Cheers to the Mothers out there! We are coming up on a Hallmark-induced holiday. Research shows that it was started with a noble meaning, and I guess, it still sort of rings – or maybe at least twinkles – with that sentiment.
I don’t mean to come off as bitter or brisk, but seriously… Let’s get real here people! Let’s look at the realities of what a Mother’s Day when you are ‘in the weeds’ is actually like with small children. Then, we’ll talk.
(This does not relate to how I shower my own mother with love on Mother’s Day. She’s already survived these years. Bless her.)
The advertisers say:
**”Treat your mother to a spa day!” — ummm….. does that come child-free? Does wanting a Mother’s Day gift that doesn’t involve the child that made me a mother make me a selfish monster? Hmmm…
**”Surprise her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers!” — Flowers are a nice sentiment. They look bright and zingy while my children are screeching at each other about a ball or iPad time.
**”Chocolate.” — While I am always 100% game for chocolate (non-dairy, so fake chocolate), this does not a smooth day make. If my child gives it to me as a special item, I’ll treasure the thoughtfulness behind it for a few moments. But me secretly eating mini-chips by the handful out of the bag in my freezer, not quite so meaningful.
**Lunch or dinner out – so my young kids can groan about food in public instead of at home. It is a joy of the highest order to ask the waiter for something hot-dog based at a nice restaurant because the nicer, garnished, plated version of the similar foods we eat family-style at home are now unpalatable. This too shall pass…
You know, I’m just not good at gifts. This all sounds snarky and unappreciative. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate gifts or love being with my crew, it is just that I feel so
‘in the weeds’ ‘UNDER the weeds’ tunneling through life that if I was able to choose, I’d never CHOOSE any of these things!
As I sit here listening to a podcast about how to be a good parent, typing about Mother’s Day, and frankly, taking a break from the accounting project on my desk, I think my ideal Mother’s Day would look like this:
Normal morning – 6ish wake time. Quick couple of miles on the run. When I get home, my sleepy people either aren’t awake or are just waking up. I LOVE to stroke their hair and face and wake them up slowly. I LOVE to see them run the house in their jammies. I LOVE to be greeted by their morning hugs. Breakfast is low-key. I could either make waffles or we go with the solid stand-by of cereal or granola bars. No fights, whines, or on the floor tantrums about anything up to this point.
Church is on Sunday – Mother’s Day. Everybody gets dressed without tears about clothing or shoes. I swear the shoe situation is just all-around cursed. Why? Whyyyyyyy? Just put two shoes on without contemplating which dinosaur had the longest toes or which baby we should name “Vivian Laila S” for ten minutes! We get through the whole service without any dirty looks (from my son to me- when did 7 become the new 13?) or fights about who is sitting on Grandpa’s lap.
Lunch – We could eat out somewhere simple, where the hot dog that will inevitably get ordered is standard fare. Or we could have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grapes, and chips at home. I’m good with that.
Afternoon – everybody rests or reads books quietly in their rooms. After rest time, we do something as a family preferably outdoors. If the weather doesn’t permit it, everybody
plays a game or a puzzle. Then as the day goes on, people chime in to be helpful with anything that catches their eye. I honestly mean ANYTHING. That towel that he/she picks up off the bathroom floor is better than a 1,000,000 fragrant bouquets.
Evening – we like to grill. I’d be happy to throw something on. The hubs and T will have baseball practice. Maybe I don’t go because M and I are doing something special, just us girls.
Any way around it, there has been no tattling to this point. No throw downs or intentionally, slyly sticking his foot out. No hair pulling just to get her attention. She hasn’t screamed at him. Family time without the feuding.
Night- bedtime. Baths. Snuggles. Sleep.
That would be my perfect day to celebrate being a mother. I don’t want a gift or some token. Upon reflection, it seems that I don’t want to spend my day away from my loves to relax. I want to be with them the entire time. I want to smile and laugh with them. I just want a break from the work as referee.
To the other moms who are tunneling through the weeds with your littles, my heart goes out to you. Don’t let Hallmark’s projected view of the foofy, lalalala, rainbow riding unicorn, glitter and confetti, relaxing Mother’s Day get you down. We know that stuff isn’t always real. The LOVE is what’s real.
As cliche as it sounds, I think we have to soak in these moments. Here in the weeds these small people think the world revolves around us. That’s pretty amazing. They want to walk, talk, and BE just like us when they get older. They only focus on our shiny side.
Good and bad alike, this too shall pass. Someday we’ll be sitting at home hoping for that text, phone call or Hallmark card that acknowledges that we are still important to them. We will hope that they still see only our shiny side.
Right now, we are their whole world. Moms, we have to try not to wish it away.