I’ll never forget my first mother’s day. I sat at a lovely restaurant celebrating with my husband, my mom, and my first baby girl. My body, still recovering from a 33 hour labor, felt absolutely foreign to me. Meanwhile, my beautiful little girl sat in her infant seat screaming her head off while the rest of us frantically shoveled in our food. As my husband desperately motioned to the waiter for the check, his sleep deprived face only mirrored my own exhaustion. I tried to smile, but I really just wanted to crawl under the table and fall asleep. Or, get up and run out of the restaurant.
Welcome to motherhood.
Fast forward nine Mother’s Days and three kids later, and we’d given up on eating out or doing anything that might cause a toddler to spontaneously explode. A typical Mother’s Day consisted of some cards and well-wishes from family and friends as well as, the familiar nod of other mothers at church. And I found myself wondering if they were as stunned as I was about how this was all shaking out. Wasn’t this one day supposed to be about us?
I love my kids so much, but I seriously just need one day to be about me. One day to do the things that make me who I am. I didn’t want to spend Mother’s Day doing the same things I did every single day.
No laundry. No cleaning. And please for the love, no crying.
Growing up, I’d spent every Mother’s Day going to a parade of homes tour in our city. My family would spend the entire day walking through beautiful homes. I’ve always loved homes and decorating and I still have a collection of house plans I’ve stashed away over the years. I loved spending the day touring houses and enjoying time with my family. And every year since, I imagined spending the day casually perusing houses, sipping delicious drinks and eating unhurried meals. It sounded heavenly.
Since my mom lives out of state, I hadn’t spent Mother’s Day with her since my first one when my oldest was born. So, when my step-dad suggested that I surprise my mom and fly in for Mother’s Day, I couldn’t resist. I kissed my own kids and husband goodbye feeling that familiar pang of guilt and jumped on a flight. My siblings helped me arrive undetected. When morning came, I got to wish my mom a Happy Mother’s Day in person and we had a fantastic day together. By the end of the day, I felt like a new woman. It was the best day I could have possibly wished for. I couldn’t wait to get back home to my husband and kids the next day.
Moms, can I make a small suggestion? This year for Mother’s Day, let’s do something we actually enjoy doing. Let’s not worry about what’s expected of us. You do you. Spending Mother’s Day away taught me two things about mothering. Sometimes you need to leave your life behind, just for a moment, in order to remember how much you love it. And sometimes, in order to love your life, you need to be brave enough to make your own rules.