Mother’s Day is a day that can come with grand expectations. On this day, I eagerly await being honored and appreciated. After all, I’ve been wearing my heart on my sleeve since the day I discovered I was pregnant. Is it too much to be acknowledged for having said heart battered, bruised and scarred? It stands to reason that the only thing that will make it all worthwhile is a day completely about making my every wish come true.
It’s boding to be a good one this year due to coronavirus and my son coining the acronym for MOM as Most Oppressive Mammal
When the kids were young, I used to request three things for Mother’s Day: A walk in nature, a day without fighting and no cooking or feeding of anyone. You can see already how this is going to go wrong. Thanks to my husband, two of the three were usually achievable.
One epic Mother’s Day involved me listening to three children fight while making breakfast. This was followed by frequent visits to the bedroom to update me on how they had been victimized. The interaction was followed by a drawn-out reprimand by dad which is always relaxing to listen to. Then, I enjoyed a delightful begrudging walk through the park while the fighting continued. After reaching my limit, I cancelled Mother’s Day and took everybody home. I then adopted full martyr mode and was going to make my own dinner. My husband concerned about his reputation whipped up scrambled eggs.
Done for another year.
Too High Expectations
To be fully honest, I really used to dislike Mother’s Day. There was an uncomfortable expectation that it was supposed to be more than what it was. We weren’t measuring up to the Facebook posts and the commercials. Therefore, it could only remain that I was not doing this motherhood thing well enough. Gifts never factored into Mother’s Day celebrations. It was a day of presence, not presents. I mostly wanted to just feel loved and that my existence mattered to the three people I brought into this world.
And then the epiphany…isn’t there always an epiphany?! If there wasn’t, this would be a long-winded whine. =)
The epiphany was that I needed to get over myself, take responsibility for my own happiness and do my own honoring. Not in a bitter, sulky, so there kind of way, but a self-care, decrease those expectations, take the pressure off sort of way. After all, what does any mother really want on her day…a day off from being energetically on and taking care of others…a day to be selfish.
And I was.
The Awesomeness of Selfish
I asked myself what would define a wonderful day: A lazy morning with a good book, coffee, no cooking, a walk outside and a yummy dinner. Then I made it happen. I made sure I had a good book beside my bed and organized myself a coffee. On going for a walk, I didn’t make people go with me, but they often did anyway. I didn’t cook or feed anyone and had no expectations on anyone else to cook for me either. I chose my dinner and was quite willing to order for myself if need be. My husband is a sweetie though and always makes sure I am well fed.
The funny thing was people stepped up to make day special and were especially appreciative when I made it clear what I wanted. Instead of leaving the standard of how much they loved me connected to how much thought they put into my day, I took care of myself and valued smaller gestures
I also started recognizing that real appreciation is 365 days a year, not one. The kids make me feel important in so many little ways…letting me put a ponytail in their hair when they are young men and can’t get a haircut due to COVID, teasing me with the above acronym and having a laugh about it while they’re doing the dinner dishes, plonking on the bed to discuss their little conversations with friends or how well their Super Smash tournament went and giving me a bite of whatever yumminess they are eating.
I’ve lowered the bar considerably, but I think that’s a good thing. When we can appreciate the simple things and take ownership of our own happiness, what we get is a lot of icing on the cake.
So, Happy Mother’s Day, all you wonderful parents. May you feel loved and valued 365 days, not just one, with a ton of icing on your cake.
Oh, and sweet SON, my little Self-Obsessed Negotiator. Shazam!