I don’t have any pictures of Mother’s Day dinner, because I was too tired to take them, or to remember to take them, or even to remember to bring my camera to dinner. But that’s okay, because I try to have low expectations.
Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of Mother’s Day. Like New Year’s Eve it’s a holiday so rife with pressure to be wonderful, that it seems like you’re just courting disappointment all day long. Maybe they should call it Try To Have A Nice Time With Your Family (And If It Doesn’t Work Out, That’s OK Too) Day.
I’m not saying this because I had a terrible Mother’s Day. I didn’t. But there’s something wrong with this picture, no? We’re supposed to be appreciating mothers, not raising their expectations to an unattainable level.
These days, you’re headed for a let-down from the moment you open your eyes on Mother’s Day morning. If you don’t get the biggest bunch of flowers, if you’re not totally pampered and relaxed, if your husband isn’t the most conscientious, selfless, forward-thinking 21st century man who never pisses you off, if your kids aren’t angels who sleep in and then bring you coffee in your nice, recently-laundered, white bed. That’s it. Mother’s Day Fail!
When Sid woke me up at 6:30am—after having woken up at 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 already—and somehow Shane managed to remain asleep beside me, I knew it was going to be a rough day. That was okay, because I’d already dodged my first Mother’s Day bullet the night before.
My in-laws are in town, and on Saturday night, we made plans for Shane to meet them in Manhattan for brunch on Sunday, while I stayed back with the kids. A few hours after we made these plans, my old wheels started churning: Mother’s day… brunch… me alone with kids… not having brunch… not showering… probably not managing to feed myself at all… on Mother’s Day… Hmm.
I told Shane that even though I don’t really care about Mother’s Day, I suspected I was going to end up feeling bad if he left me alone with the kids on this particular Sunday. He suggested we all go out to brunch together, and why don’t we bring my parents too? Bullet dodged, but shouldn’t a mom not have to dodge bullets on Mom’s Day?
This reminds me of a few years ago when I requested no flowers or special treatment on Mother’s Day, because it’s clichéd. Halfway through my totally normal just like any other nothing-special-about-it Sunday, it became clear via facebook, that I was seemingly the only mom on the planet who didn’t get flowers, or something. I changed my mind about the flowers. My beloved willingly obliged, and ran out to the store to get some.
Again, something’s wrong here. How is a holiday with this much pressure, which you can’t escape even if you want to, supposed to benefit mom? I don’t get it.
What I get is this: Being greeted by my two super-smily kids and a couple of rainbow-loom bracelets in the morning. Watching Rose ride the Le Carousel at Bryant Park, over and over again, while sitting in the dappled-shade with my husband, baby, parents and in-laws on a gorgeously under-populated spring day in the city. Swinging from the monkey bars with Rose. Her insistence on buying me a pink, heart-shaped cheese cake with a plastic flower in it, for me to keep. My own mom. Shane cutting my food because Sid was too tired and fussy to be put down at dinner time. The quiet walk home, alone, with my sleepy baby who couldn’t last till desert. Rose tucked into bed for the night saying “Mom, I just have to cry because when I wake up tomorrow it won’t be Mother’s Day anymore.”