirth of ourselves and our lives as we imagine what can be.
In 1907 (or 1908, depending on your source) Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day after holding a service to honor her late mother, who had organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health. She’d envisioned the day as a small, intimate celebration of a mother by her children. By 1912, many churches and communities were celebrating it, and Anna wrote to newspapers and politicians to push for wider adoption of the day. By 1914, it was declared a national holiday, and rampant commercialization took over. Anna became very disillusioned with this commercialization and was disappointed at what the commemoration of her mother had become.
That commercialization can make Mother’s Day a very sad and stressful time of year for so many: those who have lost their mothers, those who have lost children, those who want children but cannot have them, those who are still grieving abortions, those who do not want to have children but feel familial or societal pressure to do so. It also amplifies “traditional” family values, family as mom-dad-baby, alienating not only those without “moms” in the traditional sense, but those who do not have traditional, biological families: those in the foster system, those whose families have disowned them because they are transgender or queer, those who have run away from untenable situations.
That is why I love that Austin Woman celebrates moms and family in January, in this season of hope and renewal. Motherhood is about more than having offspring. Motherhood is making space for people where they are and caring for them as they are so they can grow into who they want to be. Motherhood is creating that safe space, that family space.
tk tunchez, our cover woman this month, exemplifies motherhood in the sense of unconditional love for her children and her community, a community she is actively building and nurturing to create welcome spaces for people who might not otherwise have that sense of belonging, a community focused on BIPOC and queer folx in Austin. The Women’s Storybook Project of Texas upholds the true meaning of family by ensuring mothers who are incarcerated have the means to stay connected to their children without judgment, only with love.
I, myself, am a mom to a wonderful queer, gender nonconforming teenager, two rescue dogs and an adorable cat. My little family of five brings me joy every day, and I am grateful to have motherly inspiration in so many forms around me and more public validation of the beauty of nontraditional families in our culture. The Respect for Marriage Act is a step in the right direction for our country, but we still have so much work to do, and Austin Woman is committed to leading the way by celebrating all mothers and all families.
Jen Ramos Perkins,
Director of Business Operations