|Posted on May 10, 2011 at 10:02 PM|
(this article appeared in the 5/11/10 edition of The Review Atlas as a part of my weekly Practical Parenting series)
There is one thing that will kill every good Mother’s Day, or any holiday for that matter: expectations. I’ve learned to lower mine over the years and it turns out I’ve increased my levels of happiness by huge proportions.
Sure last Sunday started out like every other day – my kids hounded me until I would get out of bed. But because it was Mother’s Day my husband held them off until 8:30. A monumental feet by all means. As I longed for nothing more than a cup of coffee, my couch and the newspaper, I was instead dragged to the kitchen table where my children fought, literally fought, over who could present their homemade Mother’s Day card first.
Now let me be clear: I love homemade cards. There is something adorable about your kids handprints on construction paper (rather than the wall) and little tissue paper flowers, ya know? And I got a few of those. I just could of done without the fussing.
My oldest son presented me with a piece of paper folded into fourths. The front said “Happy Mother’s Day”. The inside read: “Thanks for everything! Love, E”. I guess he couldn’t get all his feelings, love and appreciation to fit on that teeny, tiny scrap of a card so he just summed it up with an “everything”.
My youngest son forgot his mother’s day present at school but so as not to be empty handed he delivered a torn piece of notebook paper and on it printed: “I promise to take the dog out 5 times.” But then he said, “I’ll get you your real present if I can remember it tomorrow!”
My teenager? Well she was nowhere to be found. She still laid in a slumber induced coma apparently unable to be bothered for my special day. (Although to her credit she did present me with a beautiful homemade card with a photo of us on it when she roused later that day).
My hubby? Well he really came through (can you hear the sarcasm?) with a new skillet. Since my kids love homemade buttermilk pancakes he thought I’d appreciate the massive cooking space an electric griddle could provide. “That way you don’t have to stand in the kitchen as long”. And I thought I was getting Rubbermaid. How incredibly thoughtful.
The remainder of the day was completely uneventful as I made dinner, made the kids clean up dinner and relaxed.
I was not treated as a queen, no spas, manicures or shopping expeditions rounded out my special day. I won no award for birthing or surviving life with five kids. It was a quiet, uneventful day. But you know what? It was a fantastic day!
Why? Because I know what all mothers know; we have one of the most profoundly thankless job descriptions on the planet. Of course it’s nice when the second Sunday of May rolls around. Certainly my offspring, who I literally labored for and regularly shed tears over, should take the time to honor and acknowledge me extravagantly for all I’ve done for them.
But it’s not going to happen. It may never happen. Firstly, my job as a mother, as yours is, is completely priceless. You can never receive the accolades or remuneration you truly deserve. All the hours chauffeuring, cooking, cleaning, playing nursemaid and referee cannot be properly acknowledged in a single, annual event.
Secondly, I know my worth as a mother is not wrapped up in what (or if) my children give me gifts. If I allow my value to be weighed against what an eleven year old child can create for Mother’s Day, aren’t I really the immature one?
Mother’s Day is a day to say and show our thanks to the women who have so endlessly served us from the very beginning of our lives. But in the off chance you weren’t properly recognized Sunday allow me to encourage you. You are worth more than any crayon creations, flower bouquet or electric griddle. What you deserve your children can’t afford. But let not your worth be based on externals. May your heart be satisfied with the knowledge that you are the most important person in your children’s life. And that’s a priceless revelation. Why? Because I’m the Mom and I said so! That’s why!
Categories: Monmouth Daily Review Atlas Parenting Articles