My Mother's Day Tradition


I don't know when brunch became the default "gift" for Mother's Day, but it seems like that's what everyone does to celebrate the day. Much has already been written on how difficult brunch with small children is (my particular favorite is Kate Levkoff's Brunch me in the Face article, which is definitely worth a read). So I won't tread over that well-worn road. If you're a mom, you understand how brunch with small children can lead to cream cheese in your hair and generally a non-relaxing time for everyone.

I'm not sure what a default gift for mothers should be. Probably a medal, a bottle of wine, 2 weeks of sleep, a massage, and a shopping spree. But short of that, I'm passing along my Mother's Day tradition, which I started accidentally and out of frustration (see? It already screams "motherhood").

Last Mother's Day, I was super pregnant with BFF and Chewie was 2.5 years old (aka, being a jerk all the time). I had somehow convinced myself that I should have a traditional brunchy Mother's Day, or should have some kind of Hallmark gift or something that felt traditional. I mean, I was pregnant. How much more mothery could I be?

And yet, because---well, toddlers-- the day went off the rails. Chewie was more difficult than normal. I started to resent my husband like it was somehow his fault. My day wasn't bad, but because of my high and unrealistic expectations, and pregnancy hormones ("what do you mean you didn't come up with the perfect present for me even though I gave you no ideas?") we put Chewie down for his afternoon nap and I was feeling so disappointed.

As with most things in parenting, I get most upset when my expectation doesn't live up to reality. And for Mother's Day that year, I had unrealistically high expectations. Luckily, in my pregnancy-hormone-riddled brain, I realized that was the issue. So, post nap, I decided to just take out my buddy and just hang, which is when we have the most fun.

Not surprisingly, with the expectations gone (and probably due to the bolstering of the afternoon nap for both of us) we had a really nice afternoon. I decided I didn't care about what Mother's Day should be. And in an act of rebellion against "perfect parenting" generally, I marched us down to our corner store, bought us both giant pre-made ice cream cones, and sat outside in the sun eating them.

Chewie thought he won the lottery, since we don't normally let him eat that much sugar in one sitting. And I kept smiling at his giant smile and constant giggles. Granted, I had to immediately take him to the playground so he could run his face off. But the day had been saved. There was something so soothing about not caring about being a "good parent" that felt so amazing. I might not be able to take a vacation from being a mom (because let's be real, that's the one thing that all of us really want/need on a day celebrating us), but, I could take a break from working so hard at it. And that felt like a break in and of itself.

And that's when I decided that every Mother's Day, instead of brunching, or being proper, I was going to do one thing that I "shouldn't" or "don't" regularly do. So this year, while BFF is napping, Chewie and I are gonna watch a ton of TV together. And I plan not to work or clean, which is my normal use of TV, but instead just snuggle with him. And hopefully I can convince him to watch something I want to watch too.

Beyond junk food and TV, there's not a lot of other things we "don't do", so I'm not really sure what it'll be next year. But I'm sure I'll be able to think of something. And if it morphs into "junk food and TV", well, heck, that's a Mother's Day tradition I can also get behind.


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