Ah, Mother’s Day. If your social media feed is to be believed, it is a beautiful, love-filled affair of the most perfect proportions. Moms posing with their smiling children gathered up in their arms (myself included). All manner of arts and crafts and thoughtful gifts being featured. (Guilty).
But there is another side of Mother’s Day that you probably won’t catch on your friends’ Facebook or Instagram pages. It’s called: “Kids Don’t Give a Shit What Day It Is, They’ll Cry-Kick-Scream If They Want To.”
Basically, this Sunday is the same as any other day. Except, wrap it in tissue paper, tie it with a bow, serve it up with a Hallmark-worthy poem and suddenly it’s Mother’s Day.
You feeling me?
Let me go back a year. Last Mother’s Day was, to the best of my recollection, a clusterf**k. It was a forced endeavour fuelled by fighting kids, yelling and all the usual business that goes along with trying to have a peaceful day and failing miserably. While I don’t remember the exact details, I remember feeling sad that this would be my memory.
Fortunately, much like the pain of giving birth, these memories fade over time. This is clearly the brain’s built-in mechanism to ensure we aren’t scarred for life.
Like most holidays, Mother’s Day — for those who celebrate it — is filled with a whole lot of expectations. I remember back to when I was little, asking my mom what she would like for this moms-only occasion and her answer, always, was: “Just to have a peaceful day.” Of course, I didn’t believe her because who wants a bucketful of peace and quiet when they could have a beautifully scented artificial rose bought at the closest 7-11?
I never understood this sentiment until I became the mother of four emotionally-charged kids.
I SO get it, now.
You see, most moms don’t yearn for expensive jewelry or flowers or spa days. (Honey, if you’re reading this, I said most moms.) No, most moms want the things that don’t cost anything and yet are priceless: sleep; a quiet corner to read a book, uninterrupted; to have someone cook and clean for them and NO FIGHTING FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. (Oh, and yes to all the handmade, love-filled cards and crafts.)
To be fair, my husband does the lion’s share of cooking and laundry (yes, y’all, I totally lucked out with this guy.) And while I’d love to sleep in and even have breakfast in bed, it turns out I signed up for the Sporting Life 10K so I’ll be up at the butt-crack of dawn with my husband to go huff it out for an hour or so as the sun comes up over downtown Toronto.
But when I get back, exhausted and exhilarated, Starbucks firmly in hand, all I want is to enjoy some relative peace and quiet. Not to be confused with alone time. I don’t want my husband stressing about making the day perfect. I don’t want my kids to be paranoid that the slightest sideways comment will cause them to be scolded. I don’t want them banned from my presence because doesn’t that defeat the very purpose of the day we are celebrating?
Hey, I’ve had the spa days. I even had a moms’ weekend away with a girlfriend once (and the weather was cold and nasty and it was like the universe kicking me in the arse.) This year, at least, I don’t feel like I need an escape from my kids on Mother’s Day. But I would like an escape from the crazy.
Most of you know by now that I lost my mom nearly 18 years ago. Special occasions that once were celebrated with a loved one who is no longer living are especially emotional, and this day is especially significant for me. I go into this day with a sense of appreciation and gratefulness because, hey, I’m here. My kids have their mama and I want to show them how very much I treasure their love.
So while I don’t want a day filled with unrealistic expectations, I do want a day filled with love, thoughtful gestures, kindness and peace. My kids are already beside themselves with excitement over the special gifts they’ve prepared and I will cry reading every word on every card. This I know. Because despite the crazy, my heart has never been fuller.