I’m not going to lie to you. When my kids were little, I HATED Mother’s Day. Perhaps my expectations were too high. Perhaps I compared my circumstances to the perfect lives you see in Hollywood movies where the day begins with the pitter-patter of tiny feet bursting into a bedroom as the words, “Happy Mother’s Day, mommy!” resonate off the walls. Hallmark-style, this is almost always followed up with a proud life partner walking in with a tray of breakfast in bed.
That wasn’t my life. I was a single mother. For me, Mother’s Day was just another reminder of how alone I really was. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The one day of the year that celebrates the role we play in our tiny human’s lives, 365 days a year, was also my loneliest.
And here’s another confession: my jewelry box is still almost entirely filled with necklaces made of macaroni, hand-crafted especially for me for … you guessed it, Mother’s Day. These precious pieces of jewelry represent many years (pronounced: YEARS) of memories. This, in spite of the fact that each only ever received one day of wear. (Just don’t tell my kids.)
The truth is that when I think back, I actually miss those days. I also missed an opportunity.
Mother’s Day isn’t just about taking a break from the many loads of laundry and diapers that we devotedly tend to. Mother’s Day is the perfect day to teach our children an important soft skill. A skill that isn’t taught in schools. It’s the skill of showing consideration for others.
Looking back, I realize now that I made Mother’s Day about me when really, I should have been making it about US, my children and I. Instead of wearing my loneliness to the pity party, I could have been taking the time to involve my children in planning a real celebration.
“Let’s only wear red on Mother’s Day. Red, the colour of love because I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!”
“Let’s spend the morning in my bed with toast and peanut butter and our favourite books.”
“Let’s put on our comfy clothes and have a picnic on the living room floor for supper.”
“Let’s do a cheers! To Mother’s Day and I am so happy to be your mother.”
Looking back, I realize now that I wasn’t alone at all. On any other day, I would have told you just how full my heart really was. Yes, Mother’s Day back then was just another day of laundry and diapers. And I would have loved for someone to make big plans with my kids for a “surprise” breakfast in bed.
But there’s so much more to celebrating than what’s depicted in the perfect lives of Hollywood-like scenes.
What we need to remember is that celebrating is about OBSERVING. Observing with small gestures. And when we make our day special, our children pick up on that. They learn to show consideration for others by sharing in their moments. In the end, these moments become life lessons for them and cherished memories for us all.
There’s a lot of talk about how being “assertive” and “independent” is the new sexy. And how we as women don’t need permission from others. When we want something, it’s up to us to go out and get it. Perhaps that’s a topic for another article. And maybe Mother’s Day is an opportunity for us to remember that.
Now go forth and create the best damn Mother’s Day you and your kids ever saw!