Motherhood… probably one of the most thankless jobs on the planet. So one day a year, thanks to card companies, I’m sure, we celebrate Mom’s everywhere. Mom’s wear many hats on a daily basis; cook, chauffeur, teacher, mediator, referee, counselor, nurse, dishwasher, maid, the list goes on and on. And for some of those jobs, we might get a thank you or a kiss and hug(sometimes without even initiating one). But other times we often go unnoticed for the many jobs we do each day and the countless sacrifices we make on a daily basis. I gladly sacrifice most anything for my kids(except chocolate, that I will hide in the bathroom with), and lots of times I don’t even think twice about it. I rarely even consider it a sacrifice as, really, it is my job, my responsibility, and my greatest role in life.
But as a mom, I’m left wondering, what is it that I really want Mother’s Day to be for me? I have these stupid, crazy, expectations because I watch too much TV and spend too much time on Facebook, and in my writer’s brain I have built up this day to have some imaginary glitter and fairy dust around it where my people all get along and spoil me rotten with all of my favorite things all day long. And my husband, he is amazing, like the best person in the whole entire world. He does most everything for me, and he thanks God in our family prayers that I do so much for our family. I love him like crazy and he wants to do for me whatever I want to do. As you know from the title of my blog and for those who know me, my husband is a fire fighter. He works weekends, holidays, storms, school concerts, birthdays… This year, he happened to work on Mother’s Day, which really doesn’t bother me much. It is not the first Mother’s Day he has worked and it is certainly not the last. But it is different being married to a first responder and feeling like a single parent on days that are special to the rest of the world. It makes you feel…forgotten. And I don’t think this feeling just applies to wives of first responders. It applies to single mom’s, widowed moms, married moms, moms who have lost their moms. Really it can apply to moms anywhere in any season of life.
So yesterday, I decided that since my husband was working, I was going to treat myself to everything I wanted all day long. I got my people up and we made it to church(late). When we got home, I helped my middle son do some research for his wax museum, and my youngest son make bouncy balls, but when that work was over, I got busy making MY favorite salad with all of MY favorite toppings and MY favorite salad dressing. Then I made lunch for my guys and we all brought our lunches downstairs to watch MY favorite movie. After the movie we packed up and headed to the firehouse to spend a few hours with my husband. The boys watched the Bruins with him while I read MY book. I finished the night off by making MY favorite dessert and watching a Hallmark movie, reading, and going to bed. In all of this, there was a time in this day, that bitterness and jealousy reared it’s ugly head. It sounded a little bit like, ” why do I have to do everything for myself,” “if I don’t treat myself, I feel like nobody will.” And then of course I felt guilty for feeling this way.
Guilt, it’s like a mother’s language. I feel guilty for doing things, guilty for not doing things, guilty over what I could have done, guilty over things I said, guilty over things I didn’t say. Oh my word it is such a nasty cycle and nothing good ever comes out of it all. So for 11, almost 12 years now, I’ve spent Mother’s Day with my family. Why? Because I’m mom, that’s what I do. I always thought, why would I want to spend the day away from my family, away from my kids, they are the reason I am mom! But then I got to thinking, if I am so focused on making sure I have everything I want, the way I want I want it, what am I really expecting from this day? It is completely unfair to have such unreal expectations. Not a single person in my family is going to read my mind and know exactly what I want to eat or what I want to do. And I don’t want to make a list and tell them what I want either. It is really no different than any other day. My people are still going to bicker, I’m probably still going to get annoyed or yell at somebody at some point, which I don’t want to do, which will then make me feel guilty. I want Mother’s Day to be different than every other day of the year and I don’t want to feel guilty about it. If Mother’s Day is about mom and what mom wants, shouldn’t we as moms acknowledge that instead of feeling guilty about it? Why does wanting a day off need to immediately be followed by feeling guilty about it? It’s not that I want to get away from my kids. I love my kids. In about 4 weeks when school gets out, I’m going to be with my kids 24/7! So having one day off, one entire day off, to treat myself, to unwind, to unclutter my mind, to not be busy, to do whatever I want, eat whatever I want, be with whoever I want really is not that big of a deal. 1 day, maybe not even a whole day, maybe a half a day, or maybe a whole day, why not, my firefighter works 24 hours shifts, I could certainly use 24 hours off!
Mom’s let’s lose the guilt we feel. We are under pressure every single day, trying to get it all done and love our people so much that we often forget that we need to love ourselves. What can you do to love yourself today? Can you take a few minutes to read a good book, get out a craft or a hobby to work on, go shopping(for you), take a walk or go for a run? Whatever it is, find it and do it, because if Mother’s Day is just like every other day, we need to start treating ourselves better daily. But if Mother’s Day is going to be different then we need to figure out what we want and stop feeling guilty. It is ok Mom’s, it is ok, just breathe.