A few years ago, I had a mental break
downthrough about Mother’s Day.
We were finishing up Mother’s Day brunch where I’d spent most of the time reminding my kids to please eat with their utensils, to please stop fighting under the table.
I didn’t want people to think I was a horrible mother on Mother’s Day of all days.
Their behaviors were amplified, highlighted, and contrasted with the ideals of being the Perfect Mom.
So by the end of the ordeal, when my husband asked sweetly, “What else do you want to do today?” I slurped down the rest of my mimosa, surveyed the disaster on the table, and said, “You know what? I’m taking the day off.”
“What does that even mean?” he asked in confusion, “Are you saying you don’t want to be with the kids on Mother’s Day?”
“No, that’s not really it, although it’s close,” I replied. “I just don’t want to ‘mother’ on Mother’s Day.”
We were both aghast. And for a second, I wondered if it was the mimosa(s) talking or a deeper, darker truth that I had denied until now.
Turns out it was both.
My mimosa-inspired revelation was quite clear. I don’t want to “mother” on Mother’s Day.
I don’t want to go home after brunch and be asked to make lunch when they just ate their body weight in pancakes. They should be good to go until dinner. (Speaking of dinner, I don’t want to make that, either.)
I don’t want to go through the Friday Folder (which I do every Sunday night) to find stuff like *surprise!* next week all the third graders need to dress up like Pilgrims.
(What do Pilgrims even wear? Whatever it is, I guarantee it’s not hanging in my daughter’s closet.)
Or your child has been assigned to bring 23 individually sliced pieces of mango for the “Fun Fruit Party.” (Dear Mrs. Teacher, have you ever sliced a mango? It’s a slippery nightmare involving a knife.)
I don’t want to negotiate how many more minutes my son can play video games. Or how many bites of broccoli he has to eat before he can go back to playing video games.
I don’t want to do any of it.
As much as motherhood is celebrated, it’s a lot of work. And as much as moms love their children, sometimes we need a break. What better day than Mother’s Day?
We don’t labor on Labor Day, so why should we mother on Mother’s Day?
Don’t worry. As I established earlier, I am not a horrible mother on Mother’s Day of all days.
We still have our traditional celebration in the morning where the kids express their love with handmade cards, my husband his appreciation with flowers.
We still go to brunch where the kids eat like wild animals and I down a half-dozen mimosas.
But then, as soon as someone says, “I’m hungry. What’s for lunch?” I go wherever the day beckons, as long as it’s out the front door of my house.
One year, I went to the office to work. I focused on a project until it was actually done rather than when I needed to take my son to soccer practice.
Another year, I flew out to Florida for a business trip. I settled into my clean hotel room with its perfectly-made bed and watched a movie. All. By. My. Self. (And it was rated R.)
Most times, I just wander around Target. Stores are usually closed on Mother’s Day, but Target has the decency to stay open. They probably make a killing with all the mommies half-buzzed on mimosas.
So to all you Brave Moms, hang up that Perfect Mom apron. Take a day for yourself and hold your own Mother’s Day Strike.
Enjoy the one day out of the year when there is no laundry beckoning you to fold it, no dirty toilets shaming you into cleaning them, no children whining for you to fill their bottomless stomachs.
For one day out of the year, allow yourself to be unbound by time or expectations or anyone else’s agenda except your own.
For one day out of the year, have a Happy Mother’s Day.