“It’s never overreacting to ask for what you want and need.”
Truth? Up until last year, I hated Mother’s Day. To me, it is a completely screwed up holiday. With the exceptions of breakfast in bed, flowers, sweet gluey cards, and a few warm reflections, it quickly becomes a day like any other. You can call it a commercial holiday (if you like sleeping on the sofa), but when a woman is hopeful for a day of rest and acknowledgement, unfulfilled expectations can weigh heavily.
For some reason certain people - ahem, spouses - have perpetuated a damaging myth that women should want to spend this promised day of fluffy-clouded serenity with the very humans that made them a mother. Mother's Day is supposed to be about moms, but too often we spend the day wrangling our screaming children into nice clothes for church or brunch followed by hours of family time. I have to believe that this is the opposite of what most women hope for or need.
I love my children with every breath of my being, and because of this, they have sucked most of the wind out of me by Friday. What I really want for Mother’s Day is designated time on my own. Don’t misread me: I love the glitter, French toast, and watching my breakfast tray tip like a ship at sea. I love the little chubby hands, the cuddles, and excitement. But truly, all of this, including the fight that breaks out on my bed over who stirred the batter, can be accomplished in less than forty minutes.
So last May I made the decision to remodel this most unsatisfying day. I held a Mother’s Day party for some of my favourite women strategically from the hours of 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. This time slot ensured that everyone could still go to church, brunch, enjoy naptime and then get the hell out for the dark hours of the day. You know, when the novelty has worn off and everyone drags their tired, irritated selves out for the dreaded lovely family walk or trip to the park. The time where mom is supposed to feel so grateful for her feigned sleep-in (otherwise known as cowering while listening to every dish hit the floor below), that she responds to her family with only smiles of thankful bliss.
The invitation was open to any female friend of mine who had been born of a mother.
I made a playlist, we dressed in spring colors, drank out of tippy glasses and ate with dignity. With no agenda we caught up and exhaled. I learned that Mother’s Day is a really sad day for those who have lost their mothers through death or estrangement. Single mom friends also need acknowledgment, as their kids cannot possibly spoil them in the way they deserve. By seven - okay, eight - everyone had left safe in the knowledge that bedtime was well underway at home.
I plan on continuing this tradition every year that I can. If you like this idea but don’t want to party plan, perhaps a shopping trip followed by dinner out might do the trick. A movie followed by a coffee or spa treatments. Truthfully, I would hide in the bushes with a small keg to protect this sacred time.
I think as women and mothers we sometimes silently expect the people we love to know what we want and feel sad when they can’t read our minds. Making part of Mother’s Day exactly what I wanted was perfect for me. Bless those of you who want something different. You are made of stronger stuff than I.
As for you like-minded sisters, please consider joining the movement. Nobody can take care of us like each other. When planning your Mother’s Day walkout, remember there is safety in numbers. It especially helps if your spouse has a healthy fear of most of your girlfriends. Plan the day your way, stride out the door without guilt, and make sure to avoid eye contact.