I am not particularly fond of Mother's Day. For the first few years of adulthood, I had high expectations for holidays; I was often disappointed. Because of my disappointment, I have slowly become more realistic in my expectations for birthdays and Christmas—even Valentine's Day fails to undo me now—and just don't expect much.
Mother's Day, on the other hand, still makes me tense and grouchy.
My husband blames himself for my allergy to that one Sunday in May. For a while, I thought he was right. He forgot all about Mother's Day the year I had our first child. To his credit, he more than made up for it by chauffeuring me all night to my mom's, and then driving all the way home to make it into work on time the next day. The second year, he planned a rock concert for the youth of our church and scheduled it … for Mother's Day. He made up for that, too, though. He took me to the Shakespeare Festival the night before. The two years that followed, he got sick on Mother's Day, and I was his obliging nurse. Can't help physical illness, right?
As I approach my fifth Mother's Day as a mother, I am already feeling something a lot like dread. The hubby planned a youth cookout for the night of May 13—at our house. But that's not really a problem. I love the teenagers, and I would have been with them at the church that night, regardless. It's just part of being a minister's wife.
After thinking about it, I have come to realize that my something-like-dread feeling is actually guilt, and there are two reasons for my mommy-shame. The first is my experiences with depression and anxiety. My kids lost out on the mother I could have been while I struggled to straighten out my emotional issues. I am prone to blaming everything on this struggle, from my children's misbehavior at home to separation anxiety when they set off to school. I know this isn't the real reason behind my kids' antics, but it's often my initial line of reasoning. On a day meant to celebrate all the great mothers in the world, I feel unworthy.
The second issue has more to with how Mother's Day is celebrated. It's supposed to be a day to pamper mom. The best way to pamper me, honestly, is to send me far, far away from my children. I spend every day with my kids. I pour juice, read books, watch cartoons, clean messes, cook meals, pick up toys, give baths, run errands, discipline, sing songs, kiss boo-boos and generally make sure the whole universe revolves around my two boys. Every day is Kids' Day in this mama's world. So on Mother's Day, my day, I want a teensy bit of that universe—just a planet or two—to revolve around me.
I'd like to relax and read while sipping a Blondie in Cups, wander Borders and pick out a new journal, meet a girlfriend for lunch, have dinner with my husband or maybe just take a nice, long nap. I don't need an expensive gift or a fancy party. I just want time.
In the past, my opinion that the holiday is about mom and not mom's kids has earned me scowls, glares and even one open admonishment for my "outrageous selfishness." I know, however, that I can't be the only woman out there who gives and gives and gives, and just asks that this one day, set aside for her, actually be her day. As my kids grow up and begin to pull away from me, I am sure this will change, but while they are small, all my days belong to them. I want this one Sunday in May to be mine.
2007 Mothers' Index Rankings
Top 10 (Best places to be a mother)
(The United States ranks 26th.)
Bottom 10 (Worst places to be a mother)
Source: Save the Children USA
In the past, my opinion that the holiday is about mom and not mom’s kids has earned me scowls, glares and even one open admonishment for my “outrageous selfishness.” I know, however, that I can’t be the only woman out there who gives and gives and gives, and just asks that this one day, set aside for her, actually be her day. As my kids grow up and begin to pull away from me, I am sure this will change, but while they are small, all my days belong to them. I want this one Sunday in May to be mine.
And you deserve it. That's why it's called MOTHER'S Day. I hope that one day you get the Mother's Day you've always wanted.
One day is not too much to ask. All you have to do is ask.
For the past 10 years, our tradition has been that my husband takes the kids out for a nice long breakfast (maybe a trip to the park, too), then comes home with yummy breakfast and gifts for mom. Its less of an issue now that my children are older, and don't wake up at 6 am demanding attention every single day.
Send the family out on a long errand to procure breakfast, while you sleep in, or take an uninterrupted shower, or get them to bring you coffee and newspaper in bed before they leave.
Send them away, and enjoy it. You're not the only mom who wants peace for a day, or even a morning. Plus, it's a great lesson in the notion that "gifts" don't have to be material things. They can be gifts of time and space and sensitivity. Which is an important lesson for the little buggers.
Hubby got up and took both boys with him to the early service at church. I slept in and then showered and got ready all by myself. I met him for the late service. After lunch, I went out all by myself. I spent hours in Cups, writing.
It was good.
Glad you enjoyed yourself, Heather. When mama's happy, everybody's happy. :-)