See, even before I was a mom, I imagined that Mother’s Day meant I would be celebrated. I envisioned a relaxing day, with me feeling special and doted upon and not having to deal with (or listen to) a single tantrum. I assumed Mother’s Day meant that I would get to sleep in (really sleep in, with my human alarm clocks waking me up). And I pictured taking a day off from steering the ship that is my family. Truth be told, I thought that Mother’s Day meant I’d get a day off from mothering.
Of course, you know where I’m going with this: Reality is far different than my dreams. Mother’s Day isn’t what I imagined at all.
Yes, my husband might say I can sleep in, but I won’t actually get any rest. That’s because my kids’ version of letting me sleep in involves them standing over me, breathing heavily while shout-whispering, “Are you done sleeping in yet?” And the relaxing day of my dreams will actually involve me racing to a facial, even though I’d secretly be just as happy lying in bed and catching up on bad TV. And as for the kids, they’ll do their best to be on their best behavior. This will last about an hour until one of them bugs the other just long enough to push the other over the edge of tolerance and into sibling bickering. And while my husband will do his best to step in, the kids will beg for Mommy. Just like every other day.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate being a mother. I love my kids and don’t mind the work that comes with being a mom any other day of the year. But if there’s going to be a holiday in my honor, I’d like to actually enjoy it. I’d like Mother’s Day to be about me. I’d like to enjoy my day doing things I like to enjoy without the pressure to still be mom. But checking out for a day is nearly impossible, at least for every mom I know. So I’ve come to hate Mother’s Day, for all the pressure to enjoy a day that isn’t actually about me at all.
Because the truth is, what most moms really want for Mother’s Day isn’t jewelry, a new handbag, or a trip to the spa. We want a day off. A maternal pause, if you will. We want to relax without feeling like we are disappointing someone else. We want a break from breaking up fights, re-tying shoelaces, and carpooling kids around town. We don’t want to cook dinner, nor do we want to clean it up. We want what has been promised. We want one day that is just about us.
So this year I’m going to enjoy Mother’s Day for what it’s worth. I’m not expecting to sleep in, nor am I thinking I’ll get a break from all the mothering that comes with being a mom. And I’ll do my best to enjoy the day, despite my kids’ fights or bad moods. Because in the not too distant future my kids will be grown and my two human alarm clocks will have moved out. They may or may not be close by for Mother’s Day and I’ll have an entire day, if not more, to relax. And I’ll miss the days when my kids didn’t let me sleep in because they were thrilled to see me and the times when they wanted to play Pokeman for hours on end because I was their favorite person. Mother’s Day will be exactly like I dreamed it could be. It’ll be all about me and I’ll hate it still.