How to Have a Happy Mother's Day (even when you get nothing)
Hi, Moms! Here is how the media thinks you should have a happy Mother's Day.
1. You sleep in. Happy, ever-thoughtful Dad sneaks out with the kids and makes breakfast. He keeps the kids quiet so you can get that extra hour of sleep that you desperately need, and I'm not kidding around. You have been working your ass off all year. You don't just deserve it; you really need extra sleep to get rid of those bags under your eyes.
2. Ever-considerate Dad peeks in your bedroom. Seeing that you are awake and beaming at him, fully rested and ready for your special day, you are handed a cup of steaming, hot coffee. The kids parade in with a tray of all of your favorite breakfast foods, plus a bud vase with a rose. You hug and thank them and put your tray to the side. You are presented with a homemade card. It has a sweet message and your heart fills with love as you read it and smother them with kisses and hugs.
3. You receive a gift. You don't care what the gift is, you are just so touched that you got one. If it's some kind of motherly jewelry that Dad picked out, you vow to wear it, but most likely it will be something made of craft sticks and a ton of glue and clay and glitter and those foamy stickers. You vow to keep that thing on display for the week.
4. The rest of the day is your special day! You do not have to clean or cook. You are given free time to explore your hobbies. Nobody fights on Mother's Day. Also, there is no whining.
Mamas, this is not realistic. If you think that this is what's going to happen, you are headed for Mother's Day disappointment.
Husbands who are really on top of the game can certainly pull it together. Does your husband present you with flowers regularly? How about gifts? If so, chances are good he can pull it together for Mother's Day if he wants to. But...he might miss the mark. He might be aware of the ads for Mother's Day and see right through the Hallmarky fakery and think to himself, "I'm glad I married a woman who doesn't buy into all that commercial crap." Or he might be worried about pleasing his own mother, and totally forget that nobody else is there to help your kids come up with something. Or maybe he's stressed out. After all, being a dad is full of its own strife! Maybe he's intimidated and feels that nothing he comes up with is good enough.
Or let's say he does go all out. What if he gives you breakfast in bed and flowers and comes up with a crafty gift for the kids to make. Will that completely fulfill you? Or will you still feel sorry for yourself as you wipe another poopy bottom and whine to yourself, "Can't someone else do this just for TODAY? Don't I deserve that?"
I'm sorry. Really, I am. The answer, of course, is no. You do not deserve it. And I'll tell you why -
YOU'VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME! I'M SO TIRED AND I WORK SO, SO HARD. NOBODY KNOWS HOW HARD I WORK! WHY CAN'T TODAY JUST BE ABOUT ME?????
Because it just can't. I'm sorry. You chose to have children, and you get poopy bottoms to wipe. Every day. This is the motherhood you signed up for. You're giving me that I-hate-you face, and I don't blame you one bit. I know these are words you don't want to hear, but feeling bitter on a holiday that is supposed to be all about YOU sucks. Big time. So chill with the evil eye because I promise I'm going to tell you how to fix Mother's Day once and for all.
Make Mother's Day about YOU as a MOM. Own it. Celebrate your decision to become a mother.
Spend your day doing what you love doing with your children. Love to go hiking? Go hiking. Love to read stories? Read. Love to cuddle up with a good animated movie and popcorn? Do it!
With every dish you wash, think about the day your child was born.
With every poopy bottom you wipe, think about how cute that little naked bottom is.
Look at your children's faces. Try to memorize them just as they are, bratty or calm, happy or in tears.
Acknowledge that your children do not appreciate you. They are simply not capable of it! Don't worry - the appreciation will come later when they are grown. They'll understand then. Give them time.
Go on a nature walk and help the kids pick a few wildflowers to put in vases. Escape the commercialism. Kids love to give, and most of the flowers on our Earth are free.
Do a load of laundry if you need to. Celebrate your regular old life because a regular old life is good! Your kids' clothes are probably a bit muddy with the spring rain. Think about how much fun they had that day when they got all dirty. Be grateful that you can provide this type of joy for them. Not every kid gets it.
Touch base with your mom, if you can. She doesn't need flowers or a card with your name signed on it. She would probably like to know that you finally grew up and now appreciate all that she did to raise you. Honor her.
When you cook for your family, think about your role as nourisher. When you read them stories, you are nourishing their minds, and when you feed them good food, you are nourishing their bodies. You are helping them become strong. You are instilling good habits. You are teaching them to love and respect their bodies. Don't forget to nourish yourself as well.
You alone can choose how you spend your Mother's Day. You can spend it feeling entitled and resentful, or you can choose to spend it loving the people you love the best. It's all a matter of perception.
Happy YOU Day, Mama!