*Warning: You might want to adjust your computer to read this in your best bratty font. That seems to be my tone d’jour. Sorry. Sort of. I’m shooting for honesty. I’m hopeful that honesty isn’t hurtful. But I’ll fully acknowledge that I sound like a bit of a brat here and am probably acting like one, too. So, go ahead. Take away my Mother’s Day.
My first May as a mama was fantastic. My 6-month-old bought me a present I’d been wanting, we had a delicious lunch with our moms and probably squeezed in a nap and some pizza. After that, it all went downhill. This year, I officially gave up on Mother’s Day until 2034, in which I hope to reap benefits twenty-fold.
When my toddler decided to give the gift she made in preschool to her dad instead of me (as he is the preferred parental unit these days), I dismissed it as unknowing childishness. When my Mother’s Day gift was half a size too big, I chalked it up to “exchangeable” (thanks, Amazon!). Then the toddler climbed into bed at 6:45 after the infant was awake for most of the 4:00am hour, and I was over the thought that I actually get a day off. Which makes it much easier to load the kids into a car for a few hours and ask them to sit still, quietly, through a meal at a restaurant.
I told my friend this morning at church that had pretty much given up on Mother’s Day as a day for me and she agreed. She had been up at 5:15 making her contribution for the family potluck while everyone else slept until 7:15. Another friend hosted an extended family gathering, only days after having a major surgery.
I returned home from church, fake flowers from the nursery class in hand, with a child who refused to eat lunch and carnage from leaving breakfast and lunch to daddy.
Why has this day become so difficult? Why can’t a simple thing like celebrating motherhood just happen without bells and whistles? We’ve even added other complications, the way we feel all the feels around the big M Day. Those who have lost mothers. Those who want desperately to join this seemingly elite club. Those who went through the pain of loss before taking the baby home. Adoptive mamas, birth moms, women opted for abortion and now live with regrets and questions.
My neighbor had one child, a son. He died at 19 years old. I have to wonder how she struggles on a day like this, if she asks if she’s “still a mother”? Undoubtedly, she is, as she’s endured the years of motherhood. But who is bringing her a hanging basket of petunias?
It began as a nice gesture. Let’s take a day and make mom feel loved. But somehow it evolved into a national holiday with requirements and pre-requisites. Qualifiers and boundary markers. Long, long lines at Red Lobster. Flowers and cards and sermons. And all any mom really wants is a nap, a peaceful bathroom and a meal we neither cooked nor cleaned up.
In the gift of creating a day to honor and show appreciation for mothers, we heap more Mom Guilt on their shoulders. We either opt out of enjoying a good book to do up the day spectacularly for our own families with all kinds of festivities or mourn the loss of opportunity to do so. Neither of those options include a nap. And everyone feels bad. My mother-in-law is reading this thinking, “we shouldn’t have went out to dinner.” That’s in fact not my point. Her guilty feeling is my point. I love celebrating my MIL. (She’s the best. She did such a good job raising kids, I decided to marry one of them.) I’d kinda feel left out if JJ said, “why don’t you just stay home?”. Actually, I’d be a bit huffy. But the fact that we’re both trying to do something to celebrate the other, exemplifies my point exactly.
The problem, it seems, is that we can’t pack all this mom-honoring into a singular day.
So I came up with my own solution: my own Mother’s day, M2 Day. Next week. (This, coming from a girl who celebrates a birthday week).
A friend and I are making the trek and enjoying a guilt-free afternoon, road-tripping with something other than the Frozen soundtrack. We enjoyed our families today – our extended families and the sweet sentiments of our children’s best attempts to show us their love. (Excluding bedtime. Really, if they loved me, they’d just go. to. bed.)
And next week, we’ll have our own little M2 day. To me, it’s having our cake (with our mothers-in-law) and eating it, too (in the quiet).