Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Hallmark and buffet style restaurants alike are eagerly awaiting the world’s offspring to hop on the appreciation wagon and ‘Show a Mom You Care.’ I dread it every single year. Mostly because there is a stark contrast between what I imagine Mother’s Day to be and what it actually is, despite anyone’s/everyone’s best intentions. It should be a day for moms around the world to completely check out, for the entire day, without being the subject of judgment or ridicule. For exactly 24 hours, 1 day in May, every single year, I do not exist. Carry on children, I love you, but I’ll see you tomorrow ready to resume my role with a new attitude and skip in my step. Of course I love being your mother. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, nor am I wishing these precious years away, quite the opposite in all honesty. But that is not the point. The point is, Mother’s Day is not about you. It’s about me, and all of the other moms out there who have been anxiously awaiting this once a year valid excuse to disengage from their ginormous and never-ending pile of motherhood crap. No offense kids, but today, I am invisible. Mommy’s a magician. Now you see me, now you don’t.
The whole idea sounds quite nice in theory. A day set aside by society to honor all mothers near and far. Silent permission to be selfish and treat thyself first. A free pass to engage in activities that otherwise would not be engaged in without at least some small level of guilt (i.e. an afternoon nap, a martini at noon, an uninterrupted bath, a Netflix marathon that doesn’t involve hitting the pause button every eleven seconds to discuss yet again why it is not okay to throw sharp objects at your little brother, etc., etc.).
I call bullshit on the whole damn thing. The self inflicted shame in and of itself is enough to make me want to fast forward to the next day. “Why can’t we watch tv with you Mommy? It’s Mother’s Day. We should watch something together as a family. You could make us some popcorn, oooooh, and milkshakes!” The guilt is beyond measure and it always comes down to a choice. Spend the entire day with my children, who for all practical purposes are the sole reason I get to celebrate this monumental day, or send them away thinking they are the only children in the world not spending Mother’s Day with their mother, who clearly must hate them.
Here’s the deal kiddos. I love you. A lot. I love you more than I could ever possibly explain in words and more than you could ever possibly imagine. I love you so much that the thought of not being your mommy and/or not being around to take care of you and protect you in a few short years from this shit ass world for the rest of your life drops me to my knees gasping for air. Motherhood has done something to me, and it’s not all unicorns and rainbows either, but back to my original point, a list of Mother’s Day demands.
- Do not wake me up early to eat overcooked pancakes with a plastic spoon that are over-drizzled with a secret sauce.
- Do not ask repeated questions about what extra fun things we’re going to do to celebrate the day, as if it should include a trip to the zoo or something. Mommy hates the zoo, and it’s not your birthday.
- NO GIFTS. Although I do truly cherish the handmade treasures and wrapped up nicknacks I already knew I had, I want them all tomorrow. Sorry kids, but I don’t want to share my moment attempting to exercise enthusiasm for the clay ‘thing’ I am certain never to guess its intended purpose for without absolutely crushing the soul of the creator, and/or listening to my offspring endlessly argue over which of their gifts mommy likes best.
- I also don’t want to spend the entire day repeating the following phrase 97 times in a sing-song voice, “All I want for Mother’s Day is for my children to listen and be nice to each other.” Good one. It’s probably just best not to ask what I want.
- Above all else, I do not want to go out to eat. This is not a treat. This is a fucking nightmare. No thanks. Catch me in twenty years when you have table manners and a checkbook.
I realize that one day I will undoubtedly crave my children’s presence on Mother’s Day. At that point in my life I will have all the time in the world to take a nap and/or reminisce about those perfect Mother’s Days of yore when little Buddy gave me a bouquet of dandelions and then sneezed on my waffle. However, my children will not be living with me then. I will have time between visits to miss them. They will have out-grown their desire to forcefully push one another into the corner of the coffee table to claim the first hug from Mommy on Mother’s Day. Their handmade gifts will be something I might even consider hanging on the wall in plain sight. I might get actual flowers and not a handful of weeds that I am allergic to. If I raised them right, they will say “please” and “thank-you” without being reminded and/or threatened. They will clear the table without whining and/or offer to pick up the check. And so on and so forth.
If they can’t come to visit me on Mother’s Day, I’ll be okay. I will take great comfort knowing that they are, God willing, at home with their own offspring, enjoying a well-deserved napless day of overcooked pancakes with a plastic spoon and their very own pile of weeds to nurture and adore.
I just want one day to not feel shameful for wanting to be selfish. I want one day to not worry about them. I want one day to not feel completely responsible for everything. I want one day to drink wine for the fun of it and not because I am scared shitless and over-analyzing what being a mom means. I want one day, that doesn’t include my own death, to feel at peace with the fact that I simply don’t feel like being a mom for one goddamn day.
Happy Mother’s Day.