A few thoughts on mother's day

My mom and I in 1971.

My mom and I in 1971.

My birthday and Mother's day generally fall about a month apart. I'll be honest with you, in years past I've approached both of those occasions with a fair amount of trepidation. Part of my anxiety has been alleviated by merely lowering my expectations. Not that my husband doesn't give his all -- in fact, he is famous for a homemade carrot cake he pretty much only makes on Mother's day. But still, Mother's day is rarely the Pinterest-y, blog-worthy occasion I have pictured in my head. That would look something like this:

I sleep till nine and am woken by the sunlight streaming gently through the blinds AND the merry laughter of my husband and kids in the kitchen. I walk out (I prefer NOT to eat in my bed) to beautiful omelettes, an icy Diet Coke, and fresh flowers on the table. The family eats, chats about the day, talks deeply about current events. We then dress for church -- me in a brand new outfit (size 4, if you must know) and leisurely drive to the chapel. After church I take a long nap. For dinner we eat a nice meal outside -- grilled by Sterling. I am showered with thoughtful (with just a touch of a hipster vibe) gifts. And sure, a new car would be extra special. Then we all take the dog for a walk, returning home happy and tired just as the sun sets. The kids scurry off to bed while Sterling and I watch Mad Men or Call the Midwife or Netflixed episodes of The West Wing. And, certainly, while watching television, Sterling moves swiftly and efficiently through the downstairs tidying the rooms, switching on lamps, lighting an aromatic candle.


That was fun to write.

It was even more beautiful in my imagination.

Me and the kids circa 2002.

Me and the kids circa 2002.

Let me just start and end the debunking with the fact that I haven't worn a size four skirt since I was in 9th grade. I've already hinted heavily about the new car in real life. The request was received as a moment of hilarity. Also, did you know I'm the only person in our family who knows how to turn on a lamp or light a candle? It's true. I'm gifted. Plus, we have church at nine. This leaves no time for sleeping in and even less time for discussions of global issues. Can you see where I'm going with this?

I find the best method for me to manage Mother's day is to cut everyone some slack, including myself. I'm going to spend the day appreciating what I do have -- thinking about the mothering I've received in my life. . . from my own mother and other women who have helped me along my way. I might look through an old photo album or two, torturing myself about those now-gone baby days. I'll laugh with my almost-grown girls about silly fashions, funny one-liners, that time I wore my sweater backwards to church. I'll turn a blind eye to socks on the living room floor and three loaves of bread on the kitchen counter, knowing that Monday I can put the house to order. In other words, I'm reclaiming the day. Mother's day isn't about pampering and perfection; it's about slowing down and remembering. It's not about other people flattering me into a giddy stupor. It's about me claiming my own spot of happiness within my job of mothering. And, it's an excuse for an extra-nice meal. 

And sugar. Any excuse for sugar.




Mother's day brings out the essayist for sure. Check out these thoughts: here, here, and here.