I really liked Mother’s Day…until I became a mother.
I finally hit my breaking point with Mother’s Day a while ago. We had two children under age three. We spent the morning wrangling them into church clothes, frantically getting everyone fed or nursed, and then sped off to church. At church, I spent the next hours running around after them…trying to keep the youngest one happy by having to nurse twice while we were there, and serving in a class looking after about 10 other children age three or under. By the end of church, I was completely exhausted–mentally, emotionally and physically. We rounded everyone up and loaded in the screaming hot car (because May in Arizona is like living on the sun sometimes), only to drive a half hour away and then celebrate at my mother-in-law’s house for the next four hours.
By the time we left there, I could barely contain my tears. We finally made it home, only to deal with our two little ones being so over-stimulated and loaded up on sugar that it took much longer than usual to calm them and get them to sleep after bath time.
I crawled into bed and just cried myself to sleep….this was NOT the Mother’s Day I had envisioned.
After a few more years of Mother’s Days that resulted in tears on my end, I vowed to just change my expectations. Every year, my husband would try his best to make the day special. But here’s what I learned:
- Breakfast in bed = he makes breakfast while I look after all the children and deal with the hangry meltdowns. It takes two hours to get the breakfast to my bed, and then another two hours to clean up after said breakfast…and I’m usually the one doing the cleaning.
- Going out to eat for Mother’s Day = waiting forever for a table, and then when we finally get one, the kiddos are so strung out and hungry and impatient that the dinner is a disaster and I usually don’t get to eat any food at a normal temperature food is served at.
- Mother’s Day is full of expectations on the part of my mother-in-law. She wants the day to be all about her…so anything that any other mom in the family needs or wants doesn’t matter…and any gift we get feels like it’s subpar. It’s a no-win situation!
- I felt like my own mom was overlooked in this whole calamity that was Mother’s Day every year, and that just made me feel horrible.
I have come to the conclusion that Mother’s Day was invented by a man.
Because if you ask me…if a woman invented Mother’s Day, it would look something like this:
Mom gets to go to brunch by herself or with her mom friends. Mimosas are flowing. And there’s no guilt because guess what?? It’s Mother’s Day! Mom gets to lay by the pool with those same mom friends. Maybe she gets to go shopping, or get a pedicure or massage. Or maybe mom just wants to be on her own…maybe take a nap, enjoy a cup of coffee, read, or go on a hike. Maybe she just wants to drive in a car in complete silence.
Bottom line: Mom gets to do what she wants.
After those realizations, I decided to make a change.
I let go of my expectations for Mother’s Day.
I realized I just needed to let it be about my mother-in-law. So it is! I celebrate earlier in the week with my own mom, so she feels special and loved. I don’t get bothered by these circumstances anymore, because for the last few years, my best friend and I have made our own Mother’s Day. Sometime after the holiday, we sneak away for a getaway or staycation. We do exactly what we want to do–relax, maybe get a massage. Eat, drink, shop and just enjoy the silence and the camaraderie.